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Woof Wednesday: How To Give Puppies As Gifts

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"I fit in your Christmas stocking..." (Copr. RickieBPhotography)

I’m just home from a WONDERFUL and long-overdue visit with my parents–and got to see my brother and sis-in-law, too. I had a lovely visit and ate and talked way too much AND….(drum roll please)….I didn’t do ANY work. Well, I read and answered a couple emails but that’s it. So today’s blog is brief but also has some important info especially around the holidays. If this is a re-run of some info previously shared, tough cupcakes…it bears repeating. I hope you’ll share with others contemplating a “furry” Christmas morning.

Everyone who adores puppies wants to share the furry love affair and give puppy gifts, but not everyone is ready to receive puppies as gifts. Maybe the recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness. But don’t gamble with a puppy’s life. Sure, Grandma is lonely and needs a wagging lap-warmer to keep her company. But she may have other plans, such as traveling to visit all the grandkids. A puppy that chews up Aunt Ethel’s hat collection will cost you favorite nephew status. A busy new parent may want a pup for their kids, but have other demands that take priority.

I used to say NEVER EVER give a puppy (or kitty) as a gift, especially around the holidays but new stats from a study by the ASPCA showed that holiday pets actually do stay in homes pretty well. So I’ve amended my recommendations. You can give pets as gifts–you just need to know how to do it. Here are 4 steps to giving a puppy — the right way.

You can also refer to these questions to ask before someone adopts a pet–and put yourself in the recipient’s “paws.” That helps you (and them) choose the best puppy match. Here are 7 questions to ask before you get that puppy.

Finally, how do you know what’s a good puppy (or kitten) source? There are many folks this time of year advertising cute fuzzy pets available for Christmas morning. They’re available from shelters, from breeders,  from newspaper ads, and even in the WalMart parking lot (ew!). Some may become wonderful pets but having a good start in life can make a big difference in how they’ll develop and become family members. Besides, you don’t want to support “bad” establishments even if you feel like rescuing that needy waif. So here are 10 questions to ask that puppy source.

Did you ever give–or receive–a pet as a gift? Was it a good experience–what challenges did you face? Where did you find the dog of your dreams? What are some other tips to think about when “gifting” someone with a new pet? Please share!

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About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

9 responses »

  1. Fantastic post with great advice and resources Amy. I’ve never received a puppy as a gift but my Mom did get me a beautiful blank adult cat one year from our local shelter. Enigma, as we named him, was around 7 years old. He fit in BEAUTIFULLY. Honestly, I’ve never seen a cat adjust like he did. We brought him home from the shelter, let him loose in the house and he calmy went up the stairs to the landing and promptly laid down…purring…It was like he said “ahhhh…I’m home!”
    It was the best experience ever. I had him for 13 years and adored him. He slept on my head, literally, every single night. We were bonded from day 1. I miss him every single day. Having him put down, due to health issues, was the hardest thing ever…
    Although I had a tremendous experience, I normally don’t advise people to give pets as gifts unless you know the soon-to-be owners and their pet desire VERY well. It’s the kind of thing that’s best left in the hands of the owner themselves…

  2. Hi Natalie, I’m so glad you had a wonderful experience. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the name “Enigma” for a cat. *s*

  3. My aunt and uncle just got a puppy for their kids – probably about a month early, which I definitely approve of because it gives puppy some time to feel at home before crazy holiday excitement really kicks in. Adorable little goldendoodle named Finn, still learning his manners… and, much to my aunt’s dismay, still working on that whole potty training thing. Except his issue doesn’t seem to be the cold (not that we’ve had much of it this year so far – it’s been a very rainy December)… he just gets DISTRACTED. By EVERYTHING. LOL

    Was helping them out by taking him out a bit one evening while they had hid over at my grandparents’ place to wrap gifts for the kids, and he decided that the bushes all needed sniffed first. Then he saw another dog, which was really exciting. Then he saw a chunk of ice which was even MORE exciting. Several times we went out, a few minutes each per the vet’s advice to my aunt (if he doesn’t go within 3 minutes bring him back in for a few so eventually he learns that the first thing he does when outside is go potty)… after try 3, not 2 minutes after we got him inside, he pees on the floor. *facepalm* Ahh kids… but he’s still a wee little thing yet. He is already starting to learn “no chew” and “no bite”… and has already perfected his sulking face when you tell him he can’t chew on something. Flattens right out on the floor, head on his paws, and stares up at you like you just cancelled Christmas.

    As I understand it he gets just as disappointed when you won’t let him eat his own poo. Hopefully she got the articles I forwarded her on that. She says he hasn’t figured out what treats are yet but boy does he love poop. Hoo boy…

    I’m actually pretty impressed with how calm he is already, though. Now here’s hoping he learns to focus a bit so he’ll actually go pee when he needs to – OUTSIDE. LOL

  4. There’s a ton of important advice here that everyone needs to read when contemplating a pet as a present. Pets truly are the gifts that keep on giving with all the love they bring into our homes but we sure do need to know what to expect before we make the move. Thanks for putting it all out there for us.
    Your visit home sounded wonderful Amy. Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

  5. Pingback: Thursday’s blog love fest… – Natalie Hartford

  6. Loved your post, and couldn’t agree more! Even though I loooove pets and could bring one home every day (I don’t!!), I’m not sure I would react very well to such a present, not matter how well intended. It has to be a household decision with everything taken in consideration carefully and thoroughly. After all, pets are not toys and they do require family commitment for many years to come!
    After desiring a dog for more than 10 years while we’ve had our easy-going, easy-to-take care of- two cats, last Christmas, my husband and I decided we were ready to get a puppy. My husband started working from home and he was able to transition him through training, multiple potty breaks, dog-park visits which made an amazing difference in how our German Shepperd puppy adjusted, has been trained and socialized. I think he’s a tremendous joy and so well worth the wait!! Ares just turned one at the beginning of November, and is an absolutely incredible family member, smart, responsive, sensitive with our cat’s needs and ready to play all the time~
    Wish your post would reach as many people as possible when they are contemplating adopting or buying a pet impulsively!

  7. Pingback: Feline Friday: A Christmas Cat Story « Amy Shojai's Blog

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