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Magic Valley animal shelters encourage conversations before giving pets as gifts

Best Dog Christmas Presents 2020
Posted at 3:30 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 18:04:34-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Magic Valley animal shelter staff encourage the public to take into consideration the responsibilities that follow in gifting a furry friend for the holidays.

Brittney Sterling, a technician at the Jerome Animal Shelter, encourages people to get creative by giving the gift recipient a stuffed animal and suggesting they go pick out their forever pet. This allows the animal’s new owner to have a say in who they welcome into their home.

“A family member might have an idea of what they think another person wants in an animal, but they truly have no idea,” Sterling said. “And the bond between a person and an animal is very deep and is special.”

Twin Falls Animal Shelter Executive Director Debbie Blackwood said it’s a wonderful thing to give animals a home. But before purchasing an animal, Blackwood said people should ask themselves one question.

“Is that person in a position to accommodate the needs of an animal?”

Followed by, “can they manage a pet? Do they have time? Do they have the resources to buy its food and can you take it out for walks? Do they have the medical budget for it,” Blackwood said.

There are many things to take into consideration because animals are living things who require a fair amount of expense and responsibilities. In 2021, animal shelters experienced an increase in owner-pet surrenders, which made it difficult for shelters to provide every animal with a space in their facilities.

Adopting pets from an animal shelter requires patience and moving animals from a shelter to a different environment can be stressful as they adjust to a new routine and environment.

“When people adopt a dog from me the first thing I tell them is ‘treat it like it’s a puppy, like it knows absolutely nothing.’ Take it out every hour to go to the bathroom, have structured training time every day and keep them on a very consistent schedule,” Sterling said.

With the holidays here, gift-givers are encouraged to think in a long-term mindset and include the potential pet owner in the process of finding their furry friend a forever home.