Visitors to Edwards Antiques in Benton know that the first greeting they always would get upon entering the store was from Macy, perched on the counter in her plush bed and wearing one of her signature jeweled collars.
"She's not a dog," owner Kevin Edwards said. "She's my family."
When Macy became ill a few weeks ago, Edwards rushed her to the vet, and then even got a second opinion.
The news was not good.
"Macy has cancer," Edwards said. "They said there's nothing they can do."
And on Tuesday night, Macy died.
Edwards counted himself among those who pamper their "furbabies," treating Macy like family and making that commitment for her lifetime.
However, Christin King, one of the managers of St. Francis CARE Animal Shelter in Murphysboro, knows many pets are not so lucky.
"We see a jump in pets being dropped off this time of year," said King, adding her facility already has fielded calls from people wanting to relinquish pets they bought or received for Christmas.
"There's a lot of reasons," she said, including no time to care for pets or the pets not housebroken. "We got a call from a mother who got a puppy for Christmas. She told us she has a newborn and no time for the puppy," King said.
King said that unfortunately, "it's definitely a very common thing this time of year."
She said people need to "think it through" before adding a new family member to your home.
"Pets are not disposable," she said. "They are a lifetime commitment, and it takes time and patience to train them."
King hopes those who have signed on for a new pet will try to exhaust every resource before returning their pet to a shelter.
At any given time, King said, St. Francis houses about 150 pets waiting for a forever home.
"We have our next Petco adoption evening Jan. 20," she said.
She also advocates for pets to be spayed and neutered.
Even with the pain of losing Macy, Edwards said he wouldn't change a thing.
"She was family," he said.