EDITORIAL: IF YOU want to do something good in 2016 and improve your own life in the process, adopting a pet could be the best New Year's resolution you ever make.
The RSPCA is now caring for the highest number of cats and dogs in a decade, and the situation will likely get worse in the New Year.
Pounds and animal shelters receive an influx of abandoned animals after Christmas as owners change their mind on pets bought as Christmas presents.
If you've ever thought about buying a pet, why not adopt?
You'll save a life, you won't support puppy mills and backyard breeders, and it will probably save you house-training a new pup.
Now is the perfect time to give an animal a new home, with plenty of time over the school holiday period to bond with your newest family member.
My family adopted a dog in May 2014.
We'd been watching the local animal rescue sites for months when we came across a one-year-old female fox terrier.
She had been born for breeding purposes, but the owners soon discovered her bladder was leaking into her uterus, rendering her infertile.
They dumped her at the pound.
Just before she was due to be euthanised, a local rescue organisation took her in and paid over $1000 for her surgery.
She spent the next few months in foster care with a beautifully eccentric woman named Catherine before we found her picture online and made the decision to adopt.
We named her Ivy, after the similarly foxy villain Poison Ivy.
She now also answers to "darling", "little miss" and "bunny" (the latter owing to her love of leaping).
There were some problems to start, of course. She was an untrained yearling, hyperactive after her time cooped up in the pound and running around with the other foster dogs in Catherine's yard. For months we opened our front door with great caution, blocking her escape with our legs.
But from the outset, it's been easy to see her love for everyone in the family.
Her personality can evoke a smile any day of the week, and she's the first to greet anyone at the door.
As much as we love her, the greatest feeling is knowing we gave her a home.