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Opinion: Think about long-term commitment when pet shopping for holidays
dog
Times file photo

The holidays are fast approaching, and I hope however it is celebrated in your home it is fulfilling and safe! 

Presents probably are at the forefront of most residents’ minds. After the year we have had, I know we all need to open something special. We all need a day not about elections or COVID-19. We need an occasion to come together even if it is through Zoom, social media or other platforms and be reminded we are not alone and that we are loved.

I would like to bring attention to one present that should not be given without proper preparation and long-term commitment. 

Many people love the idea of a puppy or kitten with a big red bow. Eyes light up, squeals of joy are heard and the entire room bursts with enthusiastic energy. Who would not want to give that to your family after the stress and all the time at home we have had, but please consider the future. Life will eventually go back to normal, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We will go back to work and our meetings. I personally cannot wait to get back to normal activities, but my normal activities already include my pets.

Pets take time and patience. Puppies and kittens grow up, tear up and mess up. To me, they have always been worth every accident, every occasion I have had to cut short to go home so they can go out to do their business, every year of vet bills my seniors accrue and every heartbreaking goodbye I have had to say.

I would not discourage anyone from adopting a new friend; if you are ready, it will be the best decision you ever made. What if you are not ready? The innocent life you got because you were bored or lonely during this year will not last. You will think they are not so cute when your favorite pair of shoes gets torn up or you have to make other arrangements when we get back to traveling. So, that life you thought would bring so much joy starts being a chore you do not want because you were not prepared. What happens then?

Neighborhoods are overrun with cats and dogs. Some owners think the answer is putting the pet out so they can be free. They are domesticated, which means they are not equipped to be free! These animals you put out will wind up one of several ways. They can be picked up and euthanized if not adopted, they can starve because they do not have the skills to find and kill their prey or they can attack an innocent child.

Please help others think of all the consequences before attaching that bow to a little cutie for the holidays. This is a lifelong commitment not a toy to be discarded when the newness wears off. Lives depend on you!

Jennifer Gilliam

Gainesville

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