29 November 2011

Christmas Puppy

In the movies, a new puppy arrives all wrapped up in a colorful box with a bow and when the box is opened that pup wiggles, wags, whines, and licks the new owner's face and everyone lives happily ever after.

Reality is rarely this magical. The puppy you saw and thought was the cutest thing to ever grace the Earth, may not be cute to the person receiving it. You may like Great Danes and your spouse or friend may prefer Chihuahuas. That new pup will need to be walked, fed and watched every instant on Christmas afternoon or there may be wet spots on the rug or new gifts are shredded all over the dining room. This makes the Christmas puppy an unappealing gift at best.

If you get an ugly outfit for Christmas and you hate it, you can always return it or regift it and get something you really wanted. This often happens with puppies too, except they end up at the local shelter in January or they go to "live on a farm" in some mythical country setting. Clothing doesn't care if it goes back on the shelf to get sold again. The unwanted pet probably won't be so lucky.

Children especially do not need a Christmas puppy. Even if your child has been begging for a puppy, most young children have no idea of the commitment required to care for a puppy. The child's eyes will light up when they see the adorable puppy and there will be squeals of happiness, then the next gift will be opened. The puppy will need care and attention, but the new toys make noise and have lights that flicker. The puppy won't get the attention it deserves until the thrill of the other toys has worn off. Even then, most children are not able to handle the responsibility of a pet.

Let the person who is going to care for the new puppy or dog select the one that they really want. Your new best friend may be at the local shelter or in a breed rescue program. For this lifelong commitment to work, there must be a connection between the person and the dog. It is a personal thing. If you are set on a holiday puppy, wait until the gift wrap is gone and the ribbons are put away, then go select your new family member.

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