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Why a Christmas Puppy is a Terrible Idea

A friend called to ask if we had any puppies available in our rescue. It was December 5th. Her husband had seen a Yorkie for sale in a pet store and they wanted to get their four year old daughter a puppy for Christmas. I told her that we had nine lab-mix puppies that we had saved from a local shelter’s euthanization list that would be available just prior to Christmas, and I pleaded with her not to buy a puppy from a pet store. “We’ll find you a Yorkie, if that is what you want. But please don’t buy that puppy mill puppy from the pet store”, I begged her.

Two days later, I found out that they bought the puppy from the pet store and in chatting with the pet store owner, relayed that the pet store’s biggest sales day of the year was – Christmas Eve. Their logic, “That puppy needed a home too. We rescued him from the pet store”. “He came from a breeder”, they justified. Right. A puppy mill breeder.

Puppy mills pump out thousands of puppies in November and December to meet holiday demand. People flock in droves to mall pet stores to purchase puppy mill puppies simply to fulfill the wishes of tiny people that incessantly request a puppy just to find out owning a dog is a ton of work and expense. When you bring a dog into your family you need to understand that you should be ready to commit to being responsible for that dog for its entire lifetime, not just while it is still has its adorable, playful puppiness. This is where the Christmas puppy often falls short – with the children and the parents.

Shelters and rescues dread the holiday season simply because of the Christmas puppy frenzy. Once the realization that this bundle of cuteness is messy, pees on the rug, chews on furniture and shoes, and is as needy as a small child, it’s luster tends to wane. Come January and February, when this realization really hits home, many Christmas puppies become New Year’s shelter surrenders and join all of the non-Christmas dogs that were already needing homes and weren’t considered at Christmas because they had to compete with the shiny, new puppy in the pet store window.

Quality breeders are less likely to produce litters during this season due to the high return and surrender rate. What that leaves available then is the product of the low quality breeders and puppy mills – who tend to produce poorly socialized and inbred dogs that have a much higher likelyhood of allegies, hip displaysia, and other genetic abnormalities.

During this season of giving and gratitude, consider giving a gift instead that won’t be affected if it is left ignored and unloved. If you truely believe your family is ready for the long term commitment and expense of a dog, please consider adoption first and never buy a dog from a pet store.

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