Get a pet for Christmas and not sure it’ll work out? Here are your options

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Pets can be a popular gift for the holidays, especially for kids. But as we head into 2015, animal shelters and rescues in central Indiana are on alert.

They know some of those parents may feel buyer’s remorse and want to get rid of their animal.

The Humane Society of Indianapolis told FOX59 they expect the calls and questions now and in the coming weeks from people who might not be sold on that pet they got for Christmas. Their advice is to wait it out.

A quick search of YouTube, and you will find pet videos are everywhere. We found dozens of them, with kids pulling puppies and kittens out of Christmas boxes, gifts on Christmas Day.

But sometimes, the happiness fades. Parents get overwhelmed.

“A lot of times, people just don’t realize what they’re getting into,” said Connie Swaim, director of canine training at the Humane Society of Indianapolis.

It’s a situation Swaim sees throughout the year, but it’s about to be busy season.

“I emailed people on Christmas Day. I’ve been talking to people this whole week I’ve been on vacation. I want people to keep their pets,” she said.

Swaim said the phones will start ringing in the coming weeks. New puppy owners will complain they are mouthy and biting. Common worries for new kitten owners, Swaim said, include that they run around and knock objects over in the house.

“People mainly are calling for issues that are related to the age of the animal they are getting,” she said.

Swaim preaches patience and encourages new pet owners to get to know their animal by building a bond. She said it’s also important to realize owning a pet takes time and is not cheap. She advises training for dogs and cats, both of which, she said, are available in Indianapolis at various price points.

“It’s going to take people wanting to spend some money. There is no such thing as a free pet,” she said.

FOX59 found Allison Moore with her dog Andy, named after Andrew Luck. Her parents found him dumped the day after Christmas. Moore is taking him in.

“I asked for a dog jokingly for Christmas, but I don’t know, I guess Santa’s real,” Moore said, “He’s mine now.”

For Swaim, this time of year is about reminding new pet owners that your furry friend is a part of the family you will have to grow to love.

“This is a lifetime commitment for somebody. He’s not something that you say in six months or a year, I just don’t want to deal,” she said.

IndyHumane has a “Here to Help Line” that is available for anyone to call for assistance. That number is (317) 876-2173. You can also email

Swaim said it’s their policy that if an animal is being given as a gift, all the members of the family have to come meet it first to make sure it’s a good fit.

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