I do not remember a time when there was not an animal in our house while we were growing up. Usually our household was “home” to a menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, and (much to my mother’s dismay) snakes, frogs, lizards, and any sort of bug that I could catch outside. Other than the reptiles and insects (who were forcibly detained from our yard), the majority of the other animals were rescues.
When my mother started working at and volunteering at a rescue, we also became the home of a rotation of foster animals - usually pregnant cats and their litters. When I started my Masters and was looking for a cat, I immediately went the rescue route, and we now are home to a rescue cat and dog.
During this season of gift-giving, many people will be adding an animal to their family. Remember that it is just that - you are bringing them in to your home and family. Make sure you are prepared for that and that six months down the road, you will be just as excited to have them in your hearts. And when considering where to find the new member of your family, first look to the rescues.
(The cats pictured below are available from the Virginia Chesapeake Humane Society. Contact me if you need images of rescue animals for your organization.)