The holidays are a popular time to add a pet to your family. It’s also a great opportunity to give a shelter pet a second chance at a new life. Take Roscoe. The little male Chihuahua at Castaic Animal Care Center is a senior with a lot of pep in his step and love to give, according to volunteer Clare Storey. “Roscoe’s such a sweetheart. He likes other little dogs but his favorite thing is snuggling with people,” she said. “All of Roscoe’s kennel mates have been adopted but he is still waiting. Roscoe deserves a great home for the holidays most of all.” If cats are more your style, one year old Bella is a fabulous feline to consider “She’s petite, sweet, young, and very pretty,” Storey said. “All Bella wants is to love you. She’s so affectionate and gets along with other cats, too.” Throughout the month of December, dogs are just $85 to $125 to adopt at Castaic Animal Care Center, while cats are free, thanks to a special grant from the ASPCA. Adoption isn’t just the most humane option. It’s cost-effective, too. “An advantage of adopting pets from one of our animal care centers is that you can be confident the pet will be up to date on its vaccinations, spayed or neutered and microchipped at the time of their adoption.,” said Christoper Kim, public information officer for County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. Dogs and cats at shelters end up there for no fault of their own, Kim noted, with reasons ranging from being left behind when an owner has run into some type of life tragedy or even passes away. However, having that home experience brings many benefits to new adopters, especially when it comes to adult or seniors. “Most senior pets have already been housebroken and have been socialized to life with humans and other animals,” Kim said. “Older dogs are more attentive than puppies and can focus better on tasks. It is also easier to find a senior pet that meets your lifestyle based on its history whether it’s be able to live with other pets, children, or other adults.” Whether you’re interested in adopting a dog or cat, Kim suggested discussing it with your family first. “Caring for a pet takes a lot of responsibility. Take into consideration all the costs of owning a pet, as well as the time and training requirements,” he said. Once committed to adopting, it’s ideal to bring the entire family, as well as carrier for a cat or a leash for a dog to the center. Staff and volunteers are available to help ensure a successful match. “They will be able to assist you with any questions about temperament, health history, and provide a chance for you to personally meet and interact with a pet you might be interested in adopting,” Kim said. “It is important to match the needs the pet will have to the ability and interest of the family to meet those needs.” Zena, for example, is a sweet one year old pit bull terrier mix that would love to find an active family that will provide her with lots of exercise, love, and time to acclimate, as she can be kind of shy at first. Nemo, on the other hand, is a seven year old cat who’s more of a couch potato type that appreciates sunning himself on a window ledge or snuggling by your side. Whatever the species, shelter pets tend to have one common trait: the ability to bond with their new families. “Some adopters tell us they believe these pets are so grateful that they become the most loyal pets of all,” Kim said. The Castaic Animal Care Center is located at 31044 Charlie Canyon Road, Castaic. The center is open Monday to Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adoptable pets can also be previewed online at animalcare.lacounty.gov. For more information, call (661) 257-3191.