COLORADO SPRINGS- While giving pets as gifts have become increasingly popular in recent years, they may not be the best present this holiday season.
Unwanted pets often end up back in shelters or abandoned on the streets.
"I just want all the dogs and cats here to find loving homes," volunteer Christy Middleton said.
Middleton has seen her fair share of animals find loving homes, but not every adoption has a fairy tale ending.
"We see that it didn't get along with a different pet in the family," communication specialist Gretchen Pressley said. "Perhaps the child is a little too small for a bigger dog and there's a risk of being knocked over by the bigger dog or they had allergies they didn't know about."
They are all scenarios that can play out when giving a dog or cat as a Christmas present.
"Of course it's always sad but we understand that people have to return animals sometimes," Pressley said.
The goal is to make sure animals that find loving homes, stay in loving homes.
Before adopting, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region encourages future pet owners to check out the animal first before making a purchase.
"Lots of times people come in and fall in love," Pressley said. "It's love at first sight! They know it's the perfect match and they take the animal home and that works great."
Chances of an animal being returned are much less when the future owner interacts with the pet prior to taking him or her home.
If you're still persistent on giving a pet as a holiday present, the humane society says to give them a gift card instead.
Many shelters and pet organizations offer gift certificates to cover adoption costs.
This way, the recipient can pick out their perfect four-legged friend.
For more information, visit hsppr.org.