DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Every year, thousands of puppies and kittens end up in shelters as unwanted Christmas gifts, which is why the Humane Society of Dickson County urges people to think twice before giving someone a furry friend as a present.

“Many people want to surprise their kids or their parents or someone that they love with a puppy or a kitten,” said Vivienne Akhdary, general manager for the Humane Society of Dickson County. “It just seems like such a wonderful idea and everybody’s so happy, until a month or two after the holidays.”

That’s when the humane society reportedly sees an influx of animals as some families change their minds about their holiday presents.

“So what happens is, between the next six months after Christmas, is we get inundated, and every shelter does, with animals that were given as wonderful gifts and everybody was so happy, and then the reality sits in and they come back,” Akhdary explained.

Akhdary, the humane society’s intakes for dogs and cats are already up, even before the gift-giving begins.

Meanwhile, the organization is bracing for 75 animals to be returned as unwanted Christmas presents.

“The reality of caring for that kitten or caring for that puppy comes into play, because it’s not just a cute little thing that you can put to the side,” Akhdary said. “It takes training, it takes work to make a dog or a cat be comfortable and happy and be a good member of your family.”

Akhdary said she doesn’t want to discourage anyone from getting a pet but encourages people to be prepared and know what they are getting into before making a decision.

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“It’s just doing your research. Make a wise decision on what you’re doing,” the humane society’s general manager said. “You’re talking about a 10 to 15-year commitment to something if you do it right.”

If you can handle the long-term commitment, officials at the Humane Society of Dickson County encourage people to adopt. However, they are always looking for people interested in fostering, volunteering, and/or donating. You can learn more by following this link.