Puppies can bring joy to families and individuals alike. They drip with cuteness, and you can’t help but want to snuggle with them.
Many families consider adding a dog to their mix around this time of year. Puppies are cute, but puppies with red bows tied onto their collars are even cuter.
A weekend with my brother and his brand-new 11-week old German shorthair, though, reminded me why giving a dog as a gift isn’t always a great idea.
Puppies are not for everyone. They require a lot of attention — food, walks, veterinary appointments, etc. They also need training. Nobody wants a dog who always pees on their floors. How you train dogs can become a point of contention, too. I suppose this would be similar to training any animal. Discussions about how to train a dog can prove as contentious, I imagine, as conversations about raising children.
No parent is perfect, and no method is precise. They all require adjusting based on the child (or in this case, dog) because not one is the same. Even in the short time I spent with my brother and his dog, multiple conversations centered on the best way to solve certain behavioral problems — barking, whining, biting, peeing.
We couldn’t all even agree on a name for the pup. My brother chose John Jameson Jr. I went one step further and thought of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. I mean, if you’re going to shorten it to JJ, why not go all out, amirite?
I repeat, puppies are not for everyone. While they are cute — bow or no bow — think twice before you give the gift of a pet. Too often, those cute gifts end up in animal shelters shortly after the holidays. That kind of giving, and giving away, can be incredibly difficult on the dog. Plus, it’s just not fair. Puppies who think they are going to their forever home shouldn’t be given away like an unwanted holiday sweater.
So, rather than giving the gift of puppy love, consider other options this Christmas season. For example, the Goodfellow Fund is still underway. It benefits the Salvation Army. Mail donations to: The Goodfellows Fund, c/o The Sheridan Press, P.O. Box 2006, Sheridan, WY 82801.
Or, go through your old children’s books — you know, those ones with cute puppies in them — and pass on the gift of reading with the Season’s Readings program. Collection boxes can be found at The Sheridan Press, both McDonald’s locations, Java Moon, Twisted Hearts/Red Velvet, Hospital Pharmacy West, Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library, Sheridan College and Sheridan Stationery, Books and Gallery.