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Why experts warn pets should not be a gift, especially during pandemic

There are many options other than adopting a pet for those that aren't sure if they want a furry companion just yet.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Humane Society has urged people not to purchase pets as gifts during the holidays and the pandemic, because as more families go back to work, the society is worried of a flood of animals back at the shelter.

While adopting a dog and cat at the shelter is great, Spokane Humane Society Executive Director Ed Boks said people should be thoughtful before even thinking about bringing home a pet. 

"Before you come down to the shelter, we encourage family units to get together to have a conversation about what it means to bring an animal into the home. Who's going to be responsible?" Boks said.

He added that not acting out of impulsion is key to a happy adoption.

"We have adoption counselors that will help. We want to make this as smooth as possible," Boks said.

The shelter is currently on track to beat last year's number of adoptions, but Boks said that could be a good thing or a bad thing going forward. 

"The concern is as there's so many people at home, and they want the companionship of an animal which is a wonderful thing and we encourage it," Boks said. "If there's going to be a time where you're going back to work, how prepared will your pet be?"

With that said, those who are not sure if they're ready have plenty of options. 

One of the major ones is fostering a pet. In fact, USA Today reports the Humane Society of the United States has seen a significant increase of people fostering pets right now during the pandemic.

Another way to help is to purchase a gift card to a shelter that could give a person the choice to adopt the perfect quarantine companion on their own time.