For the past seven years, I've felt like a bit of a hypocrite as Christmas time. Every time I read an article beseeching readers not to get add a pet to the family at this particular time of year, I'm uncomfortably aware that my family and I did get a pet at Christmas. More specifically, Allie joined our family on December 26, 2002.
We didn't plan it that way. Our beloved Sheltie, Cory, had died suddenly two months earlier, and I found it very difficult to write about dogs and their care without having a dog here in the house to care for. So after a mere month of dog-less agony, I started looking for local Golden Retriever litters and breeders (and yes, I worked through the local breed club to find reputable breeders). The day before Thanksgiving, Julie, Stan and I visited a nearby breeder who had a 3-week-old litter of 11 Golden Retriever puppies. Not surprisingly, we fell in love, and put a deposit on a puppy the breeder chose for us. That puppy was Allie, and she was ready to join us the day after Christmas. And although I'd forgotten how time-consuming and challenging raising a puppy can be, none of those time-sucks and challenges Allie posed had anything to do with the holidays.
So what advice would I give to the average pet owner who wants a dog for Christmas? Think carefully about what you're doing and why, and if you have any doubts, wait till after the holidays. But if you don't, and the timing works out for a holiday adoption -- well, what the heck?
And as for average pet owners and experts' sometimes contemptuous attitudes toward them -- well, that's the stuff for another post. Right now I've got a book to finish.