There are a few times of year, when normally logical people, get the crazy notion that they should buy a puppy, and Christmas is one of those times. Let’s talk about that.
Usually, we like to keep this blog light and happy. Because really, light and happy is the whole point of bringing pets into our lives.
So I’m not going to show you photos of row upon row of filthy cages holding the breeding dogs abused to make the cute puppies you see at the pet store. Everybody knows that dogs sold at the pet store come from puppy mills, right? Surely that’s old news by now. So let’s just move along past talking about buying puppies from a store, because that’s just irresponsible.
No, instead I’m going to talk about what local Current in Carmel columnist Danielle Wilson described in a recent article (clicking on the image will take you to their website, if you can’t read the newspaper clipping)
“Seriously, how long will it take for her to sleep through the night and learn to go potty outside?”
Why shalt thou adopt a grownup dog instead of a cute puppy, let us count the ways:
- ADULT: Adult dogs are usually already house trained
- PUPPY: Potty training a puppy, can take up to several months of accidents. Potty training accidents weaken the human-animal bond.
- ADULT: Adult dogs have already developed their personality. You know what you’re getting when you adopt an adult, no surprises.
- PUPPY: Every puppy develops a unique personality, just like children. Dogs from loving homes can still grow up just as fearful, aggressive, standoffish or unpredictable as those from abusive homes.
- ADULT: Fostering an adult dog gives you an opportunity to see if the dog fits in with your family before making a lifelong commitment.
- PUPPY: Many dogs are surrendered back to the shelter once they grow out of the cute puppy stage and their adult personality sets in, or simply once the romance fades.
- ADULT: Adopting an adult dog usually requires a family discussion, a careful weighing of pros and cons, then a purposeful decision.
- PUPPY: Never surprise someone with a puppy. What if your intended recipient doesn’t even want a dog??
- ADULT: Adult dogs are cheaper.
- PUPPY: Vaccines, spay/neuter, repeated puppy vet visits, deworming, microchipping, and training can cost several hundreds of dollars that your intended recipient may not be able to afford.
- ADULT: Adult dogs use the bathroom outside (approximately) twice a day.
- PUPPY: It’s going to be awfully cold outside this winter, do you really want to be potty training a puppy every hour or two in the snow?
- ADULT: Adult dogs are less stressful.
- PUPPY: The holidays are stressful enough, puppies are stressful, you don’t need more stress.
- ADULT: Adult dogs are much more self-sufficient.
- PUPPY: You’re busy. Do you really have the time to dedicate to raising and training a dog right now?
- ADULT: Saving an adult dog’s life makes you feel good.
- PUPPY: Buying a puppy means a dog in the shelter doesn’t get to make her way into your home.
RECOMMENDATIONS for those considering getting a new dog this Christmas
- Adopt a dog only after long considering the costs (financial, emotionally, training, time, and otherwise)
- Adopt an adult dog who needs a home. If you absolutely insist on getting a puppy instead, even though Danielle the newspaper lady and I are both recommending against it, see if you can visit with the puppy’s parents, so you have some idea what the puppy might grow into.
- If you really, really insist on getting a puppy, consider adopting a slightly older dog – maybe 8 mos to a year old, already potty trained, out of the chewing stage, from the shelter.
- Work with a reputable shelter or rescue group. None of this “I got him offa Craigslist from some random dude” nonsense please.
- Choose a dog based on the breed behavior profile, or even better yet that particular genetic line’s adult behavior, not because of how cute the puppy looks.
- Intend to bring a dog into its Forever Home with you… FOREVER.
- If you’re a parent, remember that when your kid goes off to school, you’ll be left with the pet.
- Speaking of parenting, those of you thinking the kids will take care of your dog… have you met your kids?
A dog is not a gift, a dog is a promise. A life-long, stinky, pooping, peeing, diarrhea, vomiting, sock-eating, 3am veterinary emergency room visiting, thousands of dollars costing, shoe chewing, barking at the postal carrier, hair on all your stuff COMMITMENT.
If you’re considering buying a dog, don’t. Just don’t. Buying dogs from pet stores or from Craigslist supports puppy mills and low quality back yard breeders.
If you’ve read this far and your family still wants to get a dog this holiday season, hooray! Dogs rule! Just don’t shop, adopt. You might even wait until after the holidays, because the shelters will probably be full of unwanted dogs of all ages, dropped off by people who didn’t read this article.
If you work with our friends at the Humane Society for Hamilton County, you can ignore most of the above because they make it their life’s work to make darn sure you’re honestly ready to adopt a dog. This will include a 6 page application followed by a counseling process that is designed to prevent someone from making an impulse decision or one that doesn’t involve the entire family or current pets.
Turn the whole procedure into a learning experience, and bring your whole family with you to choose your new lifelong companion.
And then call us at Leo’s Pet Care at 317-721-7387 for your lifelong veterinary care. :)