NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Many people might be asking for a pet for Christmas, but shelter directors are warning you to know what you’re signing up for before you buy.

The Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center currently has 81 dogs and 57 cats. Director Tommy Bell expects that number to rise as people return their pets after the holidays.

“Really the Christmas and the holiday seasons are the worst times. you’re home, yes you are. you’re on vacation. but the first of the year reality is going to set in. we have to go back to our normal life. this is a lifetime commitment just like basically with your child,” said Tommy Bell/ Director, Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center.

Bell says if you adopt a pet during the holidays start setting a routine with it that way when you go back to work the animal won’t have to adjust too much.