Pets as Christmas Gifts; Experts Offer Advice

PANAMA CITY -- Christmas gifts can be as simple as a toy, other chose something a little more special, like puppy or a kitten.

Often times those Christmas pets eventually end up in an animal shelter or back at the pet store.

There are some things to consider if you want to make sure your newest family member remains in your home for many years to come.

Who can resist a cute puppy or kitten giving them that look through the pet store window, especially as a gift for a loved one during the holiday season.

Paws and Claws Fundraising Coordinator Stacy Pippin said, "It's the idea of you know having a baby animal in your house. And it's cute but the reality is, it's a lot of work."

A puppy for Christmas may be common but many local facilities say some families may not be ready for the responsibility. It may be an impulse buy…

Mandy Hodges, assistant manager, Pet Supermarket said, "i think they just don't do the full research on the animal. They don't fully understand what they're getting into. It's more of a spur of the moment."

Karen Rossi is a local team leader with the Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue. She fosters homeless golden retrievers.
"When they first get the puppy around the holidays it may be 15 - 20 pounds. So they do grow rapidly in the first few months,” Rossi said.

She said before a family adopts a new puppy they should be aware of all the responsibilities. One of the main reasons people return pets is because of their size.

“They should do their homework. They should do research to find out how large their puppy will become,” said Rossi.

Experts say most puppies are returned in April and May, about four to five months after Christmas, when pets reach their full grown size.

For information and advice on adopting a pet, you can contact Emerald Coast Golden Retriever and Paws and Claws:

Emerald Coast Golden Retriever: 850-230-6565

Paws and Claws: 850-234-6284

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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