The Humane Society of Central Texas is hosting a free adoption event this Saturday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it’s just in time for Christmas.

“Home for the Holidays” is an annual event aimed at getting adoptable dogs and cats into homes right before one of the biggest holidays of the year.

“We are so excited,” says Della Conner, the associate executive director of the Humane Society of Central Texas. “This is our big push to get these pets home for the holidays, get them into a warm home and welcomed into a new family.”

They also say to be cautious, since giving pets as gifts for Christmas is risky, no matter how wonderful the thought may seem.

“We don’t want to go out and adopt animals out just as Christmas presents because, especially adults, they may not be happy with the choice of the dog or cat and return them after the Christmas holiday,” says Daniela Ranzinger, the adoption coordinator at the Humane Society. “I would advise against it.”

“It’s so important for a human to have a bond and a connection with a pet,” says Conner, “So to receive one unexpectedly, it’s probably not going to happen as it would have had the person planned it or been expecting it.”

The truth is, many who work closely with these animals every day say it’s hard to witness them come back after being returned to the shelter, something they hope to avoid this Christmas season.

“Whenever I see an animal being brought in by either a private person or animal control, I feel sadness,” Ranzinger says. “I feel sadness because the animals don’t deserve that. It’s not their fault.”

If your heart is absolutely set on giving the gift of a pet this year, the Humane Society of Central Texas is selling gift certificates, which will allow that special bond to be created before the official adoption takes place.