BULLIES come in all ages

BULLIES come in all ages
(click to see movie trailer)

Surround yourself with positive people,
energy, and situations;
always avoid negativity.


Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So, love the people who treat you right.

Forgive, and then forget about the ones who don't.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Puppy for Christmas? Think Again!

Why is a Christmas dog a mistake?

First, because no animal should be a surprise. The arrival of a dog changes a household considerably—for years. Someone has to take responsibility for their daily needs—feeding, exercise, health care, grooming. The decision should be thought about, talked about, negotiated.
A new dog, not necessarily a puppy, either, should be the result of a process, not an impulse.
Kids can be unreliable; kids change. The puppy melts their hearts for a few days or weeks. But then it needs to be walked every day (in the rain). It needs careful attention to its feeding and eliminating if it's going to be housebroken effectively. It needs to be taught not to jump on Grandma. The kids oohing and aahing under the tree will soon move on to IMing and texting their friends. Few children outside of 4-H programs and Future Farmers of America want to be tied down to conscientious animal care, and their parents are often no more enthusiastic. Reality will soon supersede the Christmas morning fantasy.

The bigger problem with the Christmas pup is that good dogs are usually unavailable for holiday giving. Hardly any ethical dog provider will support the idea of a dog as a surprise present. Good breeders have carefully constructed breeding programs that are rarely tied to the idea of seasonal gifts, unless arrangements have been made with people they know well far in advance. Breeders don't want their dogs to end up in households where nobody understands the work involved in raising them.

Experienced rescue group volunteers and shelter workers hate the whole idea of the Christmas dog because they know many of those dogs will be coming back to them.

The dogs that are readily available at Christmas are the kind you probably don't want. Puppy mills grind out thousands of puppies to meet holiday demand. They're the dogs you find in pet stores and malls—cute as puppies but often inbred, poorly socialized, and more prone to genetic health problems like allergies or bad hips or to behavioral difficulties like compulsive barking or chewing.

For Christmas, get the kid an Xbox , or an iPod. They'll love it and use it. You don't have to clean up after it, and if they lose interest, you won't have to walk it in the middle of a snowstorm.

If you and your family really want a dog, choose it carefully, and take your time. Get one from a reputable breeder, an experienced rescue group, or an established animal shelter. Ask lots of questions about the dog; expect the breeder or staff to ask you a lot, too. If they don't, be wary. A store clerk or amateur breeder who simply hands you a dog in exchange for your credit card is not your friend. Experienced dog people know the dogs they sell and the people they are selling them to. And don't worry if the dog comes to you in April instead of on Christmas morning. It will be just as adorable without the tree and the bow.

By Jon Katz

Happy Trails,


MAX said...

Excellent and apt article! Thank you for that. I couldn't agree more!
Wishing you a Happy, warm and wonderful Christmas and new year.
With much love

bbes tribe said...

Excellent and very timely!! We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a special New Year!
Ernie & Sasha

JackDaddy said...

Great post.

I can't imagine giving any one any type of pet for Christmas or a surprise.

Besides, pets are the gifts that would keep on giving. Evidently they don't realize how much it actually costs to raise a pet.

Gloria said...

Well said Kit! If only more people understood this.

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Great post!

PeeEssWoo: Of khourse, I'd love a khytty fur khristmas!

Sam said...

Couldn't agree with you more!

Elizabeth said...

We agree!!! A new puppy is like having a new baby in the house... or at least that is what we hear. Luna has been a big responsibility (a big blessing too) but one that shouldn't be taken lightly and without preparation!

Elizabeth & Luna

kks said...

yes indeed!

hope your holidays are happy!

Anonymous said...

Timely advice. Some people act like they think puppies will take care of themselves and then are amazed when they misbehave. Unfortunately there are people with the same mindset about having babies. Oh, the woeful lack of responsibility! SH

Mango said...

Our little Pi dog was a puppy for Christmas dog to a family that didn't know what to do other than tie her up outside. Poor thing. She came to live with us when she was two years old and enjoyed a happy life, with no tie outs ever again.

Mango Momma

Madi and Mom said...

Great article!!!
I totatlly agree with every single word. Getting a pet is as personal as buying one's undergarments and should only be done by that PERSON.
Madi and Mom

Life With Dogs said...

A friend just bought a puppy after I spent weeks trying to convince him to adopt. Serious bummer.

Great post!

KB said...

I couldn't agree more strongly.

A 'surprise' dog is the craziest thing that I've ever heard of. We plan for months before a new dog joins us.

Samantha said...

Oh so beautifully written and true - thank you for posting!
Big Hugs and xo,
(thanks for commenting on g'daughter's new blog - very thoughtful!)

Toby- The dog with a blog said...

Agreed- great article!

animal lover, quilt lover said...

I agree, I agreee !!!!
If only the news paper and the TV stations. would get on that band wagon and stay on it!!! Maybe it would help the animals. I would like every man woman and child to read that!!! Or hear that or see that!!!

Alex93andme said...

Excellent post! I hate to think of anyone giving an animal as a pet for a gift because I know where it will end up after the initial surprise. Merry Christmas!!! Holly and her mom Deborah

Olive said...

Aww, yes...very good. Makes me sad to think of the animals being given as gifts. It is a lot of work to care for a pet...I hope people really think twice.

Licks from me..


Twinkietinydog said...

I say, if you want a dog, after you do your homework and after careful consideration, go to the pound first. Better yet just do it exactly how my mom does it. Go to the pound, find out who's been there the longest, and who's going to be crossing the bridge the soonest, and ask them to wrap him or her up :) Then, like a good conscientious being, bring them home and take really good care of them until you can place them--if you can part with them at that point.
Seriously now, this was a great article. Thank you.

Olive said...

Thanks for stopping by! So glad you like our music..it is Jack Johnson!! We are HUGE Fans and when it's not a holiday..we play his other great songs!!

So happy to be your friend!!

Olive :)

Remington said...

I agree! Thank you for posting that!

The OP Pack said...

Very sound advice. We are still hoping to bring another pup into our pack soon, but will most likely wait until the spring. Happy Holidays to all of you.

woos, the OP Pack

Stella and Gunther said...

We're gonna pass this article to our friends!! Have a fun and tasty Christmas.

Stella, Gunther & Betty

Thor said...

Excellent post!


River said...

Good job getting the word out!

love & wags,

Jacks, Narra, Tuchuck, and Rousseau said...

Thanks for the post! We hope people heed the wise advice.

Happy Holidays!


Shelley said...

Excellent article - BRAVO! I'm so tired of people who don't realize all that's involved w/ taking care of a dog and only think of the moment when they are a puppy. A dog is a commitment not to be taken lightly.