If you're planning on giving someone a pet for the holidays, make sure that person wants and can handle a pet, and make sure he/she knows about it because the last thing officials at the Animal Refuge Center like are surprises, especially when it comes to giving a dog or cat away for adoption.
That's the caution the organization gives as the holiday season approaches and the thought of giving a loved one the gift of a pet arises in people's minds.
Jerri Howard, shelter director, said there are two ways of looking at pet adoptions for the holidays.
"There are parents looking to give their children a puppy or a kitten for Christmas. If that's the case, we educate the parents and let them know that they may be getting it for their child for companionship or responsibility, they're responsible," Howard said.
Howard said ARC does not push for people to come and adopt animals as gifts, because parents with small kids with a small dog or kitten is one thing, but people saying they want to get one for their elderly mother who is lonely is not a good idea, especially if they aren't looking for a pet.
"If you bring that parent in and let them tell me they want the animal and let them pick it out themselves and we'll go from there," Howard said. "We are not proponents for gifting animals. They are not inanimate objects."
Among the red flags in adopting to seniors is that they won't be able to handle or want a larger dog, as well as allergies, which is especially important to consider with older people.
"Many seniors have allergies, respiratory issues, COPD, asthma, or they're on oxygen, which doesn't allow for pet hair or dander," Howard said. "That needs to be taken into consideration."
ARC is thorough in its background checks on people, from whether their landlord going to allow it to whether a deposit is required to have the animal, Howard said.
"If someone is going to gift an animal, we lose control of that. We want to make sure someone wants it and is allowed to have it where they're living," Howard said.
ARC has had a tough year for adoptions, and all the rain forced it to close for a month. But all in all, ARC is on pace to have an average year, with a slight uptick in the percentage of cats, since they are more independent than dogs and don't need to be walked three times a day.