The fantasy of surprising
your loved one with an adorable puppy under the tree on Christmas
morning may seem like the perfect gift....but is it really? Humane
societies, shelter workers, veterinarians, the American Kennel Club,
reputable breeders and rescue groups across the country resoundingly
Animals should never be
given as gifts at any time of the year and the holidays are, in fact,
the worst time to bring a dog of any age into your home and your life.
New puppies and dogs
require extra attention and a stable environment which the holiday
season does not permit. Caring for the puppy's round-the-clock
feeding and housetraining needs as well as finding time to comfort and
reassure an insecure pup amidst the holiday chaos is an impossible
Just think about a few of
the potentially hazardous and no-win scenarios to which you will be
subjecting a young Christmas puppy:
Household will not be in
any routine which means the pup will not establish a routine for
housetraining -- a situation that will add extra time to the overall
housetraining process and unnecessary stress for you and your dog.
Also, remember that winter weather generally does not provide the
optimum conditions for housetraining.
Holiday activities will
impair your ability to adequately supervise the interaction of the
new puppy and your children -- the risk of a sick, frightened,
injured or confused pup biting your child is very high.
Puppies given as gifts are
usually impulse purchases from pet stores because reputable breeders
do not sell puppies during the holiday season. A dog is not a toy
that can be returned or discarded. And the result of making the wrong
choice when selecting a living being as a gift is tragic. Ask any
shelter worker or rescue volunteer about the influx of ill, untrained
and unwanted dogs in the holiday aftermath.
No matter how much you
think your loved one would enjoy this "surprise", you should never
presume to make this decision for another person. Getting a pet is a
lifelong commitment. Given that many breeds can live well into their
teen years, this is a major decision requiring emotional stability and
financial responsibility -- it is a decision that can not be taken
This is an important
decision that needs to involve the entire family and can not be made
in a hurry. It takes time to research the appropriate breed, choose a
reputable breeder and select the perfect pup. The wait will be well
worth it! No one should ever be denied the joy of selecting his or
her own dog.
We highly recommend you
place a "Puppy Gift Package" instead of a live pup under the
Christmas tree. This is a fun gift to create and a fun gift to
receive. This gift package can consist of a wide variety of items
such as a crate, a gift certificate entitling the recipient to the
"dog of your choice", a stuffed dog complete with a big red bow, gift
certificates for the first veterinary check-up and puppy socialization
classes, dog toys, bowls, leash, collar, brush, comb, books about dog
care and dog breeds, video on dog training, donation to a rescue group
or shelter -- be creative and have fun!
You may discover by your
loved one's reaction on Christmas morning that the idea of a new puppy
and the accompanying responsibility is less than thrilling and
definitely not wanted. However by giving the "Puppy Gift Package"
nothing is really lost. All the items can be returned to the mall or
donated to your local shelter or rescue group. Then together you and
your loved one can pick out something really wanted.
On the other hand if a
puppy is really desired, your "Puppy Gift Package" will be greatly
appreciated. Then after the holidays, when life has returned to a
normal pace, together you and your family can thoughtfully begin the
process of selecting the right dog and giving your dog the right
start. Your time and effort will be greatly rewarded with a faithful
companion who will give you a lifetime of love and devotion.