Next to a pony, the Christmas gift request parents probably dread most is a dog or cat.
Whether that fear is justified depends on your circumstances, said Payson Humane Society manager Diane Fitzpatrick.
"Getting a dog or cat for someone at Christmas can be a little hectic," she said. "It's what most kids would like to get, but training a puppy takes time and patience.
"If you have both, then Christmas is a great time to bring a new animal into your house."
If you don't have the time and patience during the holidays, a wise alternative is a Payson Humane Society gift certificate. Then you can bring your child in after the holidays and make an adventure out of picking out the new family pet.
Gift certificates cost $50 the adoption fee for a dog or cat that has to be spayed or neutered before you can take it home. If you choose a dog or cat that is already spayed or neutered, the fee is only $25.
"We can't refund the extra $25, but you can get two pets on one gift certificate that way if you want," Fitzpatrick said.
Going into the holidays, the humane society has a great selection of dogs and cats. "We have 69 cats and 53 dogs, which is over capacity," said employee Amber Martin.
Sure to go fast is a litter of eight yellow Labrador retrievers.
"They would be excellent Christmas presents," said Fitzpatrick. "They're beautiful."
Puppies or dogs are a better choice than cats for younger children, Martin believes.
"If a little kid, say 2 or 3 years old, comes up and pokes a puppy in the eye or pulls his tail, the puppy is probably going to think it's being played with and won't react aggressively," she said. "If he pokes a cat in the eye, he's likely to get clawed."
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