Puppies are awesome. They are cute and fluffy and warm. They cuddle up with you at night and they do funny things to make you laugh and they love you. They more than love you…they flat out adore you and worship the ground you walk on. They are always excited to see you and they are loyal and they are fantastic companions. My two dogs are amazing and my life is better for having them in it.
When you are trying to think of a good present for your spouse or your kids for Christmas, a puppy might seem like a good idea. After all, you think, they are awesome…and cute. And wouldn’t it be great to see the kids faces on Christmas morning when they come downstairs and find a puppy wearing a big red bow waiting for them? It would be priceless!
A lot of people think that way at Christmas, but what they don’t consider is…puppies are a LOT of work. They wake up in the middle of the night…just like a baby does. And they can’t walk up and down the stairs, so they have to be carried up and down. You have to walk them 100 times a day and no matter how many times you walk them, they will pee on the carpet…and on your bed. They will chew up your favorite shoes. They will eat too fast and throw up on the couch. They will step in their own poop and need a bath at least once a week. And they will never grow up and learn to talk…so they will never be able to tell you where it hurts or what they are afraid of. Also…they are completely unfamiliar with the concept of sleeping in on a weekend. They might sleep the other 23 hours of the day…but from 7 AM to 8 AM on Saturday is play time.
These are just some of the things that people don’t consider when they buy a puppy for Christmas. They also don’t do research on breeds so they probably don’t know that the adorable dalmatian they are picking will be next to impossible to housetrain. Or that the fluffy Newfoundland puppy with the tiny body and super-cute giant paws is eventually going to grow into those paws and one day will be larger than the couch. Or that a bored lab will chew holes in the drywall if they are left alone too long with nothing to do. (Personally, I learned this one the hard way!)
So people don’t really think about it and consider what they are getting into. They just go to the pet store and buy a dog and when the excitement wears off and they are left with all the work, it starts to seem like a really bad idea. Or they don’t consider just how expensive it is to properly care for a dog and they decide that they just can’t afford it. A lot of these poor animals end up in shelters that are already overcrowded.
If I could, I would take them all home to live with me. Sadly, I can’t…but I can still help and so can you. The Petfinder Foundation provides grants to their member shelters and rescue groups to help these organization provide food, shelter and veterinary care to homeless animals while they wait for adoption. By giving almost $20 million in grants since 2003, they have helped to ensure that no pet is euthanized for lack of a permanent home. And through their partnership with Petfinder.com, they feature hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets each year.
Please…if you are considering getting a dog for Christmas, think twice. Make sure you research the breeds you are considering and make sure you fully understand the committment you are taking on. If you do decide to get a dog (or a cat) think about skipping the pet store and instead going to Petfinder.com and rescuing an animal from a shelter. And please, consider making even a small donation to help find homes for the huge number of animals just waiting for someone to love them.