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 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 poor dog.
There is nothing more heart-breaking than seeing so many beautiful dogs turn up at rescue centers, which were basically unwanted gifts.
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 older dog that is already house 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 most likely 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 really well.
We have always chosen our own dogs and I think that’s really important, because you know which is the right dog for you when you meet them – there’s an unmistakable mutual bond. And don’t forget, the present may be for an individual, but there are other people in the household that will need to get on with the new furry family member too.
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.
Bringing a new animal home and settling them into a normal routine takes a huge amount of preparation, perseverance and patience, so the hurly burly of the holiday period may not be the best time for either the gift recipient or the dog.
#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 and, again, you may not know their other family members so well. 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!
Similarly, internet shopping allows anybody to buy a pup at the click of a button! This just fuels the already huge problem of illegal breeders and puppy mills (who also supply pet stores) – they just see the poor dogs as breeding machines and to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. Please, DO NOT purchase any pet through these channels – this more often than not turns out to be a very expensive mistake.
We simply ask that you really think seriously about where you buy ANY pet and we always encourage people to consider adopting a rescue animal first, where the rescue center will know more about the history, character, health and training needs of the animal.
There are already so many unwanted animals in rescue centers across the country and sadly the situation only gets worse around Christmas time, when people give up unwanted pets given as presents.
If you follow the guide principles above, you will not only give someone a great gift but for a homeless pet, a loving and dedicated family is the greatest gift of all.
Wishing you and your canine companions that best of health – always!
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team
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