Dogs Trust Ireland has created a powerful public awareness campaign called “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” that reminds people to stop and think before they get someone a dog as a Christmas present. The organization reports that they get an alarming number of calls from people looking to surrender dogs they got as gifts.
Top 10 reasons owners return their dogs to Dogs Trust:
- “The puppy was bought as a present for elderly couple with dementia.”
- “He barks when left on his own”
- “My dog doesn’t look like what he did on the website”
- “My dog was too old and no longer brought me any joy”
- “The puppy went to the toilet all over the house and it hurts my back to pick up my dog’s poop”
- “He chewed my expensive sofa”
- “He isn’t as cute as when I first got him”
- “He can’t do any tricks”
- “He grew too big for my house”
- “He smells, of dog”
A dog is a big commitment of both time and money, and an impulsive purchase around the holidays can lead to a sad outcome for the animal. Dogs Trust notes that they take special care in rehoming dogs, especially puppies, in the weeks before Christmas, knowing that a carelessly acquired dog may be brought back to the shelter. They also note that the holidays can be a hectic time of year, and not the best time to introduce a new pet into the home.
They also warn people to resist impulse buying of pets on the Internet, as it can be difficult to tell if you are buying from a puppy mill or a reputable breeder. Finding the right dog from the right source takes time and research. As Dogs Trust Executive Director Mark Beazley says, “Having a dog is a long-term commitment and Christmas offers the perfect opportunity to remind people that dogs are not fashion accessories or disposable items that can be upgraded or discarded after just a few months.”