Giving the gift of fur…and pants and paws and purrs

National Adoptions Weekend is here. Just in time for the holidays.

It’s that time of year where you might begin to hear the jingle-jangle of little bells around your home — if you’ve already decorated — or maybe around the malls and shopping centers as everyone begins to gear up for the holiday season.

But maybe you’re yearning to hear the little jingle-jangle of an animal collar, too.

Saturday marks National Adoption Weekend as the Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sets up shop a the Apple Glen PetSmart for a few hours, offering up puppies, dogs and kittens galore for adoption.

This month is also when the local SPCA begins to see a spike in adoptions, as people decide that bringing a new little fur-ball home to the family or a significant other or other loved one will be the perfect gift for this cheery time of year.

And for many, it is.

Before pulling the trigger on a new pet, though, there are a few caveats, according to the animal experts.

“First of all, you need to think if it’s the right time in your life to adopt an animal,” says Jessica Henry, the executive director at the Allen County SPCA. “If you expect your kids to be involved in picking up after the animal, or ind the day to day care, you need to talk to them. All the players should be involved.”

Also, she said, you should prepare for the expenses of owning a pet — while dogs and cats from the shelter come already spade, there is the cost for basic care, food, training classes and maybe even medical issues that can creep up after an adoption, according to Henry.

Many websites, including the Allen County SPCA’s, provide information that can help you decide whether you’re ready or not for a new four-legged friend.

While giving animals as a gift is controversial in some circles, Henry described it as not a bad thing at all.

While the movie scene we see so often where a father brings home a puppy totally out of the blue for his children — who had no idea they would be getting a living creature they now had to take care of — might not be ideal, bringing one home as a surprise after the idea has been bandied about a little is probably okay, according to Henry.

“I do think there should be a conversation,” she said. “Maybe you have a fiancĂ© who has brought up the idea or something like that. That’s better than springing one on you.”

Plus, pets as gifts may provide that extra touch of sentimentality.

If you have a cat given to you by a loved one — boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, etc. — you might be more devoted to that animal, even when times maybe a little rough or frustrating. Those animals are less likely to ever end up back at a shelter.

Now, too, is a great time to be looking for a pet if you’re interested in one, according to Henry.

There’s a long weekend ahead over Thanksgiving. This weekend is also a long one for some with Veterans Day. Plus many have days off in December leading into and after Christmas. All of that is extra time to be with a pet as it gets used to its new surroundings at your home.

That’s also extra time for training and obedience, too.

“Those give people a little more time to have the animal,” said Henry, describing another reason for the spike in adoptions this time of year.

So if you’re hearing the jingle-jangle of the sleigh bells and you’re itching to hear the jingle-jangle of and the patter of paws through your home, there will be many waiting to meet you Saturday, and hopefully hitch a ride with you home.

National Adoption Weekend

Where: PetSmart, 1760 Apple Glen Blvd.

When: Saturday, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Details: Expect puppies, dogs and cats as well as at least 20 kittens looking for new homes. PetSMart charities will donate money to the Allen County SPCA for every adoption. In the past, lines have begun forming an hour before SPCA officials have even gotten to the building and ready, so be prepared. For more information, as well as a look at animals available for adoption, check the local SPCA website.

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