Christmastime is a warm and inspiring holiday for everyone, even when times are tough. The celebration reaches deep and spirits soar, opening hearts that would at other times not feel the same type of  joy. Gifts are a large component of Christmas as we think of what will make our friends or family giddy with excitement when it’s opened or even spotted under the tree. Opening those presents is a bonding time unlike any other.

Presents are chosen for both a practical purpose and to simply make someone happy. Those designated for merriment all too often include a puppy or a kitten. Parents feel it’s a nice time to give a pet and children think it’s the best time to receive it. The truth, however, is that it’s the worst time of all for a pet.

People ask me why I’m against people adopting a pet at Christmas, and I tell them it’s because in a month the pet is old news. Children don’t want the dog or cat anymore, it’s in the way, it costs money, and potty training is a hassle. Sometimes the pet gets “lucky” and says for 3 or 6 months. 9 times out of 10, however, it ends up at the shelter.

The novelty wears off and people begin to realize that having a pet is actual responsibility and work. You must stop to think of how quickly children tire of toys that are received on Christmas…the same thing happens to a pet. So while the pet thinks it has companions and a family, in reality it’s getting ready to end up somewhere else…more often bad than good.

Let me make this very clear:

ANIMALS ARE NOT PRESENTS. They are not toys that can be tossed around, put away, or sold at the next yard sale. They are living, breathing, blood flowing creatures that require care, dedication, devotion and love. Animals are work and a responsibility, and yes, they cost money outside of the initial purchase or adoption. You must put on your thinking cap when considering a pet for a present because it’s not a sweater, a game, or a stuffed toy. It’s a LIVE ANIMAL.

Shelters are bombarded with surrenders in January and in the summertime when the pet has settled in, started chewing, barking, digging, etc. People grow weary of the dog or cat and want it gone. The best part? They say “It’s a really sweet dog/cat, but….” But what?? If it’s such a great pet then why won’t you be a great parent and take care of it??

Granted, we hear this all year long, regardless of the occasion, but every rescuer knows and has seen multiple times the same routine over and over. It happens every year like clockwork.

So, when people get upset with me because I don’t adopt out a Christmas present, I’m really not concerned. My dogs are not a toy or pastime for a few days while things are festive…only to give in and get mad when something goes wrong. I want these dogs to have loving, permanent homes more than anything because that’s what they deserve and are owed. They are not fly by the seat of your pant gifts to grow weary of a few months later. I value them far too much to put them in that situation.

Show me your a responsible adopter and pet owner and I’ll be glad to adopt to you, even at Christmastime. However, don’t come to me wanting a present for under the tree. This is not an effort made by me just because I want to be rude or unkind. It’s an effort to take pride in the dog I’ve worked with long and hard.

You see, I want to know that the animal is with that family not only on Christmas, but on St Patrick’s Day, the storm of the century, when everyone is sick in bed with the flu, and on the dog’s 20th birthday…and never, ever in a situation where they need rescuing again.

One thought on “A New Pet for Christmas

  1. If people think the notion of selling a dog at a yard sale is rediculous…I’ve got news for them!!! My Samoyed, Lacey, was purchased at a yard sale!!!! Talk about an impulsive decision! That was the first of her 4 “homes” before I became her foster mom at the age of 6 months old. She was a MESS when I started fostering her. She had too many issues to mention, but with patience and love, she came to know she had found her fur-ever home with me. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge knowing she was loved and will be missed.

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