NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — There aren’t many Christmas presents cuter than a puppy or a kitten, but once the cuteness and excitement wears off, some end up right back in the shelter.

Debbie Howell with the Humane Society said the beginning of the year is really sad, since it’s when the most puppies are returned.

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“What we see is an uptick in returns of puppies after the holiday season,” Howell said.

Many don’t realize that adorable gift idea also comes packaged with a lot of responsibility.

“When you commit to a puppy thats about a 15 year commitment, and it’s like you’ve adopted a baby. You have to be patient, patient, patient,” she said.

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Howell said it’s important to know what you’re getting into before adopting a shelter pet… A new dog or cat comes with a history.

“When you adopt an animal from the shelter, you don’t have all the background,” she said. “We don’t even have all the background, and they’ve been in the shelter for a while. They need time to destress and get used to a new environment.”

But don’t let the idea of commitment scare you off from adopting a pet, because giving an animal in need a forever home is a wonderful gift.

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“Pledge to this animal that you’re going to do right and give them a chance. Don’t give up too soon,” Howell said.