On Christmas, many children and families were gifted a furry new addition to the household, and one might think a four-legged friend would be the perfect present -- but for some, it's not.

"After they have it for a while they realize that maybe they weren't quite ready for a puppy or a kitten, and maybe came back for a mature dog or cat," said Sharon Ray, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Humane Society.

Returning animals that were meant as gifts happen, but not as much as people think.

"We have not received any higher rate of returns after Christmas than any other time of the year," Ray said.

In fact, out of every animal that is adopted from the Humane Society, only seven-percent are returned year round.

"If they are with the military base here in town or they are moving into an apartment with breed specifics, and they are not allowed to take their dog with them," Ray said.

Humane Society policy is if a dog or cat is not working out at home, you can exchange it.

"Either exchange that for a dog that might better fit your family or a cat that might better fit your family," Ray said.

The holidays are a perfect time to see if your adopted pet is the right fit.

"That's when people usually take a vacation, so it's a good time to bring an animal in the house to have the opportunity to set your schedule and kind of think about what it's going to be like when you're back to work," Ray said.

Overall, you should do your research. The Gulf Coast Humane Society has a guide to adopting a pet responsibly if you are considering bringing a furry companion home any time of the year.

"Think it through and be wise in the decision you make," Ray said.

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