This holiday season, instead of adding another electronic device or kitchen gadget to your home, bring home some love. The love of a pet, that is.
Animal rescues and shelters have so many beautiful, fun and loving dogs and cats available. There are also rescues for specific breeds, so if you’ve always wanted a German Shepherd or a Maine Coon cat, no problem.
However, it’s also important to keep an open mind when looking for a specific type of pet. You may go into a shelter determined to get a doodle, but when you see that cocker spaniel looking at you with soulful, sweet eyes, you just might change your mind.
Ana Meyer, Publisher and VP Engagement and Impact of this magazine, found her perfect dog Lucky, a Havanese, at a pet adoption event at her local pet store. She had never even heard of the breed before. “There’s something about connecting with a future pet once you look into their eyes and engage with them,” she says. “Lucky was the best fit for our family of five. He is only 19 pounds and thinks he is a German Sheppard! When one of us is sick, he sits next to us with his body against us, like he is protecting us, knowing that a family member is not feeling well. We named him Lucky because he was the only pet adopted that day.”
I’ve been fortunate to have adopted many wonderful cats and dogs in my life, and have taken chances on those who may not have seemed so perfect at first. However, with kindness and patience, they turned out to be the best pets I could have ever wanted.
Grover, our now 7-year-old black cat that we adopted from the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter (SRAS), has a chronic sinus condition which results in a constant runny nose, but he’s the sweetest boy ever. He sleeps with me and loves when I cuddle him close.
When we first adopted our younger cat, Wes, from SRAS, boy was he a handful! He would seek out and destroy any plastic bags in the house as if they were his life-long enemies. But he too is now a wonderful addition to our household and one we couldn’t imagine life without.
If you aren’t sure whether a pet would be a good fit for your home and lifestyle, there is an option to foster. This will give you a chance to become familiar with pet ownership, and even if it doesn’t work out, the pet will have had a home for at least a little while and have a safe place to return.
“I think it’s very important when someone chooses a pet to do their research about the breed, talk to friends who are pet owners and understand the commitment and joy it is to have a furry family member at home,” says Ana.
There are many great resources online, and at many local shelters. The staff usually knows the animals in their care and can match a dog or cat’s personality with the person or family looking to adopt.
There’s a saying about how adopting one animal may not change the world, but it will change that pet’s entire world. Give an animal a home for the holidays and you and your family will enjoy the love for years to come.
“There’s something about connecting with a future pet once you look into their eyes and engage with them.” Ana Meyer