Now that the holiday season is upon us, many people think a puppy would make a good gift. What most forget is that puppies require a lot of time, energy and money, and many pet store puppies come from sick and neglected puppy mills.
Nearly 8 million companion animals enter United States shelters each year, half of which are sadly killed. This is a staggering number of innocent lives lost, with millions more spending many years, if not their entire lives, in a small cage hoping to be adopted.
Instead of buying an expensive and high-maintenance puppy as a gift, visit your local animal shelter in order to find one. These loving dogs have already been spayed/neutered, are up-to-date on vaccinations and microchipped.
We are fortunate in Westchester and Putnam counties to have terrific animal shelters. One of which is the Putnam Humane Society in Carmel. The most intelligent, friendly and loving dogs I have ever met were adopted. Shelter pets want nothing more than to be in a loving home, where they will be a terrific new family member.
So instead of buying a puppy this holiday season, please share your love and home with a dog who desperately needs it. Visit your local shelter, volunteer to walk a dog and always choose to adopt.
Steve Reid is a professional dog trainer based in Somers.