I see it over and over in for sale groups -- folks seeking out purebred pups as Christmas gifts. Of course, what folks want to spend their money on, and what animals they want to bring into their home, is entirely their business.

I will suggest that a purebred puppy is actually a fairly terrible gift for a number of reasons.

Pets are a huge responsibility for many many years, and many chic breeds of dogs require even more training to quell their energy and quirks. Purebred dogs can also have breed-specific health issues and abnormalities that require vet visits, and vet bills. Purebred dogs are generally very expensive, and if something happens to that animal, the huge cost associated with the gift might cause resentment between the giver and the receiver.

I'm a huge proponent of 'adopt, don't shop.' As long as there are animals in the shelter, I will advocate for them. Right now in Lubbock, the shelter has 156 animals, the highest number since March.

"We currently have 156 animals in our building - this is the most we've had since March," the shelter said. "Please find it in your heart to foster or foster fail (adopt). They need you more than ever."

Let's be honest: most people want pure breeds as status symbols, in which case I highly suggest a purse or watch instead.

If you're looking for breed-specific traits, that's understandable, but I would suggest fostering a dog or two instead. Many of those pure-breeds don't actually have those qualities you're looking for without extensive and expert training.

With a shelter dog, however, you may find that animal has those traits you were looking for all along. And with a dedicated staff and a dedicated team of volunteers, they'll have preliminary information about the animals in their care so you can narrow down your options. If it doesn't work out, it's no big deal to return the animal and foster another one until you've found your dream dog.

Lubbock Animal Shelter Adoption Center can be reached at 806-775-2057 between 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

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