Don’t add an animal to gift list without due consideration first
With only four days until Christmas, those still on the hunt for presents are feeling the heat.
But the worst gift to put under the tree without enough consideration is a pet.
A sign near the Westover bridge at the end of River Road says as much. It’s an idea Dana Johnson has had for quite some time, which finally came to fruition this year thanks to approval from the Monongalia County Commission.
The Stick Co. created the sign, and Johnson said the area business brought her vision to life perfectly, with a quick turnover.
“It’s just something my staff and I feel is very important to put out there,” she said of the sign’s message.
After all, they’re the ones who have to deal with an influx of animals being returned to the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center after the excitement of having a new furry family member wears off.
“We do see a big return after the holidays,” said Johnson, who is the director of the center. “It’s not immediate. Sometimes, it’s six to eight months down the road.
“They may have been smaller or younger” when adopted, Johnson said of the center’s cats and dogs. But the animals typically get returned when they hit their more difficult “teenage” years and require patience and training.
It’s something she wants to avoid for the animals especially, but also for the employees at the center who feel the heartbreak of the returns as well.
“For us, it’s very difficult,” Johnson, director of the center, said. “Every time an animal is re-homed, it causes stress and trauma. … And they’re back in a more uncontrolled environment (than a home) and have to start all over again. It takes time to rehabilitate them.”
It takes money, too. These days, everything from dog food to vaccines to electric bills are more expensive, which is why, as of Dec. 15, the cost to adopt an animal jumped from $85 to $125.
The increased fee also helps the center give more to the veterinarians who spay and neuter each animal at the facility.
“We were at $85 for 16 years,” Johnson said. “We need to keep up with times.”