Two things that bring great happiness: puppies and presents! But combining the two into a Christmas gift does not always double the joy. In fact, giving an animal as a present can be a terrible combination – for the recipient AND the puppy!
Every year as the holiday decorations are taken down and put away, many animals wind up at local animal shelters. Well-meaning gift-givers don’t always think past the exciting moment of watching someone they love open a box to find a puppy with a red bow tied around its neck! The joy may be fleeting. And unlike other gifts that come with a gift receipt, living animals can’t just be returned without consequence. Animals brought back to a shelter experience trauma, and rescue organizations become full and overwhelmed.
SHELTERS TRY TO AVOID DOG RETURNS
Some adoption groups are taking proactive steps to help animals avoid the holiday boomerang. A shelter in Mississippi started banning all adoptions between December 20 and January 1st when they began seeing high rates of animals turned in after the holidays. Additionally, many of the largest animal shelters in Germany have banned adoptions between December 15 and January. They hope these measures will force those excited by holiday cheer to proceed more cautiously into pet procurement.
Owning a dog is a long-term commitment, as many can live as long as 15 years. And because they require a lot of care, time, and attention, choosing to bring a dog into a household should be considered carefully — not just sprung upon someone.
“Every year as the holiday decorations are taken down and put away, many animals wind up at local animal shelters or Humane Societies.“
NOW IS NOT THE TIME
Experts also suggest that holidays are the worst time to bring an animal into your home. Even if it is something you have decided is right for you and your family, now is not the time. During the holidays, your typical home environment is often different… filled with people, decorations, and excitement. Not only can excitement and the loud noises that accompany holiday joy frighten an animal new to your home, but the ribbons, wrapping paper, and Christmas lights can also harm a dog if ingested. Holidays are distracting times. When a new dog enters your family, you must be focused on them! It is hard to find the time during the holidays to dedicate the time necessary to ensure they feel welcomed and acclimated to their surroundings.
Don’t give an animal as a present. Instead of gifting – or getting – a dog this Christmas, consider donating to a shelter and waiting until after the holidays to find the perfect animal for you or your loved one!