Considering pet adoption for unwrapping a furry friend on Christmas morning? We opted for a four-legged friend two years ago at Christmas time, and we feel blessed, but it wasn’t without a lot of consideration. I wanted to share our story with you, and hopefully provide entertainment and guidance simultaneously!
Many families find Christmas an ideal time to incorporate a pet into the mix. Added parent time off for holidays, children are out of school, sales on pet supplies, and simply the fun of a cute new face for the family to play with is awesome on Christmas morning. What better opportunity to spend time with a new snuggly buddy than Christmas? I always thought so, and then it was my turn to answer the heart-tugging request of my son.
For several months (over a year honestly!) leading up to December 2016, Drake my then eleven-year-old repeated, “All I want is a dog for Christmas. If you don’t get me a dog, I want everything you need when you have a dog.”
What about the latest, overpriced, addictive technology? Isn’t there a new gaming system that doesn’t shed or require monthly medications to keep parasites away? Surely my son had a lengthy list of name-brand shoes and clothing which I only purchase on sale with applicable coupons that could take the place of this dog desire.
We weren’t ready for another pet right now. I dug my claws in resisting harder than a fluffy long-haired cat heading for a soapy bath. No, I was not adopting a dog.
In 2010, we had to say goodbye to our original family mascot, Buster, due to old age. He was the excessively masculine, yet totally chill, American Bulldog my sons were born knowing.
Buster licked their little feet when we brought Conner home, then Drake a few years later. The boys missed him terribly, but they were young, we traveled often, so a pet was never on our radar. Then we moved back to the coast, the boys were older, and perspectives changed. Drake pleaded, I rebelled, and Conner stated, “Drake you know you have to feed, walk, and bathe a dog! You don’t even want to shower yourself!”
There are tons of fun events locally that invite pets with their families. I knew the Charleston area was incredibly pet-friendly, so if we were getting a dog, now was the time. This was going to be a tough decision, so I took proactive steps to figure out if pet adoption was in our Christmas Future.
Step One: Weighing Pros, Cons, and Dog Food
Before you decide on pet adoption, looking realistically at your current home situation is vital. I did not want to add another living, breathing being to attend to if we could not provide it with the very best home.
Any animal, large or small, deserves love, care, and attention, so I wanted to make sure we had all that to give. Buster, our first dog, was so laid back, he didn’t care if we came or went as long as he had food. I couldn’t be sure our next creature would be like that, so listing out thoughts on paper helped.
Here’s what I considered:
- What would our pet budget look like? Covering food, vet bills, and extra comforts add to the monthly expenses. Obviously, a hamster may cost significantly less than a dog or cat, but have you seen the cool hamster toys at the pet store? Take into consideration what type of pet you’d like, then list the average needs accordingly.
- Who would be responsible for walking, feeding, bathing the animal? With more siblings, the love can be shared in these duties, but I wanted to lay it out up front before the furry one arrived and finger-pointing began.
- How much time could we spend with our new friend? We travel frequently for sports, work, and family. We didn’t want him in kennels more than home, so we planned ahead where he could go with us and when he could stay with friends or family.
Step Two: Launch the Search Team
Having a purebred animal was not a requirement we had, although some families prefer to buy animals from known breeders. Since we did not have that in mind, ironically my friends in home health were finding stray or abandoned puppies and posting them on Facebook. Their cute snoots were so adorable, but they were being claimed by others before I could respond!
Here are some of the local places I searched for our perfect fur baby and other resources you may try:
- Charleston Animal Society
- Pet Helpers
- LowCountry Animal Rescue
- Palmetto Paws Animal Rescue
- Dorcester Paws Animal Shelter
- Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary
- Pounce Cat Cafe
- Charleston Craigslist Pets
Step Three: Choose, Move, and Love Pet Adoption
To be honest, after weeks of searching, calling, and disappointment, I opened a Craigslist ad, and I knew we had our furry friend immediately upon calling the owner.
A few days before Christmas, I really thought we weren’t going to find a dog. Drake really wanted a puppy, but puppies get scarce around Christmas! I prayed for an older dog so house training wouldn’t be an issue. We all got exactly what we needed, a young but trained dog, perfect for our family.
After all my decision-weighing, praying, and worrying if we could really handle a pet again, pet adoption was our answer. Literally, the ad was posted, I saw it, I showed Drake the picture, I called, and hours later, Rocky was ours.
Here are a few handy checklists you may want to print out before and after you adopt your walking wish:
- Dog Adoption Checklist
- Pet Adoption Checklist
- New Pet Adoption Cheat Sheet
- What to Consider When Adopting
Even though our adoption was extremely easy, quick, and smooth, I encourage everyone to think about every aspect of owning whatever type of pet they are considering for their family.
Initially, I was against the idea of a dog, but then I remembered how loving, devoted, and loyal they are when it comes down to it. Drake is so happy, Rocky rides everywhere he is legally allowed to go, and we all share the responsibilities of taking care of him.
Pet adoption can truly be a rewarding experience at any time of the year, but Christmas may just be a magical time for your family to bring home a furry forever friend.