A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

puppy for ChristmasThe Significance Of Responsible Pet Ownership

A brief history of this famous pet charity slogan and why it’s sadly just as relevant today as it was in the 1970s.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. We’ve all heard the phrase, but few are aware of how long the slogan has been around, or the reason why it was created. Back in 1978, Clarissa Baldwin OBE of the Dog’s Trust (formerly National Canine Defence League), was given the enormous responsibility of coming up with a marketing strategy that highlighted the problem of unwanted dogs being abandoned once they’d grown out of their cute puppy phase. An easy-to-purchase gift for a loved one, soon turned into a demanding adult dog that required feeding, walking, training and vets bills. Many owners reneged on their commitment and thousands of dogs were left mistreated and without homes.

The slogan was clear, catchy and quickly made its way onto 200,000 car stickers to spread this extremely important message.

100,000 Dogs In Need Of A Home

Sadly, the meaning is just as significant today and an estimated 47,000 callous owners abandon their dogs each year. At any one time, there are over 100,000 dogs in need of a home according to PETA. Whilst many charities commit to never putting down a healthy animal, unfortunately local authorities are forced to handle large numbers of strays in their pounds. For those that are picked up and left unclaimed within seven days, it is typical for these dogs to be put to sleep, as the councils struggle to care for the vast quantities of incoming animals.You can search for local dogs on the Dog’s Trust website, or the rehoming centre is AA Dog Rescue in Latchingdon.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers Have A Bad Rep

Unfortunately, some breeds experience more neglect and abandonment than others. Looking locally at Essex, over the past few years, there has been an increase as high as 69% in legal bull-type breeds such as Staffordshires being brought into their rehoming organisations. A care manager at the Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield explains “They’re a popular breed but the levels that we get in are continuous” and this is further backed up by an animal warden from Southend who revealed that 75% of abandoned dogs in their kennels are Staffies.

How To Be A Responsible Dog Owner

If you’re looking to invite a puppy or a dog into your home this Christmas, then it’s worth knowing that many breeders won’t be happy to sell to you unless they’re absolutely convinced that their pups will be going to a safe and secure home. As a responsible owner, all of these basic points should be met:

  • Going for a daily walk – at least once a day as a minimum
  • A nutritious diet – Essex Pet Shops recommend being fed the right amount of food for their specific breed, size and weight to remain healthy
  • Having access to fresh water at all times
  • Identification of your dog – using a collar with a tag or microchipping in case your dog becomes lost
  • Cleaning up after your dog – making sure they’re toilet trained at home, and picking up their litter when out and about
  • Training your dog, either through advice gained from a book or online, or alternatively by attending a class.

A dog may seem like a good idea when you’re looking at a cute picture of a puppy on Instagram, but the reality is that any type of pet requires a lot of hard work as well as being a fantastic companion and member of the family. So, remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. And if you have any doubts at all about becoming a pet owner, then know that you’re not ready!

puppy at Christmas

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