On the First Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me a Puppy in a red coat

It’s that time of the year… when people get into a frenzy huh spirit of Christmas with shopping for gifts for their loved ones and themselves. On the lists of many children is of course a puppy! Puppies and kittens are cute and fluffy and who can deny their sweet soulful eyes and awkward fumbling ways. Are you in the market for a new dog this Christmas? 

Dog in Santa Hat

As an advocate of pet adoption, I would say that I am naturally against purchasing animals to begin with. If you have to buy, at least research the breed to make sure it’s a good fit.  And look at different breeders and buy only from a responsible breeder (who have their own criteria for who they will sell to and who only breed healthy well-tempered adults).

And if breeders (who love dogs) reject your application, then perhaps look at another breed or take into consideration why the breeder believes it’s not a good fit and re-think or postpone getting a dog.

Pet shops (who see dogs as $) don’t ask you to consider any of the questions that are really important when getting a pet!

Buying a pet as a Christmas present? As any present? For kids, as a surprise, as a romantic gesture? Ooohhh…can work but so often it turns out to be not such a good idea, the morning after, the week or month after when you, the parent, end up doing all new dog-related chores, including picking up steaming piles of puppy poop during the oh-so-fun toilet training part of puppyhood. This is not to say that toilet training is horrific. It’s not but it requires consistency and time, which is not always easy or possible, especially in a busy household full of kids and schedules.

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs and cats and I myself believe that every child should grow up with a pet. But there is a better time to add a new member to your family. Christmas and any busy or unusual time (even the summer when people have more and non-routine time) is not ideal. Not having enough time and attention to welcoming, training and integrating your new pet into your home and life usually exacerbates potential issues that may come up. Things can spiral out of control pretty quick.  Having a consistent schedule and setting expectations from the start help a pet become a welcomed and beloved member of a family.

A dog lives for more than ten years. The oldest dog passed away just recently at the age of 26. This is a HUGE commitment. It’s like having another child, who never goes away for college and one you still need to walk every day, groom, and arrange for sitting if you go away. 26 years.

I love having our two dogs and I wouldn’t trade what we have at all. We took a LONG time to decide on adopting both.  It was not a decision we took lightly as we both had demanding work schedules when we first got Blackspot.  We were living overseas so we couldn’t just sweet talk our parents into helping out for the nights we couldn’t make it home because of a last minute meeting or when we felt too hung-over from a good night out to get up to walk them. But we still roll out of bed, negotiating with them for a slightly later start.  

For anyone thinking of getting a dog for their child, please do consider it as getting a dog for yourself. If you don’t have the time, energy or inclination, it’s really not the best family decision. The one most likely to suffer will be the dog. And if you love or even like dogs, it’s not really a fate you would wish upon them – being fussed over and being the centre of attention to being discarded as a toy a child tires of and neglected. It’s very sad for the dog.

What about a lower-maintenance pet to start with? Like a hamster? There are some great toys now that allow hamsters to roam free in the apartment inside their own very safe bubble! 

If you are becoming a multi-dog household, here’s an article that’s pretty good by Victoria Stilwell – Pets Add Life

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