By Juliana Weiss-Roessler
A new puppy or dog may seem like the perfect gift for the holidays. After all, what could be more exciting than meeting a new wiggly friend under the Christmas tree?
But the decision to bring an animal into your life should be one that’s carefully considered by its new Pack Leader. Are you ready to make a lifetime commitment? Can you provide regular exercise and consistent rules, boundaries, and limitations? Do you have the financial capacity to provide for all your dog’s needs? What dog will be the right fit for your lifestyle?
And the holiday season usually isn’t the best time to introduce a new pack member. It’s a time of excitement and high emotions — not an environment that’s likely to encourage calm, balanced behavior.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should forget the idea. Getting a dog may be something that your loved one didn’t consider before, and your suggestion could bring them joy for years to come.
Instead, consider these alternatives that will light up your loved one’s holidays while still giving them the opportunity to give the decision the time and consideration it deserves.
Alternatives to Giving a Dog as a Gift
A Stuffed Animal
Announce your intention to help your loved one adopt a dog by gifting a stuffed one. The reveal will be fun, since they get the experience of unwrapping the gift, and then you can select the right one together later. With a little bit of research, you can find a stuffed animal for almost any dog breed available, so you can also have fun selecting the right one to wrap up!
A Dog Care Book
It’s a great option because it’s very clear what the real gift will be, but it also reminds the potential new Pack Leader about the commitment they will make to the new addition.
A Collar With a Blank Tag
Let their imagination run wild with possible names for the new family member! Choose a collar with a design like dog bones or something similar to make it clear that you’re suggesting a pup and not another type of animal (unless you’d like to open up the options!)
Shelter Gift Certificate
If you already know that the individual is ready and willing to adopt a dog, this is a great option. You’re encouraging them to rescue a dog, and giving them the opportunity to find the right match for their lifestyle.
Shelters and rescues are always on the lookout for help, so many are more than willing to work with you to arrange a volunteer day for your loved one. It’s a great opportunity to give it a trial run and experience firsthand the responsibility (and joy!) they’ll be bringing into their lives if they decide to adopt. (And, as a bonus, it’s a great holiday gift for the shelter dogs, too.)
Is your dog a rescue? Tell us her adoption story in the comments.