Mummy, mummy! Get me a puppy for Xmas!

Ho, ho, ho.  It’s getting that time of year again. Families, overjoyed with the festive season think it’s a great time to get a dog. Although there are exceptions, most of the time I would say getting a dog at Xmas is a very bad idea. This is true, particularly for the poor dog.

I am a great believer in re-homing dogs and giving them a calm, happy environment to live in. However, homes, over the Xmas period are often far from calm, peaceful environments that are suitable to bring a new dog into. It doesn’t matter whether the dog is a puppy or rescued. Great care should be taken when homing a dog.

Over the Xmas period, there will be hundreds of dogs, young and older, finding themselves in new homes only to be  taken to re-homing centres when the fun, festive period is over and the realities of having a dog sets in. A sad situation repeated every year. I realise this is an often repeated refrain but it is worth covering again and again until it gets through.

Why does this keep happening? It’s quite simply really. Dogs are a serious proposition and long term responsibility. They need homes that understand this and can commit to their new dogs needs including, love and affection, training, physical and mental wellbeing, exercise and happiness, in fact, being able to live as a dog in a human home. These are the basics that many dog owners fail to realise or achieve. I would suggest a dog is NEVER given as a present. They should be thought about by all family members before they are brought into a home.

Back to Xmas for a second. Try to imagine an adult dog or a puppy being brought into their new home during the festive period. They have been taken either from their mother or have been traumatised by previous owners and endured a rescue centre (most of whom do a great job) that is really not a place where they wish to be. These dogs are thrust into the hubbub of a home filled with strangers, some who come and go, frequently, parties, food, noise – you get the picture. For the dog, this is an extremely stressful and, often frightening time.

For a new dog to be able to settle into it’s new home it must be treated with respect, understanding, calmness and given time. This is just not going to happen over the Xmas period in most homes. We are, in fact, setting the dog up for failure and the inevitable visit to a rescue centre in many cases.

So, my advice is simple. If your family really want a dog, go visit a rescue centre after Xmas, take advice and find the right dog that needs a home. Don’t do it over the Xmas period. Don’t buy a puppy for your loved one. THINK, carefully about what a dog means and what they need.

Places in Norfolk  to rescue a dog in need of a caring home

Meadowgreen Dog Rescue Centre

Dogs Trust, Snetterton

West Norfolk RSPCA Rehoming Centre

People for Animal Care Trust

F.A.I.T.H. Animal Rescue

Hillside Animal Rescue

RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk Branch

Norfolk Greyhound Rescue

Further reading

A dog is forever, not for Christmas