Christmas is a time for giving, and you may be thinking, “What better gift than the gift of love, in the form of an adorable puppy?” And, while you’d be perfectly right, Christmas is NOT the time to introduce a new puppy (or any pet) into a household. A puppy is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving, but that goes both ways — remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas!
Do some research first. Does the intended recipient really WANT a dog? If it’s a child, make sure its parents do, because they will be the ones responsible for its care. Do they have the time and inclination to give him the attention he needs and deserves? Can they handle the messes, the shedding and the vet bills? Will they love him, feed him, groom him, exercise him, train him, keep him safe and cherish him until death do them part?
Even if everything is cool, don’t be tempted to arrive on Christmas morning, complete with puppy wearing a shiny red bow. It’s not fair to the recipients, and most specially, not fair to the puppy. Instead, make up a box with things like food dishes, collar and leash and some toys and treats. You could include a plush toy that’s the same breed, or a picture of the new puppy as well. Wrap this up and present it on Christmas morning. Then, a few days later, when all the excitement has died down, the puppy can come home.
SPCAs across the country report a huge influx of unwanted pets a few months after Christmas, when the novelty has worn off and reality set in. Many end up as sad statistics, so do make sure your gift will be a welcome one that will be treasured, not trashed.
by Alix Fuller