As Christmas draws closer, shoppers are making final decisions about gift ideas.
Some may choose to give a loved one an adoptable pet.
Before pursuing that option, county residents should keep a few factors in mind.
Ensuring that the person is able to handle a pet is one suggestion Prince William County Animal Advisory Committee Chairman Ron Crigger made, according to a release from Prince William County.
“Don’t surprise anyone,” Crigger said in a release. “People may be excited by the idea of a pet, but then when you surprise them with one, it might not be the pet they want, or they might not be ready.”
Prince William Humane Society (PWHS) Founder and President Lori Leary suggested making the adoption process a surprise.
Gift givers can wrap up a leash or collar and tell the recipient that they can help choose the new pet.
The lifestyle of potential pet owners — such as how much they work and whether they enjoy exercising — should also be considered.
Pet-related costs is an aspect Prince William County Animal Control Bureau Communications Manager Jeremy Beale mentioned.
“Owners should look at their finances and determine how much money they are willing to spend to ensure the new addition of their family is healthy, happy and cared for,” Beale said in a release. “Expenses include food, medical, dental, grooming, training and basic amenities ranging from leashes and crates to litter pans and beds.”
Those who find a pet are encouraged to not adopt it right away.
“If you go to a shelter and you see a dog or a cat that you really like, walk away. Maybe come back the next day or maybe an hour later. Make sure you hold it and play with it. Make sure there’s that connection,” Crigger said. “You know when it’s the right time.”
Leary encouraged families who are considering a pet to include all members in the decision process.
Doing a “Meet and Greet” with family members and current pets, and allowing a dog to pick you can help families make the right choice.
Keeping an open mind and adopting a pet after the holidays are a couple of other tips Leary mentioned.
“PW Humane Society Pet Adopt Shop has kittens, adult cats, and dogs available for adoption and we’re open every day except Fridays,” Leary wrote in an email to What’s Up Prince William. “Please come check out our adorable adoptables and maybe fall in love.”
Community members can learn additional information about PWHS, which is at 17983 Dumfries Shopping Plaza in Dumfries, by calling 703 634-0880 or visiting its website.
The Prince William County Animal Shelter, located at 14807 Bristow Road in Manassas, can be reached at 703-792-6465.