A dog is for life, not just Christmas!
The 5 things you need to consider.
1. Why is a Christmas pet a mistake?
First, because no animal should be a surprise. The arrival of a dog changes the dynamics of a household considerably. Someone must take responsibility for their daily needs - feeding, exercise, health care and grooming. The decision should be considered, talked about and negotiated. A new dog, not necessarily a puppy, either, should be the result of a process, not an impulse.
2. Pets should not be surprises
Surprising a loved one with a puppy or kitten on Christmas morning is a romantic but usually misguided idea.
Yes, the recipient may be extremely excited and happy with a new puppy or kitten, but unless the ‘surprise’ has been well researched and thoroughly planned for, it can be a risky thing to do. It’s hard to resist a warm, furry little bundle under the tree on Christmas morning, but unless the new pet parent is wholly committed to the idea of raising a puppy or kitten, the bloom can come off the rose in a hurry.
3. A pet for a child shouldn’t be viewed as a new toy
Children should not be encouraged to think of a new pet as just another toy under the Christmas tree. It’s a clever idea to separate the idea of presents and toys from the realities and responsibilities of pet ownership. A living creature shouldn’t be considered the same kind of ‘wow’ Christmas gift as, say, a new bike or the latest Xbox console.
Caring for a dog or cat is a big responsibility and far different from getting a new toy that is taken out, played with, and put away again. It’s important to impress upon a child the difference between their belongings and their pet, from the very first minute a new dog or cat enters their life.
Even if your child is pleading for a pet and you think they are old enough to take on the responsibility, I recommend you keep the ‘pet project’ separate from the holiday festivities.
A dog is for life, not just for Christmas- not for the short term, not for the wow-factor, and most certainly, not as a toy.
4. Pet stores, backyard breeders, puppy mills
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, certain disreputable individuals and businesses are bursting at the seams with all the latest popular puppy models. Most of these babies are shipped in from puppy mills. Some are healthy, but many are not. All are bred and born in inhumane, often filthy conditions. Are you really prepared to pay huge vet bills for the rest of the pet’s life?
Every time a dog is purchased from an irresponsible breeder or mill operator, it is an incentive for those businesses to stay up and running. So, while you may give a puppy mill baby a lovely home for Christmas, her mother remains back at the mill, having litter after litter until she’s too sick or old to reproduce - at which point she’s disposed of.
5. Opt for a rescue pet, you will save a life
Sadly, many Christmas dogs do still end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters in the early part of the New Year.
If you and your family really want a dog, choose it carefully, and take your time. Get one from an experienced rescue group, or an established animal shelter. Ask lots of questions about the dog; expect the staff to ask you a lot, too. If they don’t, be wary and don’t worry if the dog comes to you in April instead of on Christmas morning it will be just as adorable without the tree and the bow.
With thanks to SNIFF. Contact us today to find out how you can adopt a pet. email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/SNIFF.MiddleEast