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Christmas Puppies

December 10, 2013


With the holidays approaching, we are receiving many applications for ‘Christmas Puppies’. The holiday vacation can be a great time to adopt a puppy, because people are off work and school, etc. But it is also very common to be impulsive – a ‘Christmas Present’ for the family. A puppy is a lifelong commitment. It is so important to note that puppies grow up, and without doing everything ‘right’ from the start, it is possible that the adult dog will be hard to manage. Dogs needs lots of attention, exercise, love, and can cost a lot of money too. Everyone needs to be on board. This is why we do not allow ‘surprise’ puppies over the holidays.

When bringing a dog into the family, consider it a commitment of up to 15 years. Think about everything that can happen in the next 15 years, and how your dog will fit into your plans. And also remember that a puppy can grow into a challenging dog, despite everything you may try to do to ensure he will be well adjusted, social and easy. Just like people, sometimes they are ‘wired’ differently. Please research the breed and don’t adopt a puppy based upon aesthetics alone. Some breeds will not be a good fit for your lifestyle.

This is a photo of my Sutter, the day I brought him home from PPR. He was the picture of puppy cuteness. I did everything ‘right’, starting with safe socialization, and after he was vaccinated he went to the beach, dog park, etc. at least 5 times a week. He came to work with me where he could hang out with Stanford students all day. He went to puppy/dog classes including puppy socials, obedience, ‘tricks and games’, ‘nose work’ and agility. Despite all this, he has given me more grief than I bargained for. Like many herding dogs, he is too smart for his own good, very athletic and high energy. He is also a squirrel/bird hunter, which makes walks difficult, and he is scared of new people including little kids. He is also intolerant of most dogs. He needs to be constantly managed on walks, and I cannot bring him anywhere else. It is socially inhibiting and quite frankly a big pain in the ass.

Seven years have passed, and despite all this – Sutter is my kid. I love him unconditionally and I handle his quirks and idiosyncrasies. He brings love, joy and laughter into my life every day. I will never throw in the towel. I took the commitment very seriously and I will be his protector, guardian and caretaker as long as he lives. It isn’t easy, but I know if I give up on him, there would be very few (if any) people that would take him on. I didn’t know it would be like this when I rescued him, but it is. Adopting a puppy is wonderful, but it can also bring challenge and adversity too. You need to take the good with the bad. It’s totally worth it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ilona Peckham permalink
    July 26, 2015 10:10 PM

    I read this after I read your sad final love letter about Sutter… You cannot blame yourself for anything – and need to believe in the wonderful life you gave him… You gave him a life he would never have had – never even for a moment – and you let him go when you both needed to. He had to have known something was wrong with him – he had to have been in pain of some sort to have felt – acted – reacted the way he did… I have a Cardigan Welsh Corgi girl who is about 8, who I bought from a responsible breeder (and there ARE responsible breeders, because I’ve been – occasionally – breeding & showing Pembroke Welsh Corgis for about 25 years). She has also been socialized, loved, exposed to different situations and people/kids/other animals. But – she is fearful of anyone except immediate family and a favored few friends… She jumps repetitively and relentlessly against the gate in a kennel-run and fights/salivates/thrashes in a crate. Sadly, it’s necessary sometimes to confine her in those ways, because she is aggressive with other dogs, to the point that she can’t even be trusted with MY other dog(s). She seems fine – happy – playful through an x-pen or chain link fence – but once unconfined contact is possible she simply goes ballistic and attacks. If “anyone” else is to have some freedom or house time or attention, she HAS to be confined! Why? Who knows! I just think she has a glitch in her brain – and there isn’t anything anyone can do to change that… Thank goodness she’s not as extreme as your Sutter, but it is limiting/frustrating/draining… Playing musical dogs at home to keep everyone safe is not fun! Controlling her at the vets because in the waiting room she hides under my chair and growls at everyone/everything coming in through the door is frustrating (thankfully she’s OK with the techs/vets/treatment although not happy…). She’s with us until the end, and that will probably be quite awhile… I’ve had people tell me I should “place” her, but how on earth could I do that?! I can’t do that – both for her and for us. We love her and she is wonderful with us, but… Do not feel guilty for taking what was the only option you had! I am only thankful that my Jolene isn’t extreme to the point that she can’t be managed…

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