A friend, family member, or coworker has told you the exciting news: they have decided to get their family a puppy for Christmas. As a seasoned dog owner, you may have quite a few things to say about this. Here is not what to say to a person who is buying a puppy for Christmas.
“Why Don’t You Adopt?”
If you are a person who often asks the question, “Who rescued who?” the idea of a friend getting a puppy from a breeder may be infuriating. After all, there are so many loving, wonderful dogs to be adopted! Even puppies! We here at DogTime are huge rescue advocates, so we understand the anger…to an extent. If your friend is considering a puppy as a Christmas gift, there is a good chance that they have done a spent a great deal on time researching a reputable breeder and picking out the perfect puppy with whom they have already fallen in love. Pressuring them to adopt a dog instead of buy the dog they have already named may make them feel guilty around you because of their decision to buy instead of adopt.
On the other hand, if they have discussed getting a-yet-to-be-determined puppy from a pet shop, maybe give them a gentle nudge to research breeders who can still give them the purebred puppy of their dreams without supporting a puppy mill.
“Do You Know How Much Work Puppies Are?”
Maybe your friend isn’t someone you see as a successful puppy owner. Maybe they are flaky and irresponsible or work 60 hour weeks. Either way, you think that this friend or relative getting a puppy for Christmas is downright reckless.
You may be right, but there is a better way to address the issue. Flat out asking “You know puppies are a LOT of work, right?” is passive aggressive and condescending. Instead, share the excitement and ask what rescue or breeder your friend is looking into. If they answer your question with a blank stare, you can offer some of your rescue or breeder knowledge, or talk about how much you typically spend – both financially and time-wise – on your dog. Hopefully, your friend is on the same page as you and understands the full responsibilities that come with raising a puppy. If he seems lost or crestfallen, then you can have the heart-to-heart concerning whether or not he should really get a puppy for Christmas.
“So-And-So Got Their Family A Dog For Christmas And It Was A Disaster”
Your relative tells you she is getting her family a puppy for Christmas, and you immediately launch into your neighbor’s horror story of getting a puppy for Christmas that they gave up only six months later. You want to insure your relative has a positive puppy experience, and giving one as a Christmas gift is NOT the way to go.
While it may be tempting to do this – you are just warning her, after all – it is not helping the situation in any shape or form. Just because you know someone who had a terrible puppy-giving experience doesn’t mean that she will have one, too.
If your friend really seems like they are not up to the task of caring for a puppy beyond Christmas or they are getting a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, rescue, or puppy mill, it is perfectly reasonable to have a serious conversation with them. If you do have to have this conversation, be sure to do so in an open, non-accusatory manner. After all, if you are horrible to this friend about their decision, not only will you not be invited to puppy play-dates, but you could hurt your relationship in the long run.
Have you ever given or received a puppy as a gift? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.