Home
DogPatch
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Bad Wrap
Resist the puppy surprise

Giving a dog as a gift is rarely a good idea, and it’s often a terrible one, but some people can’t resist the idea of a beribboned puppy. For those of you who are thinking about giving a dog this holiday, we say, think twice. While you’re doing that, here are some points to factor in.

1. Nothing good comes of surprising someone with a dog, even if that someone is your child, who’s been begging for a dog since she could talk. Who knows...perhaps she has her heart set on a Chihuahua but you think she’d love a Lab. Learn about and select her new best friend together.

2. Puppies in particular have many specific needs, and in the general chaos of the holiday season, those needs can be easily overlooked, which can bode poorly for the puppy’s future success. Plus, standing outside in the middle of a cold winter night while waiting for the “gift” to do her business is not everyone’s idea of a good time.

3. Foster first. Fostering is a great intermediate step, and the holiday could be a good time to explore this possibility. By taking in a foster dog, not only will everyone discover the day-to-day responsibilities of pet care, it will make a big difference in the life of the dog you choose to foster.

4. Treat a case of puppy fever with Shelter Puppies. The new book from photographer Michael Kloth serves up a satisfying dose of puppy cute while conveying the urgent message that more adoptive homes are needed.

5. Build a foundation for success. If you want to give something to unwrap, fill a basket with a leash, collar, bowls, toys, treats, a gift certificate for a training class or vet care and a positive training book. After the holidays are over and life settles down, check out your local shelter and rescue groups, or do the research required to find a reputable breeder. Whatever you do, don’t buy that puppy in the pet shop; she’s likely to have come from a puppy mill. And by all means, consider an adult dog. Sure, puppies are totally cute and fun, but they’re also a lot of work. Many adult dogs are housebroken and have all sorts of good behavior skills up their furry sleeves. This is one situation in which the best surprise is no surprise at all.

Print|Email
This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 67: Nov/Dec 2011
Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photography by Michael Kloth

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.

More From The Bark

By
Edward Guthmann
By
Bill DeMain
By
Kimberly Wang
More in DogPatch:
The Evolution of a Dog Lover
In the Company of Cats and Dogs
Wilfred’s Fiona Gubelmann channels her cat!
Funny Man Barsotti
Last Chance IPA
Food for Thought: Vintage Dog Food Labels
Off The Leash
Of Mice and Men + Dog
Overheard: Authors on dogs
Dogs for the Ages