A Dog is For Life
Call me a cynic, but having just spent half an hour scanning a well known internet selling site,I couldn’t help but notice that approximately 50% of the adverts were for puppies. Most of these were either ready now, or available in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
A large number were also of a mixed or ‘designer’ variety, cockerpoo’s, cavashons, poodle x cairns, jugs etc. Also some listing dogs of a specifically cute nature, such as mini dacshounds and mini schnauzers.
This happens every year.It makes me wonder why we are still having to promote ‘A Dog is for Life not Just For Christmas’ .A slogan that is 39 years old this year.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
An addition of a four legged friend, will make anytime the most wonderful time. A new pup in the house can also be very stressful.The toilet training, the sleepless nights, the feeding routine, the destroyed toys. All this on top of preparing, cooking and been confined to close quarters with people you may not see for the rest of the year.
Although the percentage of dogs obtained by way of been received as a gift may have dropped from 20% to 2% over that period. If we consider the number of people owning dogs has increased overall, the message may not be hitting as hard as it should be. In 2012 over 9000 dogs were destroyed in council pounds. (figures from dogs trust). A lot of dog rescues have no destroy policies, council pounds haven’t that luxury(1).
These figures admittedly don’t just cover Christmas pups, but also older dogs . Knowing some people who work tirelessly in rescue, I can confirm some of the irresponsible excuses highlighted by John Bingham in 2008 are still heard. These include the puppy bought for someone with a known illness.(2)
So sometimes for a dog, it isn’t the most wonderful time of the year.
The True Cost of Christmas.
I will not try to put anyone off taking on a puppy. This article does not aim to criticise responsible breeders. I would however implore people to look at the true cost of having a puppy in the house at any time. If your tree, present and food survive, depending on breed you are taking on up to a 20 year plus commitment.
That bundle of joy will provide you with love, devotion and attention that outweigh any financial cost. The hard reality is however, there will be a cost in time and finances. Start with food and insurance, and even for one dog you can be starting at £100 per month upwards. leads bedding, boarding costs if you are away, vaccinations etc will also add to this.
The true cost of Christmas could over a lifetime could easily enter five figures.
The Perfect Gift
To my mind the addition of four legs to a household is a privilege not a right. The perfect dog does not have to be a pup, or a designer breed. Every dog person will think despite any faults, their dog is the perfect dog.
Anybody taking on a dog really does need to think carefully about who they are taking into their home. It may just be that the perfect dog for you is in fact waiting in a rescue centre in June, not under the tree at Christmas.