Humane society says Christmas can be right time for a pet
If you're having a quiet Christmas at home CEO says it might be time to adopt
That surprise puppy is still a bad idea for a Christmas gift, but the head of the Ottawa Humane Society says if you're thinking about a pet, the holidays can actually be a smart time to adopt.
Germany's biggest animal shelter has banned any adoptions over Christmas, and many others strongly discourage it.
Ottawa Humane Society CEO Bruce Roney, however, believes there are cases where an adoption at Christmas can work.
He told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning that for a lot of people, Christmas can mean a few quiet days — and that can serve as an ideal time to bring a pet into the house.
"People don't tend to have as large families [as they used to]. They are more transient, and our experience is that there are a lot of people having quiet Christmas at home," Roney said.
That advice doesn't apply if your holiday is a whirlwind, with family visits and dozens of people dropping by. But otherwise, Roney said, it can make sense.
"If [would-be adopters] have some time off from work, it may be an excellent time to integrate a pet into your household," Roney said.
Not a good surprise
Roney stressed that advice only applies to people adopting for themselves, or families deciding they want an animal.
Giving a puppy or a kitten as a gift remains a bad idea.
"We want adoption to be an intentional thing, not a surprise. And we want people to do research and think it through," he said.
"That is not an opportunity you have if someone shows up at your door with a free kitten."
Roney also said it's important to know that owning an animal can be a lot of work.
"We spend a lot of time in our adoptions helping people understand the reality of what this animal is going to need."
The humane society has many animals available for adoption, he added.