Are pets good Christmas gifts?

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — There are few things more exciting than getting a puppy under the Christmas tree. But are pets really good gifts to give?

“It’s been an extremely busy week, extremely busy month,” said Shafonda Davis from the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

Christmas is one of the busiest times for pet adoptions, but it hasn’t always been thought of as a good idea.

“The old school thought is: do not adopt at Christmas, do not adopt a pet as a gift, “said Davis, “But that’s changed.”

The fear was if the person getting the pet didn’t want it, it would just end right back up at a shelter, which does happen. But research from the ASPCA found it’s not as common as once believed. In 2013, the ASPCA surveyed people who had received their pets as gifts.

The research found there is no correlation between getting an animal as a gift and an owner’s love and attachment to the pet, even if that pet was a surprise gift, and no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts.​Read more here

“The studies sort of show animals aren’t any more likely to be returned this time of year,” explained Davis.

WNCN caught up with Cain family who thought Christmas was the perfect time to adopt. The welcomed a new dog named Bella Pearl into the family.

“It’s been 2 years after our other dog passed away so we’re like it’s time to get a new one, and Christmas was the best time to do it,” the Cain family said.

“We still do encourage that the entire family prepares for the adoption and they approach it as a lifelong commitment,” said Davis. That mean surprises, aren’t always the best option. You also need to consider the lifestyle of the person who’s getting the pet, and potential medical expenses.

“We get a lot of people that want dogs at this time of year, the little puppy under the tree, but if you work a lot a cat is a perfect companion for you!” Davis said.

For Bella Pearl, the timing couldn’t be any better. She’s going home for Christmas.

“It’s never a bad time to adopt, you just really have to think about it before you do it,” said Davis.

The Animal Protection Society of Durham is also doing a bed drive and hopes to collect 100 dog beds for the holidays. You can learn more about how to donate here:

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