Well, seeing as Christmas is 2 days away, it might be a little late for these words of advice, but I felt the need to share this anyway.
So, your kid, your significant other, your parent, whoever, has said they want a dog/cat for Christmas. You think, that's fine, we can adopt one from the shelter. So you wait, because you can only hide a living present for so long.
But, there's a hitch. This year 2 days before Christmas is a Wednesday, and our local shelters are not open on Wednesday's. The one in the next county was open today, but they closed at 2 (and they were not advertising this anywhere, you had to call to find out). Both local shelters are closed tomorrow (Christmas Eve). So, the only place you're going to find that "perfect" pet for your loved one (or yourself) before Christmas is either a pet store or in the newspaper. Good luck. (or maybe I should say, better luck next year...)