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Tips for adopting a family dog this holiday season

Mike Arms wants parents to give orphans a chance.

Know before you go

  • Before starting the adoption process, decide what best fits
    your family’s needs. Should it be an older pet, a younger pet, a
    cat?
  • With any adoption organization, do your homework ahead of time.
    Find out how long they’ve been in business and how selective their
    adoption process is. “The majority are very reputable and care
    about those breeds and they’re very selective,” Arms says, a sign
    they’re careful to match the right pet to the right owner.
  • If you’re thinking of a kitten, Arms suggests adopting two.
    They’ll keep each other company and are less likely to get into
    mischief.

As spokesperson for the Iams Home 4 the Holidays program, Arms would like parents to consider a four-legged orphan when looking for a cat or dog this holiday season.

“This is the time of year more people will bring pets into their home for holiday gifts,” Arms says. And most parents will turn to their local pet store when it comes to buying that pet.

“People may think all (shelters) have are sick animals or animals that hurt people,”Arms says. “They don’t realize we have beautiful animals.”

Iams Home 4 the Holidays is a pet adoption drive taking place at 4,000 animal shelters worldwide, including many in the Chicago area, and focuses on the benefits of adopting a dog or cat from a shelter instead of a pet store. Arms says there are many advantages to shelter and rescue animals.

“In all your reputable organizations, they’re medically treated, vaccinated, a lot are spayed and neutered before they leave,” he says. “The majority are screened for behavior and they know how to match up the right pet with the right family.”

And, for families that aren’t ready to adopt their own dog, the Home 4 the Holidays program can help connect them with a local animal shelter or organization where they can volunteer.

“The pets need attention,” Arms says. “If you can give a few hours a week to walk dogs, or to give quality time to cats, it just helps their whole disposition.”

For more information on participating shelters, as well as adoption tips, visit facebook.com/iams. The facebook campaign also allows visitors to donate to their local shelter.

“The donations come through us and we send it to the organization that it’s meant for and we do not take one penny out for administrative costs,” Arms says. “Whatever the person donates, the organization gets 100 percent of this.”

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