Getting a puppy for Christmas is one of those adorable quintessential holiday moments that we see so often in movies. Of course it’s cute; the little puppy wags its tail, licks its new person’s face, and they live happily ever after, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, those movies don’t tell the whole story. They don’t show you a couple weeks later when the puppy chews up Mom’s favorite shoes and poops in the house. They don’t show you when the young kids lose interest in taking care of the puppy and those responsibilities fall to the already overworked parents. They also don’t show you when the previously 10-lb puppy grows into a 50-60 lb adult dog but is still young enough to have the mindset of a puppy. It can be tough to deal with, but that’s pet parenthood. A lot of people fail to take this into consideration when picking out that cute little Christmas puppy, and then they end up heartlessly abandoning their dog at a shelter when they don’t feel like dealing with him anymore. He cries as they walk away, wondering what he did wrong for his humans to ditch him like yesterday’s news. Nothing makes my blood boil more than reading stories like this of poor pups who’ve been abandoned by shitty, irresponsible owners.
How about a new idea? If your kids want a dog, skip the pet store and take them on a surprise trip to a few animal shelters to meet rescue dogs who need good forever homes. That way, they can meet the dogs in person and find the one that clicks with them best. Also, talk to them about the huge responsibility that is pet parenthood, and about the fact that adoption is FOREVER (at least it is if you have a heart). Make a family commitment to be that dog’s humans forever and love him even when he chews up your favorite things and poops EVERYWHERE (because he probably will at some point).
Pet parenthood is so rewarding, but it’s not always easy. Miles has chewed up several of my favorite things, accidentally ripped out a huge chunk of my hair once while playing (OWWW), pooped all over the house, and regularly wakes us up (well, mostly hubby because I’m a deep sleeper) in the middle of the night whining. Crackers instigates wrestling matches with Miles that get so loud we can’t hear ourselves think. Would we ever abandon either one of them? FUCK NO. Think of it this way: human kids do annoying things that drive their parents crazy all the time. Would you abandon one of your human kids for any reason? Hopefully the answer is no, unless you really are a monster. Pets should be considered the same. You’re their parent too.
There is no valid or acceptable reason to abandon your dog, ever. You had a new baby? Congratulations! Pets can be socialized to get along with babies; it happens every day. Don’t abandon your dog. You’re moving? Make sure it’s a place that allows pets; otherwise, they don’t need your money. You’re tired from work and don’t feel like taking care of him? Suck it up, buttercup! You made a commitment.
So, this Christmas, give the gift of adoption to a dog in need of a good home. You can Google local pet rescues in your area easily and view adoptable pets on their websites, and the rescues typically take care of their vaccinations and spaying/neutering for you. Your new buddy will love you forever because you saved him. Adopting Miles and Crackers was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, and there’s nothing in the world they could ever do to lose my love. Just look at these guys!!