Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dear Santa....

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

Dear Santa, 

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.  
For Life.  
For Ever.

(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. 

Santa, can you deliver the goods?

Love, Jean

(c) Jean Ballard, 2012


georgia little pea said...

Beautiful pictures and a lovely letter. I hope Santa does his very best. I don't understand how people can be so wicked as to give up their dogs just because they going on holiday or expecting visitors. Happens here too of course. Every year we see ads advising people not to give live animals as pressies (unless they're something like a goat or chickens for a village). Do they work? Not yet :(

Marie said...

Hi, Jean, wonderful posting and so valid too.
I really enjoy your blog and read it daily, your pictures are fabulous!

Jean said...

GLP, you are so right - a great live present is a gift of chickens for villages in developing nations through a reputable charitable organization like World Vision ( Of course, now I have an image in my head of Santa flying through the air with a sleigh full of chickens - complete with goggles and aviator scarves around their scrawny little necks. Oh to be a cartoonist instead of a photographer!
Marie, thanks for your comments! The three photos in this post are all of pitbulls, one of my favourite breeds. Sadly the breed is one most in need of Santa's attention due to unscrupulous breeders and owners. The first and last photo were taken a few years ago for Bully Buddies Rescue; the middle one is a local dog - the owners are looking into classes but have also been in contact with rescues for assistance rehoming - anyone interested in him can contact me via this blog.

Sheryl said...

Now, I've got tears in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

What is it about pitbulls that make them one of your favorite breeds Jean ?
I am curious as I don't know a lot about specific traits of that breed.
The puppies are the cutest.

Jean said...

In response to your question, Wendy, pitbulls - appropriately socialized, of course - are one of the mushiest, kissing-est, cuddliest, people-focused, sweetest, smiling-est, happy, wiggly breeds one could ever hope to meet. They are active outdoors, usually love water and playing fetch, strong and full of life, but indoors they are couch potatoes who like nothing better than to climb on your lap, spoon with you on the couch or bed, use you as a pillow or have you use them as one. While it is a generalization, I would say they have a love of life and a love of family that exceeds that of most breeds and nearly all humans.
When I was a kid, German shepherds were the 'feared' breed - said to kill children, be unreliable, reactive, dangerous. Every incident involving a shepherd type dog made the headlines with 'German shepherd attacks......'. Next it was dobermans. Then rottweilers. Now pittis. Decades ago, the pitbull was the most popular pet for families. It showed up frequently on television shows (I think the very popular 50s show Our Gang featured a pitbull?). Now it has been demonized. Nine times out of ten, a person reporting a "pitbull attack" probably couldn't even pick a pitbull out of a lineup of five or six other large, shorthaired, muscular dogs. Yes, they are strong dogs. Yes, unscrupulous breeders have been breeding for aggression instead of for a positive temperament. Yes, there are people who don't take the time to learn about the breed, to train their dog, who don't control their pitti - but that is also true of other breeds.
Years ago I had a fluffy mid-sized mixed breed Benji-type dog who nipped a young visiting child right on the bridge of her nose - breaking the skin. Had that been a pitbull, people would have been screaming for a breed ban. But it was never even reported to any official or media.
We don't need to ban pitbulls, we need to enact better legislation that governs owners of ALL breeds of dogs. Punish the deed, not the breed.

Anonymous said...

Well said Jean.
I've watched pitbulls & pups with their people (I just hope those people are worthy of them!!!)
I could see that the pups were VERY mushy, sweet, sensitive and totally focused on their people.
The plight of animals will not improve unless laws are put into place to protect them.
It's fundamental.

Dom said...

And then I cried...

CAPB said...

A wonderful post, Jean, with beautiful photos. It brought tears to my eyes.

Lisbeth said...

Great post, Jean!
~Lisbeth, Cowichan Canine

Pauley James said...

I bet Santa will not make it through your letter without crying :( It is a beautiful letter.

Pauley James