Don’t Buy that Puppy in the Window

25 Dec

You only have a few hours left until Christmas, and if you’re like us, you’re doing the last minute “oh shit I’m running out of time” scramble.   While there are many suitable last minute gift options out there (think jewelry, electronics, and gift certificates), getting a puppy as a Christmas surprise is NOT one of them.  Seriously.  Don’t do it.


We’ve all seen those videos online of small children squee-ing with glee as a fuzzy puppy flops out of a box with a giant red bow.  Here’s the thing though. Kids (and frankly, a lot of adults) are notoriously unreliable (and smelly and gross…oh wait…different blog post).  Anyway, the puppy melts their hearts for a few days or weeks. The kids oohing and aahing under the tree while harassing the new puppy will soon move on to video games and  texting their friends 322 times per day.  It’s no coincidence that you never see viral youtube videos of a family ignoring their dog once the novelty wears off.

until I get bored.

One major problem with the surprise Christmas pup is that pretty much no ethical dog “provider” (whether it be a breeder or a shelter) will support the idea of giving a dog as a surprise present. Good breeders have spent years carefully creating breeding programs and selecting proper owners. Similarly, experienced rescue group volunteers and shelter workers generally hate the whole idea of the Christmas dog because they know many of those dogs will be coming back to them a few months later.

So what kind of dogs are readily available at Christmas?  Probably the ones you shouldn’t get. Puppy mills grind out thousands of puppies to meet holiday demand and fill up pet store windows around the country.  If we have to explain to you why one shouldn’t buy a puppy mill dog, then you should do us a favor and a) punch yourself in the throat and b) do a google search.  And not necessarily in that order.

So ultimately, if you are looking to surprise someone for Christmas, get them an Xbox or iPhone, or a nice cozy scarf instead.   When you get bored with it, you can shove it in a dark recess of your closet without worrying it will piss on your sweater and a chew a hole in your wall.





22 Responses to “Don’t Buy that Puppy in the Window”

  1. Debby Bell December 25, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    well, sadly, you will see a video of that “christmas puppy” several years down the road, as a rescue group reports a dog left chained to their door,a nearly starved to death dog saved from a back yard chain,a picture of a heart broken soul dumped in a shelter with the excuse”we just dont have time”

  2. Donnadw December 25, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    There was a rescue this year that advertised that if you adopted a dog from their shelter, they would drop it off on Christmas for you.

    • ProudK911 December 25, 2014 at 6:33 am #

      Gosh, I sure hope that was a typo in the newspaper and was supposed to read: after; not “at”!
      I never did understand wanting a new dependent creature for a present… (Unless asked for & planned by a responsible adult and usually not ON Christmas!)

      Happy Holidays- Goodwill towards ALL kind – NO more dog laws!!!


  3. Diane December 25, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    I once got a puppy several days before Christmas but there are no kids in the house, no family to speak of so no big confusing crowds here and, besides, we already had the x-pen up surrounding the tree protecting it from the other dogs (in theory). In actuality, it doesn’t keep them from standing on the sofa, with their front paws on the arm, and reaching 4 feet up to delicately pluck a cherished ornament or two off the tree. And all the ornaments are edible. Edible being defined as not poisonous and not capable of slicing intestines to ribbons.

    • Diane December 25, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      PS: Merry Christmas to everyone and a healthy and happy New Year to the 2-legs and 4-legs.

    • Cathy December 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      LOL! Reminds me of our Brittany we had. He thought the Christmas tree was loaded with balls just for him! We had to have all unbreakable ones (i.e. plastic) that were within the tree in his reach. Fortunately he didn’t try to eat them – he just liked carrying them around.

      • Mick December 29, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

        My Brittany did the exact same thing his first Christmas. Caught him once delicately taking the one glass ball that wasn’t hung high enough back to his bed (that got moved fast!)

  4. Jeanine Collins December 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    If anyone is still looking, there is a line of wines under the “Bitch” label. I’ve had both the white and the bubbly (pink champagne) and — like– recommend them– highly. Good value for money. (Unfortunately my local wine store doesn’t place much credence in the assertion that these wines are named after me, and doesn’t give me a discount. Dang it!!) But if you have dog-related friends or adults that want a puppy but should know better, this is just the thing. Or even if yo want something sparkling for New Year’s eve, and you’ve invited a buncha dog people…..

    And if you are the vinter and want to send me coupons for recommending you, PLEASE go ahead…..

    Meanwhile, listen to the dog snobs and get puppies only for yourselves and preferably at some other time of year.

    sincerely, a dog and w(h)ine snob

  5. Cathy December 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    It so annoyed me to hear the local shelter advertising to “come and adopt a puppy/kitten for Christmas” – they of all people should know better! Saying that those poor little animals shouldn’t be in the shelter for Christmas. Heck, they don’t know it’s Christmas and that they’ll be missing anything! Not to mention that means probably at least 90% will be an impulse adoption – and that they’ll be back because they weren’t actually prepared to take care of an animal or accept the responsibilities that go with it.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for all of the great articles you grace us with throughout the year!

  6. Shearaha December 25, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    I have an acquaintance who is adopting a pair of Guinea Pigs, from a local shelter, for her son for Christmas. She got all the necessary supplies and wrapped them for his Christmas gifts. They’re going this weekend to pick out and take home their new pets. I think that’s a much better way to surprise someone with a pet.

    • loveabull December 30, 2014 at 2:42 am #

      This one is an excellent idea. One more thought on the subject…Please realize that ANY pet a family acquires is not “for the children”. As a parent any critter brought home may ultimately end up your pet so consider wisely. Case in point, my first pets besides goldfish were gerbils. However my mother was deathly afraid of rodents running loose. you can imagine the excitement when the cat toppled the lid off the cage one night. My Dad caught both gerbies alive and well…my Mum probably wasn’t comfortable for quite some time after I’m sure.

  7. Fuzzy December 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    I’ve done it, but I’m mom, and the pup was as much or more for me as the kids. Saved me a short ton of money in useless plastic crap, though, and when the tried to get tired of it I used it as a lesson in taking care of things for the youngest who didn’t havve a baby sibling to take care of.

    The neglect of the animal isn’t the kids fault, but the parents who don’t have the backbone to make sure the kids keep up their obligations.

    • pommom101690 December 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      I agree 100%. It is the idiot parents’ faults.

      I mean who really expects their six year old to be able to provide all the care involved with having a pet? I can’t think of any.

      • loveabull December 30, 2014 at 2:46 am #

        I not speaking for the maturity of all children but in my experience raising five to adulthood. Under ten and you can’t expect much more than remembering to feed a goldfish without supervision…with some kids not even that.

  8. No Spam December 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    idea for follow up piece:
    Don’t Buy That Puppy On Your Browser Window
    (10 Scrutinizing Questions You Should Ask the Breeder
    Just Because You See Cute Pics Online Doesn’t Mean Your Internet Order Puppy Isn’t From a Mill)

    • Diane December 28, 2014 at 12:08 am #

      . . . and the cute pics, in a lot of cases, are stolen . . .

  9. pommom101690 December 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    As someone who does rescue RESPONSIBLY, I can tell you that I personally cringe every time we get one of those emails from someone looking for a gift. Um, ma’am, this is a dog rescue, not Macy’s. Seriously? Ugh!

    If you want to pay the adoption fee for someone else, that is totally fine with us, but the person who will actually be caring for the dog MUST be the one to fill out the application. They MUST be the one for whom we do the vet reference and home visit. I couldn’t care less who writes us a check, honestly.

    Typically, we see the above situation when an adult child wants to pay the fee for their parents. Since we require that you be an adult to adopt from us, we don’t really have to worry about 12 year olds adopting.

    Last year, it was exceptionally bad. A puppy mill had just been raided in North Alabama, and we ended up with 2 pomeranians and 7 yorkies. We were inundated with emails from people who wanted to bring these dogs home before Christmas. The dogs weren’t even in our possession yet before the emails started rolling in. Give me a break.

    That brings me to my second and somewhat unrelated topic. Could you please do an article on adopting mill survivors? We get so many people who want to run out and adopt because 1) it makes them feel good or 2) they are getting a purebred dog for much cheaper than a breeder. So many of these people fail to realize that many of these dogs are emotionally damaged and they need experienced owners. As the proud mom of a Chi who spent 11years in a mill, I understand that all the work that goes into these guys is totally worth it, but they aren’t for everyone. That’s ok. I just wish people would understand and accept their limits.

    • nuviyamals December 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      We had one litter of pups back in 2009. Some of the whackos that came out of the woodwork made my husband want to keep every single one of them. (He actually wanted to anyway, but that is beside the point.) Our favorite whacko was the person who called wanting to get her dad one as a gift and thought we were ridiculous for requiring him to meet us and fill out an application and sign a contract. She called back 3 times to argue with us.

  10. seabrooksr December 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    It’s funny, that while shelters and rescues almost close down and lock their doors on christmas, studies repeatedly show that the christmas dog/puppy has a BETTER chance of retention than other puppies; roughly the same as those adopted from a rescue!

    Theoretically because people become more attached, people are very attached to the giver and therefore the puppy, and it’s far more likely to be a planned, thought out present than a spur of the moment decision. I know for my parents, the “Should we get the kids a puppy for christmas” debate raged on for months, with every side being argued and discussed by the family. Very few people are stupid enough to give a puppy to anyone they do not think honestly wants and will take care of him/her. No one wants to be the Evil Aunt Sally who gave the kids a puppy the parents had to rehome and broke everyone’s heart. Also the dog/puppy often gets the benefit of arriving home when the whole family is present and has extra time to spend with the dog/puppy and help him/her acclimate to their new home.

    So despite repeated studies that show pets as gifts are okay, let’s ignore the empircal evidence and focus on the (often exagerated) anecdotal. Shelters and rescues should definitely close their doors at christmas, increase restrictions and interrogation procedures, and put pets down rather then risk letting them become the dreaded “christmas pet”. Forcing people who want to add to their family at christmas to find available pets elsewhere absolutely does not support backyard breeders at all.

    A shelter delivering pets on Christmas?


  11. Linnea Maxwell December 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Someone called our rescue one February about a found puppy of our breed. We scanned the dog for a chip, traced it to the Hunte Corp. and a local mall pet store. Somehow an owner was located, and even though they had paid around $1,000 in December, they didn’t want him anymore.

    • seabrooksr January 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

      But should we really make policy – policy that condemns homeless animals to die by the thousands based on an anecdote? Even a true one? I have bought a dog for a family member, who gave him a loving forever home. My mother adopted a dog for a family member who gave her a loving forever home. We have celebrated birthdays with the addition of new family members. But our anecdotes are less compelling, incite less outrage, and are not shocking, so they are less valuable.

      Why can’t we acknowledge that most people who get pets are the pet loving kind who try to make the best decisions they can, and stop punishing pets because there are a few people who are irresponsible.

      I am tired of a world where putting dogs to death is preferable to having faith in your neighbour, your community, or humankind.


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