Who doesn’t love a puppy? A puppy is cute, sweet, boundless energy. Puppies are cuddly. And, really, there is nothing in the world quite as sweet and wonderful as puppy breath. I’m a dog person. I’ve had my Winston the Wonder Chihuahua for seven years now, and I still thank my husband for giving him to me.
But you know what else a puppy is?
A puppy is a living creature.
That means that a puppy requires care and training. You don’t just get a puppy and let it become a free-range thing to fend for itself. A puppy needs to be fed and watered. A puppy needs vaccinations. A puppy needs to be cleaned up after and to be taught that shoes are not appropriate chew toys. They are work. Not to mention, they grow up and don’t stay puppies forever.
A puppy is a commitment.
When a family brings home a puppy, that family is making a commitment. They are saying “We will love you and care for you for your entire life.” That means that when you move, the dog comes with you. When you go on holidays, you either make arrangements for the dog to be cared for by someone in your absence (either a kennel, a pet sitter, or trusted family friend) or you bring the dog with you. When the dog is sick, you take care of him and get medical treatment as required.
And, of course, you give the dog endless amounts of love and receive love in return.
A puppy is NOT a Christmas gift.
As much as I adore puppies, you’d think that means that I think it’s a great idea to give a puppy for a gift, right?
If a family is considering getting a puppy and the ready time coincides with Christmas, great. But a “surprise Christmas puppy”? Or a puppy because that’s what the kids are begging for this year for Christmas? That’s a very, very bad idea. That’s making the commitment for someone else to be good people for that dog. You might have the best of intentions, and those kids might be the happiest children ever on Christmas morning… but when the reality sets in of eaten toys and walks even on snow days, that gift may seem more like a burden. Too many of those “burdens” are dropped off at the animal shelter a few months later.
Some of those “burdens” never make it out and are euthanized because there is no home for them.
At best, I’d say it’s not fair to those poor “burdens” who started out in a home full of promise. At worst, I’d say it’s immoral and needlessly cruel.
If your kids want a puppy for Christmas, don’t do it. Remember that a puppy is a forever commitment that they (or you) may not be ready for.
Image credits: imagerymajestic