We all have that image in our minds: Christmas morning, a big box is wrapped and inside is a cute little puppy with a red bow on it. So cute, so sweet, and such a bad idea.
Giving a puppy, or any pet for that matter, as a gift is not a good idea. While it may seem like the best idea you’ve ever had, and while the recipient may seem to love it at first, choosing to have a pet is a huge decision that should never be made by someone else.
Dogs live on average 10-15 years so adopting a dog is a long-term commitment. This kind of relationship should never be entered into unless the adoptee has considered every angle of owning a dog. Another person cannot decide this; it is a very personal decision.
Each breed, or mix, of dog is unique. Each contains different energy levels, grooming requirements and all round personality traits. The breed of dog should be carefully considered personally and by giving someone a dog, this option is taken away from them.
The amount of dogs surrendered to animal shelters and rescues after the holiday season is astronomical. It is not the dog’s fault in the least. You may think it’s a wonderful idea, but it is not. Please consider a donation to a shelter in your friend or family’s name instead. It is much needed and appreciated.
If, after all this, you still think that giving a dog as a gift is something you want to do, I urge you to go about it in a different way: it CANNOT be a surprise. You need to discuss with the person that this is what you would possibly like to do as a gift and that if they decide that adding a dog to their family is something they want to do, you can aid them in choosing a dog and go with them to adopt it.
Let’s work together this holiday season to spread the word and reduce the amount of surrendered dogs in the coming months.
Originally posted December 2008