Until recently, we were led to believe Christmas was the worst time to bring a new pet home.
Things do really change as that sentiment is now considered outdated and being more harmful then good.
Many animal shelters used to temporarily close down their adoption centres prior to Christmas to dissuade families from adopting pets at that time of year. It was assumed animals adopted over the holidays would receive less attention and care and there would be an increased chance of being returned in the new year when the novelty wore off.
The sad part is many animal centres are still reluctant to adopt animals as Christmas approaches, and the only ones who lose in that situation is the animal.
During the holidays, people tend to be home more as they spend time with family and friends – including the four-legged types. Isn’t it better these animals be in a warm home surrounded by people, kids, other pets rather than being left alone in a closed animal shelter, spending lonely days waiting for the holiday season to be over?
The new thinking is Christmas is the perfect time to adopt an animal as a shelter is no place for a pet to spend the holidays.
Think about it. Would you rather a lonely cage or a lively house full of people. I’d say get me out of the shelter and into that home.
One of the most successful pet adoption and shelter-support campaigns that helps place orphaned pets into loving homes over Christmas is called Iams Home 4 the Holidays, and is sponsored by IAMS globally. The program began in 1999 in San Diego County’s Helen Woodward Animal Center, which is considered a leader in animal welfare programs and services.
The campaign focuses on adoptions during the holidays.
Hundreds of local SPCAs and humane societies in and across Canada participate in this campaign.
The reason is there are thousands of homeless pets in our city and the rest of the country.
The program doesn’t encourage giving a pet as a gift, but rather taking this time of year to make a family decision to bring a pet into your home.
What is great about this program is it’s succeeding in bonding people who are filled with joy or, conversely, who sad and lonely with someone to pet and cuddle with.
Since it began 14 years ago, IAMS Home 4 the Holidays has helped seven million families experience the joy of pet adoption, including more than 1.2 million pet adoptions last year alone.
For more information visit, www.iams.com/pet-adoption/home-for-the-holidays. You can also visit the Ontario SPCA’s website, www.ontariospca.ca and find a humane society closest to you.
If you can’t adopt a pet, the program encourages you to do what you can to help animals in need whether that is offering shelter supplies such as laundry detergent or bleach or buying special food for sick or recovering animals.
Share the warmth of the holiday season and start the new year off with the love a new four-legged forever friend.
Marc Ralsky shares his life and north Toronto home with his wife and three Siberian huskies, and has been around animals and dogs all his life. A true animal welfare enthusiast he recently joined the Ontario SPCA as their new director of community and donor development after a long tenure as a senior director at a national health research foundation. Follow him at @OSPCAMarc