Asha says you should read Ask the Vet with Dr. Juanita. (Healey photo)

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The holidays are usually a joyful time of the year when people come together, celebrate and exchange gifts. Sometimes gift giving can include the giving of pets.

A longstanding belief, is that shelters should not allow adoptions by those looking to give the pet as a gift during the holidays or otherwise, as that pet would be more likely to be relinquished.

However, many shelters across North America have found out that the rate of relinquished pets was about the same with pets that were adopted as gifts even over the holidays.

For example, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) discussed findings from its

research study, which debunked a major myth about giving pets as gifts.

 The ASPCA found that 96 percent of people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their bond to that pet. Also, 86 percent of the pets in the study had remained in the original home.

“This has been a very controversial topic for the public and the sheltering world alike, but we’re hoping to put an end to this misconception before the holiday season,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, Vice President of Shelter Research & Development for the ASPCA. “These are exciting findings that can help open new adoption options for shelters, allowing more animals to be placed in loving homes.”

Previous research studies conducted in the 1990s and 2000 (Patronek, 1996; Scarlett, 1999; New, 1999; New 2000) support these findings, which found that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by an individual adopter.

If you’re thinking about bringing a pet into a loved one’s home, or into your own home, this holiday season, please make pet adoption an option!

Dr. Juanita Ashton,

Elmsdale Animal Hospital.