It would seem that the Holiday season has once again snuck up on us. I was doing some research on how a dogs behavior is affected by this time of year, I also looked into harmful plants such as mistletoe, and I was sure that is what this article was going to be about, until a few days ago when I overheard someone say he was going to give his girlfriend a puppy for Christmas. This has been bouncing around in my head for a few days. I have been wondering how many puppies are given as gifts and then subsequently given up a few months later because the responsibility was too much, or the person who got the puppy found they did not have the time to care for a puppy. How many of these dogs end up at places like the SPCA? So I thought it only fitting that I put in my two cents and write this article.
I must admit, I did give my daughter a puppy for Christmas once, and that dog was one of the most wonderful dogs I ever owned. He was a golden retriever and my daughter named him Louie. Before I gave her Louie, I knew what I was in for, I knew that I would be the one that was going to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility that comes with a new dog. There is nothing wrong with bringing a new dog into the family if you know and are ready for all the things that come with dog ownership. If, however, you are planning on getting a puppy for someone who you do not live with, you may want to think twice. You should be sure they are ready for all the trials and tribulations that will most certainly lie ahead. If you are unsure you need to make sure. Sure it will ruin the surprise, but better to ruin the surprise than giving up a dog a few months later.
If you are going to give a dog as a gift, it should not be to someone who is unsuspecting. Rather, if someone has been talking about getting a dog, or has been flat out asking for a puppy, you may want to ask yourself a few questions before going ahead and purchasing a new puppy. 1) Does the person I am getting the puppy for, in fact want a new puppy now? Or are they still trying to make up their mind. If they are still trying to make up their mind or are unsure in any way, it would be better to err on the side of caution and wait, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. Christmas is not the only time of gift giving. 2) What kind of puppy will suit the person? Does the person have a lot of room for a dog to run? Or are they in an apartment with very limited space? If the person does not have the space for a dog that needs a lot of exercise, and that is most dogs. Do the research and find out what dog would be best suited for the living situation of whoever you are buying the dog for. 3) Does the person for whom you are buying the puppy have enough time to devote to the training and the well being of the puppy? If someone wants a puppy but works 80 hours a week, it may not be a very good idea for them to have a puppy, as they will just not have the time to spend with the dog. Dogs need our time, attention, caring, and many other things. In short, dogs depend on their owners a great deal. The person who wants to have a dog should know what they are getting into.
If you really want to get someone a puppy for Christmas, the best way to do it, in my opinion of course, would be to find a way to have the person come along and pick out their own dog. Getting a dog is a very personal thing, and not all dogs are suited to all people. If you give someone a card that reads, ONE PUPPY, and then you can take them where they would like to go and get the dog they would like to get. If the person does not really want a dog, no harm done, they just need to say so. Might I suggest being prepared with a back up gift just in case the puppy idea does not work out.
Getting someone a puppy might seem like a great idea, and when the gift is first received it may look like you did a great thing. After all who can not love a new puppy, they are designed for us to fall in love with them. In the end, however, it may be more of a tragedy. Giving up a puppy is a very hard thing to do, but it happens every year. So think twice before getting someone a puppy. Instead take them on a trip to your local dog shelter or SPCA and rescue a dog that might not otherwise have a home, or someone to look after them and keep them healthy and happy.