Don’t gift a puppy this Christmas unless it’s for yourself.
That’s the message from central Alberta’s Saving Grace Animal Society this holiday season.
Nobody should be giving animals as gifts because they’re a big commitment, said Erin Deems, Saving Grace executive director Sunday.
The shelter’s intake of animals has “overwhelmingly” gone up in the last few months.
“Every single day, more and more calls are coming in,” said Deems, noting it’s due to cost of veterinary care and the current economic conditions in Alberta.
“They (pet parents) have to part with the animals because people cannot afford the veterinary care.”
Animals coming into the shelter with health issues or medical cases, has gone up significant this year, Deems said.
The shelter has spent $250,000 this year in veterinary care for animals. That’s four times as much as the usual number from the past years.
The shelter is doing “its best to keep its head above the water,” said Deems, explaining, “it’s always a struggle.”
The community support in the tough year has been incredible and the shelter “has so far done OK, but I don’t know how long we can keep up,” the animal advocate said.
There are also unwanted litters, which is adding to the increase in the number of animals coming into the society.
Alix’s Saving Grace had 16 puppies and 16 dogs available for adoption as of Sunday at noon. This is a high number for December, compared to previous years.
“We like to normally have the shelter pretty empty for Christmas because we don’t like the idea of animals spending Christmas with us.”
During an adoption event in the second weekend in December, 24 animals from the shelter were able to find their forever homes.
“We really make sure people are not adopting as a gift for somebody, because adopting an animal should be a very personal decision,” Deems said.
“Nobody should be giving animals as gifts.”