Christmas is rapidly approaching yet I can’t seem to get myself into the holiday spirit. Instead of feeling warm and fuzzy, I have a feeling of dread, a sense that bad things are to come. Wow, I sound like a Grinch, don’t I? Well instead of thinking about the gifts, family meals, and general merriment of this time of year, my thoughts are on the future. The future of the cute, cuddly, totally adorable, gotta-have-it puppy that will inevitably be given as a gift–and then dumped at the shelter days, weeks, or months later.
Owning a dog, or any animal for that matter, is an extremely big commitment. You are committing your time, energy, love–and yes–money to the animal. Some dogs, like my Buddy, don’t cost a cent more than food and the annual physical. Then there are dogs like my Tag that always seem to have something wrong with them. I rarely make it out of the vet’s office with a bill under $200 for her–and this happens more often than I care to think about.
I’m not suggesting someone must be a millionaire to own and care for an animal, merely that they should be cognizant of the fact that animals not only cost money to feed and provide basic care for (flea and heartworm preventative) but that medical issues, or accidents, can and inevitably will, happen. Owning a dog means you are prepared for this.
It also means that you are prepared for accidents in the house, chewed up shoes, barking and whining, and other general “nuisances” that can come with owning an animal, especially a young one. Of course dogs can be trained–and they should be! But owning a pet means you are committed to sticking it out and working them through any issues that they may have, not just giving up at the first sign of imperfection. This a hefty commitment to make on someone else’s behalf.
Once upon a time my parent’s gave my brother a puppy for Chistmas. Fourteen years later, she is still spoiled rotten. I do not mean to suggest that I don’t think it’s possible for a puppy to be successfully given as a gift, I just hope that everyone considers just how big of a commitment it is.
So until January rolls around, and I walk into the shelter and do NOT see a bunch of adorable puppies that have been dropped off, I will walk around with a pit in my stomach. I know this was a bit of a “Debbie-Downer” post but I just hope everyone thinks about these things before giving that adorable puppy as a gift–afterall, it’s the puppy that loses if it doesn’t work out.