The increase of free pets on Craigslist in Lubbock right now is likely caused in part by one thing: pets are not good Christmas presents.

When you give someone a dog or cat as a gift, you should be absolutely sure they want one in the first place and that they are able to care for it. Giving a kitten to your friend may be the last thing they want, and those pets given as gifts often end up in shelters not long after the holiday comes to a close.

It's also important to remember that children are not always the best at taking care of pets. Even if your 5-year-old is begging you for a puppy, the responsibility will ultimately be yours if you give in and adopt one. As much as I want all of the pets in the shelter to be adopted, I want them to go to someone who is ready to take care of an animal that may have been given away many times before.

Animals experience traumatic events and have very real feelings. Just because we're unable to communicate with them using the same language does not mean that we cannot communicate with them at all.

Adopting a scared shelter animal, taking them into a loving home, and then returning them because the responsibility was too great is absolutely heartbreaking. Animals that have been in and out of shelters can suffer from PTSD and depression, often leading to aggressive behavior and euthanasia.

Remember that even if a pet is only a small part of your life, YOU are THEIR entire life. Adopting a pet should be seen as a commitment to care for them until the end, not just two weeks over the holiday break.

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