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A New Holiday Pet - a Family Decision


Roseann Trezza, Executive Director
December 10, 2010

AHS//Popcorn Park Advises: Make the Gift of A Pet A Family Decision

BRINGING A PET INTO THE FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS is a sweet, wonderful way to make the gift of love last a lifetime.

Blackie is at the AHS Forked River Shelter and ho-ho-hoping to find a forever home this year.

Surprising a young child with that new family member under the tree is not such a good idea.

“The image of a young child coming down the steps on Christmas morning to a little puppy or kitten in a box under the tree is absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, the issues, problems and stress associated with that type of surprise can turn a well-meaning present into a bad situation for both the animal and the family members,” said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director, Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park. “Finding the right pet is a project that should involve every family member, including the youngest children and other household pets.”

Every dog, cat, puppy or kitten is an individual with its own personality, quirks and needs. For example, some animals are nervous, aggressive or overly playful with children, especially if the children are younger and unfamiliar with how to behave around animals. It is important to assure that when selecting a pet, it will blend perfectly with each and every family member. AHS recommends making the search for a pet a family project.

“Older children can research on the internet or in books about the different types of animals and their needs, parents can determine how those needs best fit into the family, and everyone can look at the hundreds of animals available for adoption at the Societies’ three shelters in Forked River, Tinton Falls and Newark, through our website at http://ahsnewark.petfinder.org,” Ms. Trezza said. “Once you’ve found the pet that best fits your family, bring the whole family to our shelter and spend some time with the animal, being careful to watch how it interacts with everyone, especially the younger children.”

Many adults take vacation time over the holidays, when their children are off from school. That can be a perfect time to bring a pet home so the people and pets can spend lots of quality time together, but only if plans are to stay close to home during that vacation time.

The only thing on Marvin's wish list is to find a forever family. He’s available for adoption at the AHS Forked River shelter.

There are also other safety considerations that new and veteran pet owners should keep in mind this time of year.

Watch Out For The Trimmings: Ribbon, tinsel, garlands, broken holiday ornaments and extension cords can make for attractive chew toys for cats and dogs. However, once they find their way into a pet’s intestines, they can cause injury and even death. Holiday plants that are used to decorate, like holly and mistletoe can be poisonous. Keep decorations and other trimmings out of pets’ reach.

Pet Food Only, Please: All those cookies, snacks and heavy foods certainly make for great eating. But, even giving pets the table scraps from the holiday dinner may do more harm than good. Bones from turkey and other meats can splinter and dramatically harm a pet’s digestive tract. In addition, too much rich, fatty food can cause a variety of problems for dogs and cats. And some foods, which we enjoy like chocolates, grapes and raisins, can be poisonous to pets. Keep pets on their regular daily diets.

Leave Your Pet Home: Pets left in wintertime cars are just as much in danger as in the summer heat. Once the motor is turned off, the car becomes a refrigerator locking in the cold. Also, many pets are stolen when left unattended in cars.

Take Shorter Walks: Puppies and older dogs are less tolerant of the cold. Exercise is still necessary, but should be minimized. Consider getting your pup a sweater or coat of his own. Also available for purchase are booties to keep their paws protected.

Check The Paws: When your pet comes in from outside, check its paws for salt, ice and snow, which can be damaging and a cause of frostbite. Thoroughly wipe paws and under belly for damaging salt, ice, snow, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Be An Angel: If you can't adopt, consider sponsoring a pet through our Share-A-Pet program or make a donation and help care for the animals who wait to be adopted.


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