A PUPPY FOR CHRISTMAS
Written by Dorothy Christiansen
Many people have an idealized vision of a child's being surprised
by finding a puppy under the tree on Christmas morning. While I am sure there are times this vision is true, too often it is not and the puppy pays the price.
Christmas is a busy and chaotic time with shopping, gift
wrapping, baking, company arriving, visiting others. Tempers tend to get short and some people even suffer a kind of depression when the holiday reality does not match their Norman Rockwell dream. This is no time to add a puppy to the household where it will too often get lost in the shuffle of busy households. In fact, a good breeder will refuse to let a puppy be a present on Christmas morning.
Children, especially young children, can get caught up in the
excitement of Christmas. While the puppy may initially thrill them,
company and even other toys may overshadow it. They may become upset when the tiny puppy wants to sleep or when it has an accident at the wrong time or place. Or chews on a brand new toy.
Company arrives. There are people who don't like dogs. Serving
dinner and caring for a puppy becomes more difficult. The puppy gets
relegated to a back room where if it is still awake, it promptly urinates,
chews the bedspread or sits and cries. This is not the type of situation a
reputable breeder should want for her puppy.
Far better to wait until a day or two after Christmas, then go get
the puppy. Still want to surprise the children? Then make the last gift
they open a box full of puppy supplies. In it could be a water bowl, food
dish, tiny collar and leash, and chew toys. And include a photograph of the puppy that is coming in a few days. Then when all the commotion of the holidays has eased off, the entire family can take a trip to the breeder's to pick up the new family addition.
As for the breeder, she should be sure the puppy is a welcome
addition to the family. Meet the adult caregivers especially the person
most likely to have charge of the dog--usually the mother. Be certain this is not a surprise, the intended receiver really wants and can care for the puppy. Puppies are not toys or teaching aids. They can and do break. They are certainly not cheap and proper upkeep takes hundreds of dollars a year. They don't come trained or with the maturity of an adult dog. Training classes should be suggested. Breed rescues become full of surprises a few months after the holidays. So, breeders, be sure the right home is waiting for your puppy--after the holiday bustle.
As the AKC has said, a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas.