Before giving a pet as a present over the holidays, animal activists advise adopters to get ready.

Many people find great joy in their furry pals, who can also make for a memorable Christmas morning surprise. A pet is forever, even if the Christmas excitement passes.

Mickey Schaefer, a long-time shelter worker and animal advocate, noted that just like people, animals need some time to become used to a new environment.

“Any new environment can, isn’t always, but can be so very terrifying for a dog when they transition to a house or from foster to a home or from a shelter to a home,” Schaefer said. “If you add to that the commotion of Christmas, I think that might be a difficult circumstance.”

Holiday or not, according to Shelter from the Storm founder Allison Davies, both families and pets enjoy their stay.

Assuming we’ve followed all the proper procedures, Davies said, “making sure individuals are adopting the correct pet, making sure they have the right assistance and resources to support that pet, things like that.”

She claimed that small details matter and that pets are rarely returned to the shelter.

“Returns are not always something that we necessarily have control over after that stuff has been handled,” Davies added. “We just try to support people and take back the animals at any time for any reason and try to reserve our judgement.”