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 say
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 task.
Just think about
a few of the potentially hazardous and no-win scenarios to
which you will be subjecting a young Christmas puppy:
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.
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
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. Owning a dog can bring
years of happiness but it takes the right match of pet and
owner to create that bond. A dog is another family
member and requires a
lifelong commitment, therefore, lifestyle, time and
financial resources are important considerations in
selecting the right breed. Given that many breeds, including
Westies, 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 lightly.
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 or rescue
group 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
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 stuffed dog complete with a big red bow, a gift certificate entitling
the recipient to the "dog of your choice", a
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
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
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 going to
dog shows, talking with breeders and talking with rescue
groups to select 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.
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