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Be ready for duties before a pet arrives

A puppy is more than something cute, cuddly and fun to wake up to on Christmas morning.

New pets are time consuming, are known to have accidents on your living room floor and may even take some time to get along with family members or other four-legged friends already living at your house.

Pets require much of your love and attention. They are a big responsibility, and potential pet owners should be willing to fulfill their obligation to their new dog or cat before bringing them home.

It is unfortunate that so many Christmas pets are dropped at a shelter shortly after the holidays because owners no longer want the responsibility of caring for them. By thinking about your lifestyle before you bring home a pet, you can help dogs and cats at an animal shelter find a forever home.

Daily schedules, the number and age of members in your family, whether the pet will live inside or outside and who will be responsible for feeding and caring for the animal are topics that should be discussed before adopting.

If the pet will live outside, it is important to look at the current layout of your yard. Do you have a fence that will keep the pet from getting into the street and running into traffic? Do you need to install an electric fence or build a pen for the dog to stay in? Where will the pet sleep when temperatures are below freezing if you do not have a dog house or garage?

If your pet lives inside and you have no yard, where will the pet go for exercise? When will it be taken outside for a walk and who will take it?

Those who have answers to the above questions and have discussed the logistics of adopting a pet are in for a treat. Pets are more than something cute, cuddly and fun to wake up to on Christmas morning — they are loyal, loving friends who adore you no matter what may be going on in your life. They are a happy face to meet you at the door every day as you come home from work and companions for life.

We encourage those ready to take on the responsibility of a new pet to stop by our local humane society. The staff can help you choose the right dog or cat for you and your family, and you’ll gain a loyal companion for 2016.