As the shopping season is in full swing, think carefully before buying a new, adorable and fluffy pet as a holiday gift. Bringing a pet home to become a part of the family should never be an impulse buy or be an imposition or seen as a novelty item. According to Broadway Barks, an organization specializing in fundraising for animal shelters and rescue groups, approximately half of all animals purchased during the holiday season are returned. Having a pet is a choice and should always be discussed at length along with identifying all the associated responsibilities. A pet is a minimum commitment of at least 10 years that includes emotional and financial attachments. While there is a great need to find new homes for animals at local shelters, make sure you and your family have the time and resources to care for a pet. For questions and to adopt a pet, contact the Riverside County Department of Animal Services at www.rcdas.org.