Angel Tree for shelter animals

 P.J. with the Angel Tree at the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter. Pet of all kinds can be 'adopted' by taking a photo with the pet's wish list on the back.
Staff Writer

There have been Angel Trees for many years allowing people to choose one and buy presents to help families with gifts for children. The West Point Clay County Animal Shelter has borrowed the idea to have an Angel Tree of a different variety.

"This is our second year to have an Angel Tree for the animals here at the shelter," Lisa Henley, director of the WPCCAS said. "We have the name and photo of our dogs and cats on an ornament and their 'wish list' for Christmas."

Last year the tree was very successful, according to Melanie Elmore, with the WPCCAS. Many people made donations toward future residents of the shelter.

"We can take donations over the phone and do the purchasing for the pet," Elmore said. "We'll do the shopping. We also had people who bought for their pet from or and had it shipped directly to us. That was fun, opening the packages for them."

The WPCCAS will post a photo on Facebook of the adopted pet with its gifts.

"You can call or come by and pick a shelter pet off of the tree," Henley said. "We have cats and dogs to choose from."

The shelter can use donations of old blankets or quilts, no thick comforters with filling. The dogs destroy those in a matter of hours, Henley said. The shelter is currently in need of Dawn dishwashing liquid (blue), Purina Dog and Puppy Chow, smooth peanut butter for Kongs (dog toys.)

"We just received a litter of ten puppies that will be available for adoption soon," Henley said. "We can use large size dog sweater. The short-haired dogs really appreciate having something warm."

The WPCCAS does not recommend giving pets as Christmas presents, unless the recipient know they are getting a pet and understands the responsibility that comes with it.

"We love to see the shelter animals go to loving homes," Henley said. "But we want people to understand the pet will be with you for years. There is food, shelter and vet bills to consider. That adorable puppy may grow to be a large dog that eats a lot and requires a lot of room to run. Needs heart worm preventative, flea and tick control and vaccinations. That sweet kitten will be a cat that needs yearly shots to stay healthy."

A pet as a gift may be an unwanted surprise. Check first to see if the person is ready for the responsibility. Adopting a pet is wonderful. But be sure the prospective owner is ready to provide for the lifetime of the animal.