Ah, the holiday season. So festive, serene, and spectacular. Everywhere you go, there are colorful lights strung on homes and businesses celebrating the most wonderful season of the year. Well, it's not my favorite season. That would be camping season.

And not all is well. Holiday shopping can be stressful. Don't get me wrong, I love to shop at our local businesses. It's just that I have a hard time deciding what gifts to buy for those on my holiday gift list.

One gift that is very popular this time of year is a pet. A dog or a cat ends up on a lot of holiday gift lists, many from children who will no doubt hound (pardon the pun) their parents every day until Christmas arrives.

I have to admit, I bought my wife a puppy for Christmas early in our marriage and really didn't think much about the responsibility. Fortunately, we learned quickly what it takes to have a pet, and ended up spoiling our puppy who lived to be 15 years old.

Having a pet in your family's lives is a wonderful thing. The thing is before you decide to buy a pet for someone, do your research ahead of time. Understand the responsibility. Who is going to care for the pet, will it be in a safe environment, will you be financially able to keep your pet healthy and be prepared for any emergency that may happen, and trust me, it probably will to some degree.

Also, if you can adopt from a shelter, I'd suggest you do so. There are so many dogs and cats waiting for a forever home. And it doesn't have to be a puppy or kitten. Older cats and dogs need a home too, and they probably are already house trained. My wife and I have adopted older Greyhounds and even though they weren't with us as long as a younger Greyhound would be, we gave them a good home, lots of loving and it's a great feeling knowing you gave a senior animal a great life to the end.

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Having a pet is a great thing. I don't think my home will ever be without at least one as long as I'm able to be responsible and can afford to care for a pet. Check some other suggestions from the Broome County Humane Society before buying or adopting a pet.


Five Things That Are Shaving Time Off of Your Life Expectancy

7 Places To Play With Your Pup in the Southern Tier

LOOK: See what Christmas was like the year you were born

via Broome County Humane Society

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