Giving the Gift of ‘Puppy’

photo credit: Christmas Tree via photopin (license)
photo credit: Christmas Tree via photopin (license)

With the giving season fast approaching, too many puppies (or kittens) will be wearing bows attached with ‘From Santa’ tags.  The gift of a cuddly puppy under the tree come Christmas morning is all any little child dreams of, I was among those growing up.  Now that I’m older I see why this wish was never granted, and totally agree a living creature shouldn’t be given as a gift during any season.

More often than not, the idea of a puppy for Christmas is a half baked idea, a last minute attempt at completing a wish list.  Very little thought will go into choosing the proper breed and the maintenance as long as it’s cute.  The lack of research, and the effort to just be done with the hectic shopping, will end up biting (no pun intended) them in the tush.

What happens after the holiday season?
What happens when real life sets in and that puppy needs house training?
What happens as that puppy grows and the buyer didn’t realize how large the puppy would actually get?

This fuzzy, barking gift is often given to an unexpecting recipient, whether child or adult, making it a huge surprise to the receiver of this living creature.  Now this person is presented with this being that is fully dependent on them for life, the recipient might truly not be ready for the commitment.

This can be the same when giving a child the number 1 thing on their wishlist as well.  The child might not realize how hard a puppy can be to raise, especially if the proper breed wasn’t chosen.  Are the parents willing to step in and take over feeding, walking, training when the novelty of this gift wears off in a month or two?  Very seldom is the long term thought of when the quick decision was made to give a gift of puppy for Christmas (or birthday, or just because).

photo credit: An opportunity of revitalisation via photopin (license)
photo credit: An opportunity of revitalisation via photopin (license)

I’ve also seen people who ‘trade’ their old dog for a newer model.  Old dogs are dumped in kill shelters to make room and time for the newest Christmas puppy.  That in itself is just wrong, and what message is that sending to impressionable children?

I used to work in a retail pet store that offered training classes, I remember the months following Christmas were called ‘puppy season’.  It was the season when everyone is rushing in for puppy items and some responsible owners would sign up for training class, trying to do right by the puppies.  Sadly, sometimes a puppy is just too overwhelming, especially if wrong breed is chosen for the lifestyle, and these throw away puppies are tossed to the curb because the shininess wears off when it wets the carpet.  They end up in local shelters, some with behavior problems because they weren’t properly socialized or trained.

Rethink the gift of a puppy for Christmas and instead make it a family decision, or let the recipient be an active part in choosing their new companion because in the end it’s the puppy who suffers.

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