They myth of the Christmas puppy and why shelters must do holiday adoptions
If shelters and rescue groups refuse to adopt out puppies on Christmas Eve, people are going to get puppies somewhere else. They’re going to buy puppies from breeders or pet shops. They’re going to get puppies through Craigslist or from free listings in the classifieds.
They’re not going to adopt from shelters or rescue groups, and that’s a direct failure on behalf of these organizations.
Animal shelters must adopt out dogs and cats over the holidays. They must encourage dogs and puppies as gifts. They must promote the idea of the Christmas puppy.
Why do some rescue groups refuse to offer holiday adoptions?
Because of fear.
Rescue groups obviously want the dogs to go to good homes, and they often have an irrational fear that dogs adopted out as Christmas gifts will just end up back in the shelter system.
Really though, there is no evidence to support the myth that dogs given as Christmas gifts are more likely to be returned. The opposite is actually true.
Bandit the Norwich terrier mix
I’ve been volunteering with Rancho Coastal Humane Society for about six weeks. Every time I visit the dogs, the group has changed. Several have been adopted, and several new dogs have arrived.
But all six weeks, Bandit has remained.
When I spend enough time with a homeless dog, I automatically begin to imagine myself adopting that dog.
I’m not going to adopt any dogs right now, but I can imagine Bandit as my dog. He would make a great running buddy. He’s one of those little dogs who can’t seem to hold still in his cage. However, once he’s taken out I hear he’s fairly calm.
He’s smart and attentive. He seeks affection and treats. I bet he’d be an easy dog to train.
And he’s a cute little thing. Plus very friendly with people and dogs.
Here in southern California the shelters are full of small mixed breeds like Bandit.
He is safe at this particular shelter. However, it’s still a shelter, and a shelter is no place for a dog long term.
To adopt Bandit
His daily ritual
The sun hits my office window every afternoon, and so every afternoon that is where I find Beamer. Wherever the sun goes, he goes.
Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words
Note: I received a free copy of “Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words” in exchange for a review on this blog. I’ve included Amazon affiliate links. The book is written by John W. Pilley with Hilary Hinzmann.
Chaser is a 9-year-old border collie, and her owner and trainer John Pilley says his dog knows the names of more than 1,000 objects. That’s apparently more than any other animal of any species other than humans. It’s a very impressive achievement! How many words does your dog know?
Pilley, who is a retired psychology professor, goes into a lot of details on how he trained his dog. He started working with Chaser in 2004 when he got her as a puppy, and he has published some of his findings in the journal Behavioral Processes. I really admire his patience and willingness to share his teaching methods with us. If every dog were trained by Pilley, I’m sure we’d have a few others with 1,000-word vocabularies.
And how you can avoid the same mistakes
1. I didn’t put myself out there enough at first.
When I was first starting a dog walking business in Fargo, I knew I’d need to get out there and advertise, but I was very shy about it. It took me a few months to take myself seriously as a dog walker. I was worried people would think I was a little crazy for quitting my job at a newspaper. It did help that I was already connected in my local “dog world” because I volunteered with a rescue group, I went to regular dog training classes and I already knew many of the other dog-related business owners.
However, I still needed to “hit the streets” and promote my services. It wasn’t until I spent a significant amount of time going around the community handing out fliers, introducing myself at events and passing out business cards that word of mouth really worked to my advantage. Putting myself out there was very important for speeding up the process, and it’s something I should’ve done much sooner.