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Group urges people to rescue a pet for the holidays

Humane League of Lake Lanier will deliver adopted furry friend on Christmas Day

POSTED: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Jen Andersen shares a couch with Crawford, left, and Sunshine, which are both up for adoption at Gypsy Paws doggie day care and boarding facility. The facility has three adult rescue dogs in need of a loving home.

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With many people seeking to bring home a fuzzy friend for the holidays, some local groups hope they will consider rescue dogs.

"This is a great time to open up your home, open up your heart, save a life and give that wonderful gift and that experience to your family," said Beth Mulrooney, president and co-founder of the Humane League of Lake Lanier.

As a special surprise, Mulrooney said families who adopt a pet from the Humane League between Dec. 13 and Dec. 23 can have it delivered to their home on Christmas Day.

"The idea of a puppy in a box underneath a Christmas tree is not really feasible," Mulrooney said. "We can deliver it to you on Christmas Day, and then that way it takes the pressure off the family to try to hide the pet."

And while a pet can be a nice present for children, Mulrooney said the Humane League does not support animals as surprise gifts for adults.

"We do ask that all adults be involved in the adoption. But certainly if you want to surprise your children, that’s a fun thing," Mulrooney said.

Unfortunately, Mulrooney said many animals are released or taken to a shelter after the holiday season.

"The adults need to be prepared for that commitment," Mulrooney said.

As a way to prepare for a new pet, Family Pet Obedience School LLC in Cumming and Sawnee Mountain Kennel Club of Georgia are offering two free seminars in December.

"The idea is just to help people understand and get prepared for this new puppy or adult dog they’ve rescued from a shelter," said Tammy Roberts, managing member of Family Pet Obedience LLC.

Roberts said she hopes to inform people about the supplies they will need to care for their new dog and teach them about leash training and house breaking.

Gwen Trimmer, community resource director for the Humane Society of Hall County, said the Humane Society sees an increase in adoptions around December.

"Everybody seems to be in a more caring mood, and companion pets give that unconditional love, so people want to have something to love on and give them unconditional love," Trimmer said.

Trimmer said many animals have been brought to the Humane Society this year because the economy has put such a strain on people’s budgets.

"We are seeing people saying ‘cannot afford to keep.’ We have seen an increase in that," Trimmer said.

Mulrooney also has seen more animals coming to her organization because people can’t afford them.

"There’s a lot of displaced animals right now," Mulrooney said. "People are having a tough time right now taking care of themselves, they can’t necessarily take care of their animals. That puts a very heavy burden on the shelters and on rescues."

Trimmer said she urges people to carefully think about the responsibility before deciding to get a pet.

"Companion pets are wonderful, but I would encourage people to search their hearts before they adopt to make sure that’s the right thing for them to do," Trimmer said. "Dogs and cats live a long time, and if you’re not willing to commit to make a lifetime commitment to these animals, then you don’t need one."



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