Christmas morning. The smell of coffee and mom’s perfect egg bake casserole in the oven. Laughter, the perfect gifts, the loving family around the tree happy that everyone got everything on their list. No coal this year!
 
Then you look at each other with a conspiratorial smile. You know the kind. The mom and dad invisible nudge as you look at your son who is genuinely happy with his gifts even though something is missing.
 
One of you sneaks into your bedroom and grabs the puppy while the other gets the leash the collar the bed and the food. Best Christmas ever!
 
Screams of delight from all of the kids. I promise I’ll walk it, I’ll feed it, I won’t let it on the furniture, and the list goes on. And the parents want to believe.
 
But money is tight, no money for obedience training. The kids have after school commitments so no long walk, just a quick poop outside. No one knows how to discipline and so everyone is doing their own thing and the dog is trying so hard to be a good boy, he really is, but all he hears is, “Bad dog, bad dog!”
 
He’s not a bad dog, you’re not bad people. Maybe it was just bad timing.
 
The worst part about Christmas for some shelters is January. Dogs get returned and it’s hard on everyone, most of all the dogs.
 
We love adoption day! We celebrate and hope for the best and usually, it’s better than expected. But sometimes it’s not.
 
Before adopting a puppy or an adult dog this holiday season please make a list and check it twice.
 
1. Make sure everyone in the house is committed because having a pet is a family responsibility. When the kids go to college and then move out on their own are you prepared to take over? A healthy dog with good nutrition, exercise, and vet care will be a part of your family for ten to fifteen years or more. If you are looking at downsizing to a community where animals are not welcome or you want to travel or feel that financially it might be a burden, then don’t adopt. Sponsor dogs, come and work with us at the shelter, donate, and more.
 
2. Do you really have the space for a dog?
 
3. Pet-proof your home. Having a dog, especially a puppy, is like having a toddler. Dogs love to eat even when it’s not theirs. You’ve been warned!
 
4. Look at your lifestyle before deciding. That stunning Husky might be calling out your name, but if the kids have sports and afterschool activities and you work long hours you’ll end up with a lonely, vocal, and possibly destructive dog on your hands. Being busy doesn’t say you can’t get a dog but it does mean you need the right dog and that they still need time with you every single day. Daycare can help as well as playdates.
5. Training, Boundaries, ongoing training. Everyone must be on the same page with household rules.
 
There are many more things to consider when getting a pet at any time of the year. At Christmas, we suggest buying the toys, the beds, the leashes. Those can be gift wrapped and then you as a family can come to NEW PAWSibilities to find the perfect dog for your family. It might be a puppy or, if it’s my grandson, your pooch might even be a senior dog. By choosing it together, the bonding as a family starts at the same time.
 
We love helping families find the right dog so consider this list, add your own requirements, and come in and see us because we really do specialize in forever homes and wagging tails.