We know the phrase, “a puppy/kitten is for life, not for Christmas” but still hundreds are received as gifts every year and many are taken to shelters or worse, abandoned. What can we do to help these little guys?
Christmas is a very special time of year for everyone. For a lot of people it is celebrating with your friends and loved ones, eating a large turkey dinner until your stomach starts to bulge. For others it is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. For me, what I love most about this time of year is the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, twinkling lights, copious amounts of food, carol singing and everyone is in a festive mood.
Parents, husbands and wives will shop around looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones, something that expresses how much they care. If you’re like me, and getting a gift each year proves more and more difficult you can start to feel pretty desperate. Then one day you find yourself wandering past a pet shop and seeing an adorable, beautiful little puppy in the window that screams ‘I’m the perfect gift PICK ME!’ Then I am going to have to stop you right there, and help you think for a second.
Good Intentions, Bad Idea
While you may think it’s incredibly cute, other people may not agree or be completely ready to look after an animal. Weather it is a rabbit, dog or cat, all animals require care an attention, so this decision should only be made by the owner and owner alone, not somebody suddenly dropping an extra mouth into their lives.
Christmas is the worst time of year for abandoned pets, figures released by the RSPCA show tha 3 animals each hour are being dumped on the side of the road or left in the woods to starve.
One dog breed in particular really does have a bad time over Christmas and that is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or better known as ‘Staffies’. I have worked with these dogs and I can honestly tell you they are one of the soppiest dog breeds. The Battersea Rescue Centre never put a healthy dog down and so far there are three dogs who have now spent their second Christmas at the charity. An average stay in a kennels for a dog is around 28 days but for three Staffies called Bazzle, Blue and Rico, they have now spent a total of 36 months making them some of the longest standing residents.
The Staffie has developed a bad reputation over the years by people associating them with irresponsible owners or anti-social behaviour in general. The dog has never changed throughout the years but our opinion and the way we treat them has. Who are the real villains? Like any dog they require care , love and attention and if treated correctly will deliver that patience and loyalty right back to you.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006
Those of you getting a new member of the family should be familiar with the Animal Welfare Act, this means pet owners need to follow certain rules in order to be able to keep an animal happy and make sure its five welfare needs are taken care of.
- need for a suitable environment
- need for a suitable diet
- need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- need to be housed with or apart from other animals
- need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
This means if a pet owner is not following the rules inspectors can now act by educating the owners before the pets starts to suffer too much. If the advice is not followed and the needs of the animal is not being met action will be taken by giving a warning or in some cases prosecution.
Animals are living beings that are able to feel emotion and pain, so if you would like to get an animal as a pet, always check if the person your giving the present too actually wants a pet and is able to meet all of their needs. If they are never home, do not get them a pet, its that simple. I am not saying to never get an animal for a gift, as they do make great companions and member of the family, I just want the decision to be properly thought out. Are you ready for the responsibility? Just remember, they don’t stay puppies/kittens forever.
We you all and all your animal friends have a wonderful Christmas