Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control's shelter gets busy this time of year with folks looking to adopt the perfect pet for someone on their list.  Community Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Harfmann tells us you shouldn't do this on a whim.

"Bringing home a cute puppy or kitten seems like the ideal gift...and while it can be a great addition to the family, we ask people to kind of stop and really think about it, to make sure that's going to be the right decision."

There are some things you can do to ensure you don't make a mistake and wind up with an unwanted dog or cat:

1) Surprise that person with animal supplies, then bring them to the shelter on Belvedere road, west of the Turnpike, and have them pick out the animal.

2) Buy a gift certificate for a pet, but keep in mind that they are not refundable.  However, Elizabeth says there is no expiration date.  

3) You may also want to consider fostering a pet for a little while.

"You tell us what you're willing to foster and we'll let you know what we currently have that needs to go out to foster care and we'll get you set up with everything you're gonna need."

Elizabeth says Animal Care and Control will pay for the pet's food, medicines and other items while you are fostering, but you can choose to adopt that dog or cat upon the end of the foster program.

Click Here for an application to become a pet foster family.  You can get to more information on adoption from that link.

Photo: Getty Images