Here’s a great New Year’s resolution: get a pet.

As we wrap up a very inflationary 2023, pet shelters across the country are at maximum capacity and they don’t have room to house the pets people are turning in.

ABC News reports that animals entering shelters began to climb in 2021.

During the covid pandemic, you see, many people adopted pets, but as they began to go back to the workplace, some decided they no longer wanted to care for a pet, so they turned them back in.

The past year was significantly worse for pets because adoptions are falling far short of the increase in sheltered pets.

“Shelter Animals Count, a national database of shelter statistics, estimates that the U.S. shelter population grew by nearly a quarter-million animals in 2023,” reports ABC News.

Why?

Because the weak economy and high inflation have made it more costly to care for a pet, in particular large dogs and pets who are in need of costly medical care.

If you’ve not been to a veterinarian recently, you’d be surprised how much many of them charge — which is a good reason to get pet insurance, which I have for my 3-year-old Labrador, Thurber.

My puppy is very healthy and I feed him the best food I can get for him, but when he had a few minor seizures last year, I learned, after taking him to a dog neurologist, that he has epilepsy.

Just the initial examinations cost me about $800. Had he needed an MRI, that could have been in the $5,000 range. Thankfully, pet insurance, which only costs $65 a month, covers about 90% of these costs.

I will pay any amount to get Thurber the care he needs, but fewer people are able to do this now as inflation has done significant damage to their finances and more people are downsizing or losing their homes, reports ABC News.

As a result, dog shelters are forced to house dogs in their offices or with foster volunteers. In some cases, they are being forced to euthanize some of the pets.

There is a win-win solution, however: adopt a pet or more than one.

Adopting a pet will help your local pet shelter get its population down to a manageable number, but you will be the one who benefits the most.

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that Americans are suffering a loneliness epidemic — and one way to ease loneliness is to invite a wonderful ball of fur into your house that will make you laugh out loud, in my case, at least five times a day.

Many Americans are struggling with mental health issues, such as depression — and PsychCentral reports that getting a pet is one of the best ways to relieve depression, as it is hard to not feel joy when your dog snuggles next to you on the couch.

Inviting a pet into your home is a big responsibility and your pet will demand your time and money, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Even when the costs include Thurber’s favorite treat, a peanut-butter filled bone that costs $7 and that I give him about 4 or 5 days every week.

Yup, I’ve spent over $5,000 on these treats the past three years, but what can I say. I love my dog!

You will, too.

Contact your nearest animal shelter and bring a bundle of furry joy home in the New Year!

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Copyright 2023 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Purcell, creator of the infotainment site ThurbersTail.com, which features pet advice he’s learning from his beloved Labrador, Thurber, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. Email him at [email protected].