SAN ANGELO, Texas- “Pets are living breathing creatures and they are not a toy to be put under the Christmas tree,” said Kerbey Johansen, DVM, with Main Street Animal Clinic.

Many dogs and cats given as gifts tend to end up at shelters shortly after they pop up under the Christmas tree.

“You’re making a lifetime commitment to that animal and so when you adopt that pet you are promising them that you’re going to provide them with what they need so they can live a long full life,” said Dr. Johansen.

This is due to the underestimation of commitment, attention, guidance, and work that a pet requires.

Research different breeds you may be thinking about. Think about the size they’re going to grow to and the exercise needs they are going to have. Think about providing high-quality nutrition, medical care, and the time it takes to train, play, and bond with that animal,” said Dr. Johansen.

If you have covered your bases and feel a furry friend would fit right in, our local animal shelter is a great place to start.

“It’s a good mix. I have several dogs that are over 50 pounds, I have a number of dogs that are more medium-sized 30-40 pound dogs. We have a good many young cats that are super adorable, super fluffy, doing well, and would make a great present for Christmas,” said Assistant Director of neighborhood family services, Morgan Chegwidden.

As cute as they may be make sure it’s the right choice as our shelter has a capacity limit so returning a pet could lead to an uncertain future.