Puppies, the Worst Gift of All Time
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve brought up two dogs of my own starting from eight weeks of age and it was a wonderful experience, but let’s be real; it’s more poop and vomit than it is rainbows and sunshine. By the time a pup reaches the six-month mark, the unsuspecting recipient of your well-intentioned gift now has a velociraptor terrorizing their household.
In fact, summer is prime time for overcrowding in shelters because pets are often given as gifts during the holidays to people who don’t really want or need an extra mouth to feed. By the time May rolls around, owners are dropping off their unruly, overgrown puppy and washing their hands of the problem. That adorable bark and somewhat bearable nip has had 24 weeks to grow larger, stronger, and more difficult to control.
I get it, you were just trying to put a smile on someone’s face, but the fact is that most people don’t have a clue what they’re getting into when they get a dog, let alone a young dog with zero training.
Now the person responsible for the puppy’s well-being is faced with the unpleasant decision of having to rehome their pet, which is never an easy thing to do. Those who choose not to rehome or are unable to, end up dropping that young, high-energy puppy off to the shelter where they’ll likely be euthanized.
It’s Like Having An Infant…That Runs On All Fours
Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like having an actual child, but they know how to put a person’s patience to the test. A puppy requires hours of extra time (that your giftee may not have), and they still don’t have full control of their bladder until they’re past six months of age. Even then, their body and their bladder have about a year and a half left of growth to get through, so the owner can kiss that nice clean, odor-free carpet goodbye.
Even though your niece probably loves playing outside with her furry new pal, I can promise you that her parents are already fed up with the 2AM and 4AM bathroom breaks by the second week. Especially since it’s not going to change the fact that the carpet is ruined…like, permanently.
If that doesn’t work their last nerve, the incessant whining that occurs when puppies don’t get their way is enough to make a person want to rip their hair out.
Destruction is Inevitable
If you’ve ever been around a small child, you know that if they’re quiet and out of sight, they’re probably up to no good…puppies are just like that. The only real difference is that it’s frowned upon to put a toddler in a kennel as a repercussion.
I’ll never forget the day I found a pair of brand new Keds and a sandal that had been completely torn to shreds. My boyfriend just bought them for me three weeks earlier; ironically, he also brought home the Black Labrador puppy who did the damage.
This particularly ravenous puppy also liked to chew up furniture, dig through the trash, and use his size to overpower my older dog and steal all her toys. If the recipient of your lovely chewing, pooping gift is smart, they’ll start kennel training…that is, if they can afford a kennel.
Dogs Aren’t Cheap, Okay?
Unless you’re planning on delivering this lovely new responsibility to the recipient with an appropriately sized crate, a full round of shots, a year’s worth of food, and a gift card for all of the shoes, toys, and miscellaneous items that will inevitably end up destroyed, take a little more time to sleep on that well-intended decision.
Dogs are an ongoing bill, and that bill includes so much more than just feeding. Any number of factors including breed could also mean that this pup is going to be prone to ear, eye, and skin infections, which sometimes require daily medication. If you have a particularly rambunctious pup, they may just hurt themselves doing simple things like wagging their tails or running too hard and too fast on concrete.
In the dog world, things like “happy tail” and “cherry eye” aren’t as much fun as they sound.
Every Dog is Different
My pups had radically different personalities, and we definitely got lucky with the first one. Lilo, my pittie mix, has always had an incredibly laid back demeanor and a much calmer, more gentle approach than Stitch when it comes to meeting others.
Lilo grew up in a household where she was exposed to men, women, children, other dogs, and friends of the family. She was well socialized, and because of this we never really had to worry about her being reactive or overly excited when introduced to strangers. She did have a chew streak while she was teething, but aside from that, we had scored a diamond in the rough.
Stitch was exactly the opposite, and to be honest, he was kind of an asshole for a Labrador. He was fairly dominant, and even growled at me a few times when he felt challenged. Still, he was always friendly with other dogs and loved people as a true Lab would, but he’d completely lose his shit anytime he met someone new. As a big, strong, athletic dog, I was sincerely concerned; we lived in an apartment complex with lots of children. The last thing I wanted was a misunderstanding.
This wasn’t as an adult, this was his behavior around the four to five-month mark.
So, we went ahead and had his testicles removed.
I didn’t want to wait until he was big enough to know that he could overpower me, and Lilo hadn’t been spayed yet. Although, he was the one pissing on my couch, she was just trying to take a nap on it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my big guy. I learned to communicate and train him in a way that he preferred and understood, but not everyone is willing to stick it out that long…especially if they didn’t want the dog in the first place.
You may have had an incredibly pleasant experience bringing up your pup as we did with Lilo, but the majority of people end up with a Stitch that they don’t know how to train or deal with.
Believe it or not, I didn’t write all of this because I hate puppies.
I cannot remember a single moment in my childhood when there wasn’t a rescue, a stray, or a puppy living in my home. My parents are animal lovers and had the desire to save every dog they’d come across. I’ve volunteered with various rescue groups and cleaned up my fair share of urine and feces through working as a Kennel Technician. I’m telling you now, puppies as presents are not the way to go.
When Christmas rolls around, just get them a Groupon to the zoo; this way you can avoid saddling your loved one with an extra financial burden, and prevent another puppy from growing into a dog who eventually ends up at the pound.