Bark and Purrtect

Animal Welfare, Rescue and Advocacy

Bark and Purrtect
A Promise of a Puppy or Kitten

By: Paris Permenter & John Bigley

The image of a puppy or kitten beneath the Christmas tree may seem to many families to be the picture of happiness, but in reality the holidays can be an especially stressful time to welcome a new furry family member. Holiday decorations, disrupted schedules, holiday hustle and bustle, and heightened excitement can get new adoptions off on the wrong paw for most families.

But many shelters offer a better option: a pet adoption gift certificate. Certificates allow the recipient to select the pet that’s right for them – when the time is right.

Joy Beach, Executive Director of the Nashville Humane Association, explains, “If you want someone to have an animal, buy them a gift certificate. The choice is really personal. I wouldn’t want someone else to pick out an animal for me.”

Nashville Humane Association offers pre-paid gift certificates that the recipient can then later bring in and redeem for the animal of their choice. “Animals are not a pair of socks,” notes Beach. “They are a living, breathing creature, and I hope a lot of thought has gone into adoption.” To deter last-minute adoptions, the nonprofit Nashville shelter is always closed on Christmas Eve.

Along with shelter certificates, another option is a pet “I.O.U.” You can design your own or has a free downloadable Pet Promise Certificate you can easily print. These certificates can include your promise to go with the recipient to a shelter at a later date and share in the joy of pet adoption.

Gift certificates or adoption I.O.U. certificates can easily be gift wrapped along with books on selecting and raising a dog, cat or other pet, a pet toy, pet bed, food and water bowls, and other essentials. They’ll all be necessary when the time is right to welcome your next four-legged family member. Parents can then plan a visit to their local shelter or to special adoption events at their local pet supply stores to meet adoptable pets and to begin the dialogue about what kind of pet would be best for their household, what special needs that pet will have, and how the home can be prepared to welcome that pet when the time is right. is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption web service. We help homeless pets at more than 13,600 animal shelters and rescues connect with the millions of potential adopters visit our website each month. To date, we’ve facilitated hundreds of thousands of lasting connections between great people and loving animals.

Read's Full Bio