Can a dog just be for Christmas, not life?
As a person passionate about animal welfare I frequently tell people the old adage that a "dog is for life not just for Christmas". In the past many people bought cute puppies for a Christmas gift only to find that come the New Year the dog was no longer cute nor wanted.
Our first dog was such a dog.
Back in 1972 it was still possible to buy dogs from pet shops in the UK. Enter Drupi.
Somehow or other we went to our local pet shop to buy a goldfish and came out with a 12-week-old dog. He had been what turned out to be an unwanted Christmas gift. The owner was still in the shop as we bought him and it was easy to see that all she wanted was for the dog to get a good home. With three young children he was just too lively for her.
He was our first dog as a married couple and our only one which did not arrive with us through a rescue service. He was a super dog, a liver-brown coloured cross Labrador. He was faithful, loving, fun and lived to be past 18.
Since Drupi we have had a fair few dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. We have only had one foster dog and she came to us aged around nine months and lived with us until she died aged around 14 in 2015. Hubby could just not her go to another home, no matter how good it would have been.
So there are are perils to taking a dog into your home on a temporary basis but if you are able to give it a go at Christmas read on.
Before you think "great we can do that this Christmas" give the matter serious thought. Here is a little advice:
1-Never promise want you cannot fulfill
2-Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you
3-Get as much information as possible about the dog.
4-Timings are important.
5-Get a signed agreement.
6-Check out liabilities and the insurance situation before you commit
7-Know what you are expected to pay, ie urgent vet bills.
8-Don't feel pressurised
Is it for you?
No matter what time of year could you foster a dog or cat?
It may be early for Christmas planning but not in this case. Check out local rescue centres and get yourself approved as a foster home nice and early.
If your plans would allow an unexpected additional visitor sound out a local rescue centre now. You will still need to have a person and home check in order to ensure that the dog will be in safe hands and that you can accommodate it.
If it is too late for this year think ahead for next Christmas.
Some animal rescue centres are already issuing appeals for temporary homes for dogs in their care. This allows the staff, often volunteers, to get some well earned time off but also places the dogs in a loving environment for Christmas.
If like me you are a dog nut you will not like to think of any animal locked up in a shelter over the Christmas period. It may not be easy to take in a foster dog but it could be many things including fun and rewarding.
So what about it?
Are you up for the challenge?