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Why you shouldn't gift shelter pets this Christmas

Girls visit the Cache Humane Society
Clayre Scott
Girls visiting the Cache Humane Society

Visiting the Cache Humane Society, you’ll find cages full of pets ready for adoption. With Christmas approaching, saving an animal by gifting can seem like a win-win.

“I want a pet for Christmas — wouldn’t that be cool?” said 9-year-old Nellie West.

Dog manager, Brooklyn Strickland, said animals need a home, but they aren’t gifts.

“When you adopt an animal from here, you're getting the microchip registered to your name, you're getting all of the records and stuff,” Strickland said.

So not only would it be hard to find the owner if the pet were lost, but as Strickland said, “We would have none of the correct information."

But the animal may not be a good fit for the home you’re gifting it to.

“Maybe they didn't want it, it’s not good for the animal or the person,” she added.

So a shelter animal wouldn’t be the best Christmas gift, but what if someone wanted to adopt him for themselves?

“Go for it, adopt anytime you want. Whenever you're ready, you do it,” Strickland said.

If you do have to return an animal after adopting, Strickland says it’s not the end of the world. “We always encourage people to bring their dogs back or their cats.”

When you’re adopting, it can be tempting to buy a younger puppy or kitten, but employees at the Cache Humane Society say there are a lot of benefits to buying older.

“They've already got their things,” Strickland said. “So we know they're good with cats. We know they're good with dogs, we know that they're good with kids, we know that they're already house trained.”

Strickland says adopting can be easy. Just make sure you’re adopting for the right reasons … and for yourself.

“Those animals get a chance at a new life, and it really helps them out and helps us out too,” Strickland said.

A long time lover of NPR and radio reporting, Clayre Scott joined UPR in August of 2021 as the producer of the weekly podcast UnDisciplined. She began reporting in 2022 and now enjoys telling stories through sound and getting weekly texts from her family after hearing her on the radio. Along with her work at UPR, Clayre is attending Utah State University to get her degree in Broadcast Journalism, with time on the side to study Political Science and Art History.