Christmas Puppies For Sale

Holiday puppies contribute to the millions of abandoned dogs


By now, all dog lovers have heard it — adopt, don’t buy. According to Psychology Today, there are currently 42.5 million households in the United States that own one or more dogs, bringing the total number of dogs in the country in excess of 70 million.

There are at least 525 million dogs on earth. To put this into perspective, that is nearly twice the number of people living in the United States, and sadly, the vast majority of these animals do not have loving homes.

Around the holidays we see a lot of ads for “Christmas Puppies for Sale,” and while the image of a child opening a red box only to be greeted by the loving lick of a tiny Labrador puppy represents everything American advertising wants you to feel about Christmas, many of the puppies being sold, usually bred in puppy mills, as Christmas presents will end up as strays or in shelters waiting for someone else to come and find them before they reach the age that they become undesirable and are put down.

Full disclosure: Two of my family’s dogs were purchased from a breeder, and only one was adopted from a rescue clinic. The dogs that we bought from the breeder and the one we rescued are all sweet, loving little fur babies that make our home complete. But, our rescue dog, Charley, holds a special place in our family. He isn’t a pure bred, like our dogs from breeders have been, and he has some anxiety issues that causes him to need more attention than our other dogs do. If we hadn’t adopted him, it’s entirely plausible that he would have never found a home.

As a huge dog lover, I do not condemn people for buying from breeders – all dogs need loving homes, after all, no matter where they came from. But when adopting from a shelter, you are benefiting dogs in a way that you would not be if you bought from a breeder. Chances are, you’re saving their life.

Although there has been a huge surge of no-kill shelters in the United States, there are still many that choose to put perfectly healthy animals to sleep after they’ve exceeded their time in the shelter to make room for new animals. According to The Dog Rescuers, more than 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year in the United States. More than half never make it out alive. So, when you adopt from a shelter, you are essentially saving two lives – the life of the animal you adopted and the life of the animal that will take it’s place in the shelter.

Aimee Soccorsi, a vet tech, has three dogs, two adopted from her local animal shelter and one from a local corgi rescue in California. “When I adopted Lucy, my chihuahua, shar pei, dachshund mix from the rescue, she was almost 3 years old,” Soccorsi said.

Soccorsi said that the people who had worked at the rescue clinic had warned her that Lucy might not be good with kids because her previous owners had disclosed that their young son had been rough with her, even accidentally breaking Lucy’s leg, resulting in their getting rid of Lucy.

However, Soccorsi believed Lucy might be the right fit for her and her daughter so she brought her daughter, Rowan, 5, to meet Lucy before taking the dog home. “I brought Rowan to visit her a few times before I adopted her and they both just fell in love with each other. They’re best friends now.”

Soccorsi said she has began to see scores more dogs brought in to the veterinary clinic where she works that have been adopted from shelters or rescues than dogs that came from breeders.

“I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying from a breeder, if that’s what a family decides they want to do,” Soccorsi said, “It’s just nice to know that more dogs now are being given a second chance than ever before.”

According to the humane society, the number of adopted and/or rescued dog in United States homes have more than doubled in the past four decades. However the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies reports that they are several behaviors that dogs display while in shelters that can affect whether or not they are adopted.

Behavioral analyst, Sasha Protopopova, found that dogs who rubbed up against the walls of their enclosures, faced the back of their enclosures as people walked by or engaged in a back and forth motion generally stayed longer in shelters that those that did not.

Tanner Hennesy and his fiancee Abigale Travers, both 26 and teachers at Roosevelt High School in Maryland, said they originally went to their local shelter looking to adopt a small puppy.

“Abby wanted to adopt something small and cute, like a dachshund or an Italian Greyhound,” Hennesy said. “So that’s what we were looking for. So, I made my way over to the small dog section of the shelter, thinking she was right behind me. I got there, looked around, and realized she was nowhere to be found. I finally found her, cooing to a Pit Bull Siberian Husky mix who was cowering in the back of her cage.”

“I was following Tanner, when this adorably timid, albeit huge, dog caught my eye,” Travers said. “She was so beautiful. She had these amazing blue eyes with a Siberian husky coat, with a Pit bull head and nose. I just felt so sorry for her, because everyone was walking right past her because she wasn’t coming up to greet people at the front of her enclosures like the other dogs were.”

“Abby and I spent close to a half an hour coaxing this dog to come up to us,” Travers said. “But eventually she did. She was very wary of us at first, but she allowed us to pet her, before timidly licking Abby’s hand. That’s when Abby looked up at me and said ‘Tanner, this is the dog we should get.’”

Hennesy agreed, and they were allowed to spend a few minutes with the dog outside of her enclosure to get to know her.

“She was still a little timid,” Travers said. “She put her head on Tanner’s knee and that was all the affection we got out of her in the 10 minutes we spent with her before the we signed the papers and took her home. But I could just tell that if we gave her a chance, and after she got to know us for a few weeks, she’d be a great dog.”

The couple decided to name their new dog Chance, because shelter staff had told them they’d never even had one inquiry about the dog because she was over a year old and was so painfully shy and would’ve had to have been put down soon if they hadn’t decided to give her a new lease on life.

Travers and Hennesy said that after they brought their new family member home, Chance wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. The shelter said she was a stray, so she had never experienced the love and kindness of a family before.

“We wanted her to sleep on our bed with us,” Travers said, “But at first, she wouldn’t even jump up on it. So we bought her a dog bed and placed it next to a heater vent in our bedroom so she wouldn’t be cold, but she wouldn’t sleep there either. For the first few weeks the only thing she would sleep on was a towel. So we let her do that, because that’s what she was comfortable with, but we always encouraged her and let her know it was okay for her to sleep on the bed, too. About two months after we brought her home, Tanner woke me up one morning and was like ‘Babe, look who decided to join us last night,’ I opened my eyes and there she was, burrowed underneath a blanket at the foot of the bed with just her tail sticking out.”

After that, Hennesy and Travers said that the dog started showing affection more frequently.

“If we were watching a movie, she’d jump up on the couch and cuddle with us,” Hennesy said, “About a three months after we brought her home, Abby got really sick with the flu. I had to work, but Abby said [Chance] never left her side, and she even felt her put her head on her back a few times when she was laying down, just to make sure she was still breathing.”

Hennesy and Travers said that adopting Chance was the best decision they ever made in starting their new family. They said she is now the best, most affectionate dog they could have ever wanted.

“Chance made us realize that the best fit for your family may not be the dog who is initially all charm,” Travers said “It may be the shy, awkward dog that nobody else wants because they’d rather have a younger dog who immediately wants to cuddle and love you to death. And while that’s nice, Chance showed us that we taught her to trust people. We changed her life for the better, and she brought more love into our home and definitely changed our lives in more ways than we could have ever imagined.”

With Christmas just around the corner, the annual advertisements of a seemingly perfect family having a picturesque Christmas morning, when the children lift the lid of off a box that has muffled noises coming from it. When the lid is lifted, an adorable puppy peeks out at the children, causing an explosion of excitement and glee. While this may work from an advertising standpoint, and may actually be an accurate depiction of what getting a puppy for Christmas is like, many people do not consider the implications of taking on a 10–20 year commitment of a living thing after the excitement of that Christmas morning.

According to the RSPCA, three pets are put down every hour between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27. Most are under a year old. Last Christmas the charity received nearly 2000 phone calls daily to investigate animals that were being neglected or abused.

According to Slate, Christmas puppies, especially as gifts to children are generally a bad idea. Sure, the kids are doting and devoted owners for the first few days, but then the magic wears off and the puppy becomes…well, a puppy. A tiny creature in need of constant attention, who pees and poops on the floor, needs to be walked no matter what the weather conditions, and their favorite chew toy becomes any toys or shoes laying around.

Rescue a dog, by all means. But giving a dog as a gift, especially when the receiver has been left in the dark about the idea, is generally never a good option. Adopting a pet is a commitment that changes someone’s life for years. A person needs to be sure what kind of dog fits their lifestyle, and that they will be able to continue to provide care for the animal for up to 20 years.

Owning a dog is a rewarding experience, and teaches children the responsibility of caring for another life. But such a decision should only be made after every member of the household agrees on which type of dog would be best for their individual family, and the home and the children have been properly prepared for the new arrival.