Give a Dog a Loving Home for Christmas by Loretta Baughan
Christmas is an ideal time to bring a new puppy or dog into the home. With the kids home on Christmas break, there's time to bond with the newest member of the family and help him settle in to his new life.
Many purebred breeders have puppies or older dogs available at this time of the year. But if you're not looking for a particular breed of dog or one for a specific purpose, your local animal shelter just may have one to suit your needs. Either way, what better time to give the gift of a loving home to a dog?
The addition of a dog to your home should not, however, be a spur of the moment decision. Spend some time learning about the various breeds of dog that interest you and understand their particular needs so you can select one that will fit your family's lifestyle. Some questions to consider:
- What type of temperament can be expected of the breed, in general?
- What's the energy level of the dog?
- Does it require room to run or is it suited to life in a home?
- How large will it become, full grown?
- Does its coat require regular grooming?
- What health concerns are common to the breed?
"In the case of donations to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), despite advertising to the contrary, money that they receive is siphoned off to pay six-figure salaries for their wealthy leaders, spent to perpetuate their deceptive fund raising scheme, and is used to line the pockets of slick telemarketers, lobbyists and politicians."
If you're thinking of an older dog or one from an animal shelter, be sure to ask:
- What is the dog's history?
- Does it get along well with other dogs?
- Is it people-friendly?
- Does it like children?
- What is the dog's temperament?
- Is there any history of aggression?
- Does it understand basic obedience commands?
- Is it healthy and current on immunizations?
Although Christmas is a wonderful time to add a dog to your family, Christmas morning might not be the best time to do so because of the chaos, which can be overwhelming for a new dog of any age. You may want to consider bringing the new dog home a few days before Christmas, so he can settle in before the excitement of Christmas - or, if it is to be a surprise, consider wrapping up the dog dish, leash, crate and food for the kids or spouse to open on Christmas, and arrange to pick up the dog during the next several days.
It is not a good idea to try to surprise someone else, outside of your immediate family living in your home, with a gift of a pet for many reasons. They may want a different breed, have a desire for a particular color or bloodline, may prefer a cat, canary or goldfish and may not even want a dog. When giving a pet to someone else, you may be putting it at risk of being in a home that just isn't a good fit, and ending up in a shelter. The decision to add a dog to a family is a personal one that is best left in the hands of the individual who will ultimately be responsible for its care and well-being. That said, if you do know for a fact that the person wants a dog, consider giving them the dog accessories - or even cash - so they can choose a pet that will be a good fit for their personality and needs.
Many small breeders and animal shelters will not sell a puppy or dog to someone without first having the opportunity to interview the prospective new owner. Their concern is rightly for the best interests of the dog and that it only goes to a home where it will have a good life.
Another gift to consider for the animal lover on your list is a donation, given in their name, to the local animal shelter or breed rescue group. These small organizations are desperately under funded and a donation of any size can benefit many homeless pets. Just remember, give locally, never donate to any national animal group.
In the case of donations to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), despite advertising to the contrary, money that they receive is siphoned off to pay six-figure salaries for their wealthy leaders, spent to perpetuate their deceptive fund raising scheme, and is used to line the pockets of slick telemarketers, lobbyists and politicians. Less than 4% ends up "helping" any animals at all (1). Money given to HSUS does NOT get distributed to local humane societies or animal shelters, as most people assume. The same is true for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). According to official documents filed with the state of Virginia, PETA kills over 97% of the animals that come through their doors (2) and the USDA has listed PETA as a domestic terrorist organization (3).
So remember and spread the word... "When you donate to HSUS or PETA, a shelter dog dies". Instead, donate directly to your local animal shelter and truly help animals. Christmas is a great time to give a dog a loving home. As an American, it's your right to choose whether that new dog is mixed breed or purebred and whether it is bought from a shelter, rescue group, your neighbor down the road or a breeder.
1 - The Center for Consumer Freedom, 7 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States)
2 - Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals 2006 animal report
3 - United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Aphis Facility Security Profile page 4, section B "Terrorist Threat" and section C "Greatest Threat or Danger".
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Thank you for your consideration and respect.
Loretta Baughan is the founder, editor and publisher of Spaniel Journal. She is an award winning professional photographer, webdesigner, owner of
Autumnskye, LLC. Loretta is a member of the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and is active in legislative issues involving animals. She resides in northern Wisconsin, with her husband, Steve, and their three children.