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Christ­mas pets sim­ply aren’t a great gift

It’s a com­mon sight in hol­i­day ad­ver­tis­ing or pro­gram­ming. A fam­ily com­ing down the stairs and see­ing a new puppy or kit­ten (bow and rib­bon op­tional on their head), un­der the Christ­mas tree, the new­est mem­ber of the fam­ily. While this im­age may be heart­warm­ing, it may not be ideal for most fam­i­lies, which is why lo­cal an­i­mal res­cue agen­cies are ad­vis­ing Hat­ters not to adopt a pet on im­pulse for Christ­mas. “We re­ally don’t think that adding an an­i­mal to your fam­ily should be a sur­prise, it should be some­thing that is re­ally well-thought out and that all of the fam­ily mem­bers have dis­cussed and agreed upon, and de­cided to­gether, so ev­ery­one is tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, and they re­al­ize it is a big re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Katie Ayres, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Medicine Hat SPCA. “Adding a dog or cat to your fam­ily, they live for 10-15 years on av­er­age. It’s a long-term com­mit­ment.” Kaylee Getz, an­i­mal ser­vices man­ager with Al­berta Pound and Res­cue Cen­tre, says the hol­i­days can also bring a lot of ex­tra stres­sors and haz­ards for pets. “There’s a lot of things they can eat or get into, as well as all of the ex­tra added peo­ple in the home as well,” she said. Ayres adds she doesn’t like the idea of a pet be­ing a gift. “It makes it sound like your pets are a toy, if you’re get­ting them as a gift,” she said. “A lot of peo­ple dis­card toys af­ter they’re done with them.” Getz agrees with the de­ci­sion to not treat a pet as an im­pulse gift. “Peo­ple don’t al­ways see it as a life­long com­mit­ment,” she said, not­ing this at­ti­tude is preva­lent with cats. “They have to be pre­pared for the fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity of own­ing a pet, that a lot of peo­ple don’t think of.” Ayres says if peo­ple re­ally want a pet, it should be a full fam­ily de­ci­sion, to be done at a later date. “If they’ve been talk­ing about it for a while and be­lieve now is the time, and they re­ally want an added an­i­mal to their fam­ily, Christ­mas could be a time of an­nounc­ing that, but then go­ing to­gether and mak­ing sure they choose the right pet for their fam­ily,” she said. Ayres notes the SPCA does not al­low new adop­tions around Christ­mas, un­less it was al­ready in progress. Ayres and Getz both say the an­i­mals in their shel­ter will be cared for on Christ­mas Day. Stock­ings are set up by ev­ery cage, and treats will be put in place for the an­i­mals.

Shake­speare’s plays get an emoji touch

Shake­speare can be a lit­tle chal­leng­ing for a teenager, but no wor­ries, there’s a TL;DR ver­sion now! Pen­guin has launched an OMG Shake­speare se­ries (trans­lat­ing plays into emo­jis) that re-imag­ines his most fa­mous plays in the dig­i­tal age, with ti­tles in­clud­ing Mac­beth #killin­git, A Mid­sum­mer Night #NoFil­ter and YOLO Juliet. The plays, re­told by Court­ney Carbone and Brett Wright, are con­densed down to terse What­sapp-es­que mes­sages, with char­ac­ters ‘check­ing in’ rather than walk­ing on stage and updating their re­la­tion­ship sta­tuses at key mo­ments. ‘To be or not to be’ be­comes ‘2 *b-ee emoji* or not 2 *bee emoji*’. ‘Thus with a kiss I die’ be­comes ‘With a *blow­ing kiss emoji* I *dead emoji*’. The books have been get­ting a strong mar­ket­ing push and their own stand in one store stated: The clas­sics can be *sleep emoji* Even with all the *heart emoji *heart­break emoji* *grin emoji* *dead emoji*. In­tro­duc­ing OMG Shake­speare! Shake­speare’s plays like ‘Mac­beth’ now read #killin­git and ‘A Mid­sum­mer Night’ #NoFil­ter and YOLO Juliet ‘Never wanted to burn a book be­fore’ @Fred­dyA­maz­ing wrote along­side a pic­ture of the stand, elic­it­ing over 3,000 retweets. Srsly (short for se­ri­ously) Ham­let, Mac­beth #killin­git and YOLO Juliet are out now, with A Mid­sum­mer Night #nofil­ter launch­ing next Jan­uary.One of the books car­ries the ded­i­ca­tion: “To all my ex­tra­or­di­nary English teach­ers, I’m sorry.”

Many pets await adop­tion at shel­ters

A new year and a new re­minder re­gard­ing adding a four-legged fam­ily mem­ber to your hu­man fam­ily: Al­ways adopt from a shel­ter first. There are mil­lions of pup­pies and dogs wait­ing pa­tiently for a new lov­ing home at shel­ters through­out the United States. It’s def­i­nitely get­ting bet­ter re­gard­ing the sell­ing of dogs and cats in pet stores. The prac­tice of sell­ing kit­tens and pup­pies has al­most come to a screech­ing halt. The back yard puppy mills and breed­ers still con­tinue to make a for­tune, ad­ver­tis­ing their cute pup­pies to ig­no­rant suck­ers! We can only imag­ine the liv­ing con­di­tions of these cute pup­pies are sub­jected to liv­ing in be­fore and if they are adopted. Sadly, there are still kill shel­ter through­out the United states that have gor­geous pup­pies and dogs, at a frac­tion of the cost, much less than you’ll spend from a puppy mill. The adop­tion fee in­cludes spay­ing and/or neu­ter­ing and some vac­ci­na­tions. I love an­i­mals from the depth of my soul. I pray peo­ple read this let­ter if they are plan­ning on adopt­ing their tail-wag­ging or purring four-legged best friends; these best friends who will love you un­con­di­tion­ally all the days of their lives. Diane L. Am­burn Water­ford

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