Last night I was searching for a little Christmas cheer when I stumbled upon “A Shelter Dog’s Christmas Poem.” It was touching – at first. Unfortunately, the poem was on a rescue shelter’s Web site and whoever posted it took the liberty of tagging on a few extra stanzas.

The little add-ons were about giving money to a shelter to help pay for food and care, and also pushed to give dogs a new home for the holiday. I can understand soliciting donations, but pushing to adopt a dog as holiday treat rubbed me the wrong way. In and of itself, it would not have been so bad, but they just went a little too far.

Immediately following the poem, was a little marketing pitch about waiving most of the adoption fees (spay, neuter, vaccinations, etc.) so that people could take a dog home for $30. They even added a nauseating little phrase, “Save over $200 by adopting today!” What the heck? I really thought a rescue shelter would know the pitfalls of scooping up pets for use as holiday gifts. Why not just put up a banner saying, “Help us keep the revolving door of unwanted gift dogs open!”

Shame on them!

I am sure they started out with good intentions. It is just too bad that they opted to treat dog adoptions in the same manner as a shopping at the local mall. I really don’t think that people should be reeled in by a pre-Christmas sale at a shelter.  To even insinuate that adoptions are part of the Christmas equation is a disservice in my opinion.

Whether one pays hundreds of dollars in adoption fees or gets a dog for free, when all is said and done, there will always be costs. Adopting a pet requires dedication and ideally a little forethought. Just like chickens and bunnies at Easter, dogs should not be promoted as cute little gift ideas.

Courtesy Image: Grant Cochrane
Courtesy Image: Grant Cochrane

It’s hard to choose a book for someone else, even harder to pick out a wallet or pocket-book, so why on earth would anyone think that a living, breathing pet is a better choice? It is not.

Of course I want all the rescue dogs to find a happy home, but the holiday season is not an ideal time. Vacations, busy schedules, excited children, visitors, and parties create a very stressful environment for an already stressed out animal. I believe it is best to wait  until after the holidays, freeing up the time and the funds needed to get the pup all set up.

The kids will live if they don’t find a puppy under the tree. It’s too bad we cannot guarantee the same thing for dogs sitting on the shelter because they were at one time a ‘gift puppy’ that wore out its welcome. That brings me back to the shelter with Christmas special. Without thinking, they are perpetuating a well-known problem.

Please! No gift dogs this year!