ANIMALS AS GIFTS
Yes, it happened again. Puppies and kittens being given as gifts on Christmas day. It happens to bunney rabbits at Easter too. Lets talk about those little puppies for a minute.
The kids squealed in delight. Everyone demanding their turn at holding the new puppy.
It's Christmas, everyone is laughing and bustling around. Gifts are opened and strewn everywhere. Perhaps Christmas music is playing a notch or two higher than usual.
The puppy is missing his mother and the home he is used to. More than likely a home far quieter than this one. Chances are, he is next to shell shocked over his introduction to his new home. Perhaps no one thought about having the food he is used to on hand. Perhaps no one thought about the fact he will soon be exhausted as well as totally confused and need a quiet room to lay down and rest in. Perhaps no one thought about how with all this activity, he has no clue where to go to the bathroom, except on the living room rug. Perhaps someone, thinking they were being kind, slipped him some yummy human food, that his little tummy is not used to. Perhaps before the day is out he will have diarrhea now on top of being scared and confused. Perhaps he is being considered as just another toy amongst all the other new toys.
Sadly, this noisy introduction to his new home and the fact that he was just another toy to be played with, a toy that just happens to poop and pee, chew on every thing in site and cause other well known puppy mischief, often will lead to so much more heartache for him as he grows into a dog, not near as cute as when he was just a wee puppy. Sadly, a very great number of animal gifts, given in the spirit of Christmas, without careful planning for their future, will end up being given away or sold to still another home, or to an animal shelter, where he will meet his end. All because, no one took the time to consider that it takes weeks of training by someone in the family to make him into a respectable, house trained, loving member of his human family. No one took the time to think ahead on the fact all puppies chew, and get into mischief. And no one took the time to sit down and think about housetraining a new puppy.
If he goes to another home, can they complete his house training, breaking him of the habit of messing in the house, because no one had the time to teach him to go outside. Or break him of the habit of getting into the garbage, or chewing on shoes or barking to get attention. Probably not, so from their home, he will still end up at an animal shelter on death row.
People, listen to me, never give a living, breathing animal as a gift during the holidays, without first knowing that the main caretakers in the family are ready, willing and shown how to look after the animal in question. Never give an animal as a gift, thinking that because the kids wanted one, and promised to always look after it themselves, that they will. MOST kids start out with good intentions, but just like they tire of their other toys, they will lose interest in the animal too. And if you still intend to give that animal as a gift, do it after the holiday in question. Animals, such as puppies, need a quiet, sensible home for their first few days in a strange environment. I often counsel people, give instead a card with the puppies picture tucked into it on Christmas day, explaining that the new addition to the family will arrive in a couple of days. Or give the family a collar and lease or doggie bed, gift wrapped under the tree. And after the holiday, begin shopping for the puppy.