OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX)- "I fell in love with him when I first saw him," said Stephanie Douglas about her new kitten. "His name is going to be Sammy."
Sammy is one of 13 animals who just found a brand new life. They got new homes just in time for the holidays at Jackson County Animal Shelter's pet adoption drive, at PJ's Paws and Claws, in Ocean Springs. They also had a chance to get their pictures taken with Santa.
"I wanted a Christmas cat, so this is exactly what I was looking for," said Douglas about her new kitten.
Before Douglas adopted Sammy, he was part of the growing population of homeless animals in Mississippi. The problem has been escalating since Katrina.
"Alot of these animals that were loose. They are having puppies and kittens, and they are running loose. And it just keeps going on and on and on," said Gulf Coast SPCA Director Barbara McKenzie.
The Gulf Coast SPCA sponsored the event. One way to help is to adopt a pet from a shelter. It doesn't cost much up front to adopt, and pet owners receive alot of benefits in return.
"They get companionship. They've proven that pets enrich your life and help you live a longer life and lower your blood pressure," McKenzie said. "They are just excellent companions, and I can't imagine a home without a pet."
There's still time to adopt a pet before Christmas, but adopting should not be a snap decision. There's more to it than some people think.
"Once they take it, they need to realize it is a commitment," said McKenzie.
"The initial cost is nothing compared to what you're going to shell out taking care of it, its whole life," said Dr. Kathryn Hudson, the animal shelter veterinarian. "It's just important to ask people in advance if they really want an animal before you just spring it on them."
When the right pet finds the right person, the extra effort doesn't matter.
"It's so worth it," said Douglas. "They just return so much love."