It's about that time, isn't it?

That time of year when we our minds make a direct B-line to Christmas; there's just so much to do. That includes brainstorming about what to get people for gifts.

One of the most popular presents people give their families every year is the gift of a new addition to the household. No, we're not referring to a new baby. Well, not a human one, at least. We all love watching the Christmas morning unboxing videos of children opening up that last gift from Santa to find the most adorable puppy or kitten staring back at them. The squeals of excitement hit us all right in the heart.

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Bringing home a pet for Christmas isn't necessarily a bad idea if (keyword there) you're prepared for the responsibility.

A viral meme is currently making the rounds on social media that speaks to the truth of what it means to adopt a pet around the holidays. A new puppy is always fun and exciting. Not to mention, they make for some really great videos. However, a puppy isn't a gift that you can just stick on the shelf and forget about when the holiday excitement wears off.

A pet is a decade plus responsibility.

Shelters do their best to spread that truth leading up to the big day, but a few months later, it always seems as though so many of those animals wind up filling the cages once they're not cute and fun-sized anymore. That's not fair to them.

Which brings us to this sobering fact: it's not that animal's fault that you weren't prepared for their arrival and permanent position within your care. An animal is a responsibility. It's a commitment. Their survival and quality of life is completely in your hands.

If you're considering getting your family a pet this holiday season, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Remember, you're adding a family member, not a temporary cuddle buddy.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

If you are prepared for what it takes to take on a new pup, here are the 20 most popular dog breeds to own in NJ right now:

Gallery Credit: Jimmy G

Take note of some of the best South Jersey dog parks for you and you fur baby:

Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca

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