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Pets bring love and need for responsibility

Think about the big, complete picture before bringing a pet into your home for the Christmas holidays

My wife and I "adopted" an abandoned German Shepherd puppy for a while a few years ago. She was 7 months old and had just been abandoned by someone living in an apartment adjacent to where one of my reporters lived when I was a newspaper editor at the Chino/Chino Hills Champion.

We owned a small, one bedroom condo in South Ontario at the time, so we knew our "adoption" wouldn't be permanent. When my reporter told me about the puppy that was apparently abandoned by a family that had moved out of their apartment (she was sitting in a little dirt area just to the side of the front door), I went over there, put her in my car and took her home. We fed and bathed her (she was filthy), got her checked out by our vet, gave her plenty of love (that was the easiest part), got her spayed and got her used to being around other people and other dogs.

Finally, when it became apparent our small condo was just too small for her, we gave her to a no-kill shelter in Ontario near our home. This shelter, privately funded, would only accept dogs or other animals that it could place, so they put our Cookie (as we had named her) through a few tests (she was confronted by a little girl and a lick-fest ensued and she was also confronted by a little dog, and some nose touching and butt smelling ensued) and in the end they accepted her (that was the toughest part).

I later contacted the shelter and was told she was placed with a good family. She was a great dog, loving, could play hard and knew the difference between biting my hand and arm (most of the time) and a chew  bone. She was a wonderful dog, and although this has been more than 20 years and I know she is gone now, I hope she had a wonderful life and I hope my wife and I contributed to that wonderful life.

I tell this story just as a reminder to folks out there who are considering getting a puppy, kitten or some other pet for a youngster for Christmas. Please, before taking such an action -- although there are plenty of animal shelter pets available for adoption -- think this decision over very carefully and think of the long-term responsibilities having a pet brings with it.

Maybe this dog my wife and I rescued a couple of decades ago was one of those Christmas presents or not, or maybe not. Either way, this was a family that was not prepared for the responsibility of having a pet in their household, so they abandoned the pet and their responsibility at the same time. I hope they lost some sleep over this. We still have a photo of our Cookie on our wall at home and whenever I look at her, I get a warm feeling for this wonderful animal.

Pets can certainly bless any home, but with pet "partnership" comes responsibility, so please think about the entire picture before deciding to bless your home with a four-legged, furry new member for the holidays (or any time, for that matter).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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