Fairbanks animal shelter offers advice on getting a pet for the holidays

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 4:14 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Pets can be a wonderful addition to the family, but it’s important to be properly prepared before acquiring one.

According to Kimberly Imbert, Operations Supervisor for the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter, adopting a pet requires a lot of information as every animal has their own quirks.

“When we place animals up for adoption, we provide as much information as we have about the animal,” Imbert explained. “Our hope is that information will help the animal find a good fit for their family. Pets are a part of the family, so that’s an extension of your family, and we feel that most people want to be involved in that decision. So a pet as a gift is a tricky situation because of that.”

The concern regarding purchasing or adopting a pet as a gift is that the animal may not be compatible with the recipient, or they may not be ready for a pet.

“The biggest thing that you want to make sure of is that you’re ready for a pet,” Imbert explained. “We would hope that if you choose to get a pet as a gift, that you are 100% certain that the person is ready for that type of animal and for that animal’s personality, and maybe not surprise them with the gift. Maybe have them involved in the decision, making sure that the new member of the family is a good fit and that they’re ready for that animal.”

Imbert continued, “We would almost encourage... if someone is ready for a pet or indicate that they’re thinking about getting a pet, maybe you could get them things to support their pet ownership instead of getting an animal for a gift. [Pets] are living beings and they’re a huge responsibility.”

If the pet is intended for a child, parents should be aware of the added responsibility according to Imbert. “If you’re giving the gift of a pet to your child, the biggest thing that we want parents to be ready for is to be responsible for that pet because children are just learning responsibility, so they can’t really be expected to handle the entire responsibility, especially the financial and time. If the child loses interest, we need buy-in from the whole family for that pet to succeed in the family.”

Despite this, adopting a pet during the holidays can be a great time due to the extra time available to spend with the new family member.

“We actually are excited for people to adopt during the holidays,” Imbert explained, “because we know people have more time off from work or school so they’re able to help the pet transition into the home more successfully. They have more time and attention to devote to that pet.

Imbert concluded by saying, “If you’re looking to bring a pet into the family or to gift a pet, make sure that everyone’s ready for it. It’s a big responsibility but it’s a really rewarding one, and we’re so grateful for our community adopting pets from us. We have a lot of animals looking for loving homes this holiday season, so thank you for keeping us in mind.”

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