The statement, 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®' was created by former Dogs Trust (UK) CEO and Trustee, Clarissa Baldwin CBE in 1978.
It is such a meaningful statement. Sadly, I don’t think enough people take it seriously.
Many, many years ago, we gave our son a puppy for his 12th birthday. That little black kelpie pup lived until she was nearly 18 years old. By that time, our son was about to turn 30 and lived in the UK. He had named his dog ‘Olympus’, which we changed to just ‘Ollie’ and we loved her and cared for her even though she ‘belonged’ to our travelling son.
Years passed and when we were ready, we gained another puppy — for ourselves, this time. She was a cavoodle, named ‘Matilda’. When Matilda was a puppy, she wasn’t much bigger than our small grandson’s shoe. That grandson was 20 when Matilda died, in her 16th year.
On social media, families sometimes post cute videos of their kids being presented with a puppy, showing a delighted and delightful response. But we wonder if the young 6-year-olds receiving those gifts of a puppy will still be promising to feed, walk and love their dogs when they (the kids) are aged 12, or 16, or so? Will the parents willingly continue to care for the puppy, that is no longer a puppy?
Also on social media are sites showing pictures of dogs needing ‘foster care’ or a new home. There’s a noticeable similarity around the dogs in these ads. There’s a shared ‘look’ about them. They mostly resemble some sort of pit-bull cross, or ‘tough looking’, muscle-bound — dare I say, ‘mean-looking’ hound! Maybe a staffy (American Staffordshire Terrier) cross.
It's a generalisation, I admit, but some men (or families) have a need to own a powerful looking crossbred dog to give them a certain look to perhaps show they and their property are well protected. But do they know the ‘golden rule’ relating to, 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’? Do they lose interest when they find out how much it costs to feed their (no longer a) puppy. The obstacles in their way when they decide to have a holiday without the trouble of a doggy companion – and the care it involves? Or even to find a suitable home that would continue to cater for a biggish dog, that needs room to move?
And, for 12 – 17 years?
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.