Are you looking forward to the Christmas holidays? Some puppies and full grown dogs won’t be. Why? Because they will end up as gifts in the festive season and it will not end well for them. You might be wondering why this would be the case – surely a gorgeous puppy would make the ideal Christmas gift?
There is an old saying – “A dog is for life and not just for Christmas”. While it is true to say that a lot of dogs that are given as gifts (not just Christmas time but for birthdays and other occasions) are treated well and are loved by their owners, it is not always the case. What seems like a good idea can turn into a disaster for the dog.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing so many beautiful dogs turn up at dog rescue centers, which were basically unwanted gifts. One particular story sticks in my mind, about an older lady given a bulldog puppy for a gift by her family. She loved animals and really wanted a small dog. Unfortunately, the bulldog was really hard work for her, as she is not in the best of health and the tiny puppy grew bigger and bigger!
The boisterous bulldog literally dragged her up the street when it was time for walks. She had difficulty catching her breath because the dog was so strong and pulled her so fiercely. Sadly, it proved just too much for her, so she ended up bringing it to a dog shelter. Who gives a bulldog as a gift to an old lady that can hardly walk? What were they thinking?!
A Dog is a Life Commitment
Before you even think about giving a puppy to a person as a gift, you need to know if they will be committed to loving and taking care of the dog for the next 15 to 20 years. A dog needs a lot of special attention, especially in the early training period, and of course plenty of exercise. Is the new owner going to be the right kind of person for this? Does their lifestyle suit having a puppy or would they be better with an olderdog that is already house/crate trained and has mastered basic commands such as sit, stay and down?
The last thing that you want to do is to give a dog as a Christmas gift to someone (or a family) that doesn’t want it. Not all people have the same loving and caring attitude towards dogs that we do. Yes the kid will be delighted with the new puppy, but will the mom and dad?
So, if you are thinking about giving a dog as a Christmas gift, we suggest that you take these 4 key factors into consideration:
#1. Make sure that it is not a Surprise
There is nothing wrong with giving a dog as a gift if they go to the right people. A puppy can literally light up a person’s life, and they can be delighted to receive one. But not everybody is going to feel that way, so you need to find out first.
But what about the surprise element? Look the welfare of the dog is far more important than a surprise package – any welcome recipient will get even more joy from the first walk or snuggle they have with their new furry friend.
But, if you really don’t want to ask the intended recipient if they would like a dog as a gift first, give them something else to unwrap on the actual day. Maybe a photo of the proposed pooch in a picture frame with an ‘I Owe You’ note written on the back. Or give them a box of doggie essentials, such as food and water bowls, a leash, toys or a dog blanket.
The recipient then has the opportunity to meet the dog first and ensure they are a good match for each other or select a more suitable canine companion. This is definitely best for both the receiver and the dog in the long run.
#2. Be Prepared for Anything – Pay the Adoption fees
OK, so you have asked the recipient if they want a dog for Christmas and they tell you that they do. The thing is that you can never be 100% sure even if you know the person well.
So, it is a good idea for you to pay the adoption fees to the shelter first. If the recipient changes their mind (it happens) then there is no harm done and you have made a great donation to the shelter.
#3. Only give Dogs as Gifts to Family
You might not agree with this point as you may have friends that go back many years. The trouble is that even those friends that you grew up with will sometimes find it tough to say no to you. This can be a disaster for a dog, so just stick to giving a dog to your immediate family.
#4. Avoid Acting on Impulse
It can be very hard to walk past someone that has a box of cute puppies for sale. You start thinking about who would love one of these puppies for Christmas, and before you know it you buy one. Avoid this at all costs as you will miss out on choosing the dog that you believe is perfect for your recipient.
Wishing you and your canine companions that best of health – always!