Gifting a Pet This Christmas – Things to Think About


Article Contributed by
Lisa Yaggie

Many people will give you their opinion on whether it is a “good” or a “bad” idea to give a pet as a Christmas gift. This isn’t going to be one of those articles. Only you can decide if the decision to bring a pet into your home is the right one. This is more food for thought, or a bone to chew on, if you will.

A Forever Home
When pets are adopted, it is often called finding their “forever home”. Getting a new pet requires a definite commitment to providing for that animal for its lifetime. Some things to consider when looking to adopt include, veterinary costs, grooming options and even training classes. We are very lucky in our area because we have many qualified trainers and groomers to choose from. Most pet owners have their favorites and are willing to share recommendations.

Chautauqua County Humane Society
There are various ways people can adopt a pet into their family, through a breeder, from a rescue or animal shelter or even just plain word of mouth referrals from a friend, co-worker or neighbor. Locally, the Chautauqua County Humane Society, 2825 Strunk Road, in Jamestown has many potential adoptees that are ready to find their forever home. According to Brian Papalia, Community Relations Director for CCHS, they stress the importance of responsible adoption practices.

The Humane Society’s adoption process includes, basic informational paperwork, a session where the human(s) meet the potential adoptee, and if the adoptee is a dog and will have another dog sibling, an introduction session for the new family. There is typically an adoption fee that is animal specific. You can go to the Humane Society’s webpage ( or Facebook page to see what pets are available for adoption or can stop into the center during their open hours, Monday, Wednesday & Saturday’s 12 pm – 4 pm, Tuesday & Friday’s 2pm – 6pm.
Every week, the Jamestown Gazette features two specially selected Humane Society pets for adoption. This week, see page 5.

Santa Xpress Pet Delivery
This holiday season, with support from the Media One Group and the Xpress hockey team, the Humane Society is running a special adoption push. They have set a goal to have 100 pets adopted between Black Friday (Nov 24) and their last day open before Christmas, Saturday, December 23. At press-time they have adopted out 72 pets and would love to find more forever homes for their residents.

From Monday December 18 – Saturday, December 23, for an extra $25.00 donation, you can have your pet delivered to your home by one of Santa’s elves and an Xpress Hockey team player! This service is offered within a 30-mile radius from the Humane Society, which covers both the North and South county areas. Hey Hockey lovers who are considering adopting this Christmas, check out CROSBY the cat.

Papalia points out that this program is not intended just to rush animals out into homes to meet a number goal. The adoption process will still be followed.

Pets are not toys. They require love and care. Adults can decide if this is the right time to bring a pet into a family situation. Sue Bobek, Director of Animal Services, joked “This is NOT the right gift for your Secret Santa”.

If the pet is a surprise, make sure there has been some discussion about wanting a pet and being able to take care of it. Sometimes the answer to loneliness might not be best solved with adding in a pet to their life. Others suggest that you can surprise with a stuffed animal or a box of pet toys with the idea that they can go meet and choose the right pet for themselves at a later date.

It pays off to do some research also on the different breeds of animals and find the right animal for the right home. Take into consideration, activity levels of both the animal’s needs and the home’s capabilities. Also, are there any potential allergies, does shedding matter? Do you want a big or tiny pet? A vocal pet?

Yes, sometimes you ask all the questions and do all the research and you still have pets surrendered back to the shelter. Bobek mentioned that recent studies have shown that the return rate after the Holidays is not any higher than normal. Some families might even find the time off during this season to be a bonus when acclimating the new pet to their home and to the new chores that come with adoption.

Donations & Gift Ideas
For those animal lovers who aren’t looking to adopt right now, you can donate to the Humane Society for the animals that are not going home for the holidays. On the CCHS website, under the GIVING page, you can find a current NEEDS LIST. What a wonderful way to include pets in need this Christmas.

Also, if you are looking for a gift to give TO your pet, volunteer Marilla Norton has a lovely supply in the Adopted Shop Boutique at the center. Everything except the available T-shirts are made or supplied by Ms. Norton, says Papalia.