Adopting a Shelter Pet during the Holidays

(Stock image via Pexels)

In my inbox this morning, a press release promoting a holiday adoption drive in which the shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina is participating:

Bissell Pet Foundation is bringing hope to homeless pets across the country this holiday season with its “Empty the Shelters – Holiday Hope” event, December 6 – 20, 2021. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control (AC&C) is one of more than 200 participating shelters across the country reducing adoption fees to help pets find their adoptive families.

Also in the inbox, this “warning” from another North Carolina shelter:

The Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center currently has 81 dogs and 57 cats. Director Tommy Bell expects that number to rise as people return their pets after the holidays.

“Really the Christmas and the holiday seasons are the worst times.”

The first shelter is trying to get animals adopted for the holidays while the second is bracing for their (inevitable?) return after the holidays.

I would agree it’s a good idea to remind people, at any time of year, that adopting a pet requires establishing a routine to provide care while the owner is not at home. But I certainly don’t think the holiday season is the “worst time” to adopt. Many people have time off during the holidays, allowing them to spend extra time with a new pet who will undoubtedly need that extra attention while he gets to know his new people and starts to learn his new routine.

If I was caring for 81 dogs and 57 cats, I would not be discouraging holiday adoptions. To be frank, if I could get them some individual love and care in a home environment during the holidays, knowing every single one would be returned in January, I’d still call that a win. Of course that’s not going to happen because at least some (most? all?) adopters are going to fall in love with their new pet and make things work.

Impulse decisions are not always bad decisions. People have good impulses at times and Christmas is widely recognized as one of those times. If someone has an impulse to adopt a shelter pet at the holidays, I say go for it. If it doesn’t work out, the pet and the staff got a break. If it does work out, hell yeah.

3 thoughts on “Adopting a Shelter Pet during the Holidays

  1. Absolutely agree! Many shelters run a “home for the holidays “ special aimed at getting pets out the door and into homes.

    Sure, some are coming back. There’s always the inappropriately gifted pet, of course. But that fact shouldn’t make shelters stop working to find pets good homes.

    1. Rescues have been telling people that dogs are valuable family members. The ‘clear the shelter’ free dogs to any warm body without screening undermines the hard work rescues do. I do not support them.

      1. I agree with you that dogs are valuable family members and I think that’s good messaging. I also agree that individuals should be screened for animal cruelty convictions since no one wants to knowingly adopt a pet to an animal abuser. But being realistic, I know that anyone who is determined to get an animal will get one and it’s not possible to guarantee a loving home environment in 100% of adoptions, no matter the source. Balancing reasonable screening with moving animals into homes as quickly as possible is part of the job.

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