Well, here it is – December. The month of beautiful lights and colourful trees, of carolers and Christmas plays and community celebrations. The month of Carol Boats, and Breakfast with Santa, and Christmas Parades. The month of hustle and bustle and family gatherings. And the month when unwanted dogs sit outside in the cold.
For the next three weeks, shelters and rescues will be bombarded with people wanting to dump their old dogs before company arrives, or before they leave on vacation. A few weeks after that, those same organizations will have to deal with the influx of ‘Christmas Present’ puppies and young dogs, ‘presents’ that people abandon once the novelty has worn off and the reality of animal care sets in.
And so the child in me writes her letter to Santa, the adult in me guiding the pen:
|(c) Jean Ballard, 2012|
I know just what I want for Christmas, but I don’t think even you can deliver it.
I want shelters to be empty and rescues to have no one to rescue.
I want unscrupulous breeders and idiotic owners to stop breeding.
I want landlords to stop banning pets.
I want owners to stop dumping dogs.
I want every dog to be a full member of their family, not a lawn decoration chained to a post.
I want every dog to receive the exercise, healthy food, mental stimulation, comfortable housing, grooming, training, and love it so needs.
I want every dog to be loved.
|(c) Jean Ballard, 2012|
So, please Santa, this Christmas instead of all those toys and clothes and electronic gadgets you are expected to deliver, could you fill your sleigh with more important things?
Could you fill it with big red sacks of love for animals, colorful boxes of a true caring spirit, giant stockings full of a sense of responsibility, packages containing a new vision of family, and a very large bundle of dedication and commitment?
Among those gifts, tuck some donations to animal rescues and shelters, some spay/neuter certificates, some gift certificates for doggy school and grooming and petsitting and dog walking. Toss in some safety collars and harnesses, some long lines, some dog puzzles and toys, some books on purely positive methods of training.
And if someone on your ‘Nice’ list really, really, really wants a puppy for Christmas? Well, maybe you could bring that person a little stuffed dog, with a note attached – a note that says after Christmas you will help them search rescues and shelters to find their new best friend and lifelong companion.