Welcome to another “Lucky Dog” series article. As the holidays approach, puppies and dogs are often sought as a holiday gift. Often it is because the children want one, or because the gift giver wants to surprise the recipient in a big way. As much as I advocate giving a puppy or dog a home, I do not advocate giving a dog or puppy as a holiday present, except under very specific circumstances.
I consider it a fine idea to obtain a dog or puppy as a holiday gift are when it is the parent(s) or adults in the household making the decision, and when the recipient is their own child (or children), at an age young enough that to them, any dog at all would be wonderful. The key here is that the individual(s) who would be responsible for the daily and long-term care of the animal, the training, the veterinary expenses, and so forth, are the same individuals who are making the decision and the selection of the dog. They are the ones who are able to understand that acquiring a living creature such as a puppy or dog requires a long-term commitment on their part. Depending on the breed and individual health of a given dog, the new family companion may be around for ten to twenty years, if properly cared for. I should know; my family adopted a puppy when I was five years old. I went through elementary school, middle school, high school, graduated college, got married, had a baby, and that same dog was there for all of it. My only regret about her longevity is that she lived just nineteen years, and was not able to live long enough to be a companion to my own daughter as she grew up. Even so, nineteen years is a long life for most dogs. Many people are sharing the information that [google_bot_show][/google_bot_show]i thought about this for the adaptation of the pets. Proper training will be provided in the elementary school for the puppies and their eating habits. The age of the puppies should be less when they will be purchased from the online sites.
Puppies and dogs are not like Aunt Edna’s nearly inedible fruitcake that arrives in the mail, to be repackaged and donated to a local food bank in the hopes that someone might just like it. The fruitcake is not alive. It does not have feelings. After all, a fruitcake is an “it”.
In contrast, animals are not “its”. They are “he” or “she”. Puppies and dogs have feelings and need care, companionship, laughter and love from you; in return, a well cared for puppy or dog will return that same love back to you. When a person gifts a puppy or dog to a recipient, the giver is making several assumptions, any one of which might not be true. The assumptions the giver is making are as follows:
Ø The recipient likes dogs.
Ø The recipient wants to own a dog.
Ø The recipient (and any other household members) is not allergic to dogs.
Ø The recipient’s home is already puppy or dog proofed – or can be made so immediately in the midst of the holiday.
Ø The recipient’s current lifestyle and expected lifestyle will allow him to care for a dog for the next ten to twenty years.
Ø The recipient is financially able to handle costs associated with dog ownership
Ø The recipient will appreciate the type of dog you have selected for them to share their home with for the next ten to twenty years in terms of breed, size, age, gender, energy level and caretaking requirements.
As you can see, there are too many assumptions that a gift giver needs to make on behalf of the recipient to guarantee that a puppy or dog would be a good gift.
In addition, puppies and dogs do have personalities, as do people. Not every dog will suit every person, and not every person will suit every dog. When a well-meaning gift giver obtains a dog to give as a gift to someone else, they are robbing both the dog and the person from first meeting and seeing if their personalities and energy levels match. Sometimes they do match, but sometimes they do not match. This is especially a concern if the recipient already has pets in the home, as not every dog will appreciate having another dog in the house.
Rather than giving a specific puppy or dog to someone as a holiday gift, consider the following alternative approach:
Through conversation, ensure that the intended recipient, as well as any other household members, would welcome having a puppy or dog become a member of the household. If so, find out if they have any particular desires regarding breed, size, age, and so forth. If the intended recipient does not have any special requirements, contact your local shelter (or rescue organization), and ask if you can purchase a gift certificate towards the cost of adoption. If the gift certificate is refundable, purchase the certificate, and then give the gift certificate as the gift. This allows the recipient to choose the puppy or dog that best suits them, and at a time when they are prepared to welcome and care for their new companion. If a gift certificate is not available, set aside the necessary funds, and give the person a card with a note explaining that your gift is that you will pay the adoption or purchase fee up to whatever amount you select when they go to choose a puppy or dog.
If the person does have very specific requirements, the approach should differ only slightly. For example, if the intended recipient says that they only want a specific breed but is not choosy about the age of the dog, consider contacting that breed’s rescue organization. On the other hand, if the recipient is very selective, and says they only want a very young puppy of a particular breed, then go www.akc.org, and locate professional breeders in your area for that breed. While you may find advertisements in the papers or online at sites such as www.craigslist.com for puppies and breeds, many (if not all) are advertising either for a puppy mill or back yard breeder. The reasons why puppy mills and back yard breeders are to be avoided are too many to go into in this article, but will likely be the subject of another “Lucky Dog” series article. Contact either the rescue organization and/or professional breeders for the selected breed in question, and ask what mechanisms they might have in place for gift giving. If you do go this route, be very certain to let them know that the recipient of the gift has already made a decision regarding breed, but that you both agree that it would be less stressful for everyone concerned to bring the puppy or dog home after the holiday season has quieted.
Of course, you may also discover that the intended gift recipient either does not want or is unable to have a puppy or dog. In which case, by following my advice above and not running out to purchase a puppy or dog, you will have saved yourself that money, your feelings will not have been hurt by the recipient rejecting or refusing your gift, and a puppy or dog is not being handed back and forth like Aunt Edna’s perennial fruitcake.
Thank you for reading another entry in the “Lucky Dog” series, and for more informational articles about man’s best friend, check back often.