Giving a Christmas Puppy?

joy gift

This time of year, videos are making the rounds showing children being surprised with a new puppy or kitten. Their chubby faces beam with delight and the tears often come quickly as dreams are realized. It’s a delightful scene. For many years, shelter workers have cringed, believing that the new pets will wear out their welcome in a few months and be relinquished. However, the research says this is not the case and at Willamette Humane Society, we’re here to help you learn more about making great pet choices.

WHS Executive Director, BJ Anderson recently shared with our staff that ASPCA research supports the fact that puppies (and other pets) given as gifts are no more likely to end up in shelters than those selected by the adopters themselves. This leads me to believe that people who are choosing a pet as a gift have put some time and thought into the appropriateness for the recipient and the likelihood that it will be a good match. What a relief!

There are still many things to consider, if a puppy is on your Christmas giving list this year. Does the puppy’s personality fit your lifestyle? How can you be sure? Does the puppy need socialization and training? What are the long-term veterinary and grooming care costs associated with a puppy of this breed? Does a mixed-breed or purebred puppy have more to offer? Should you choose a puppy from a shelter/rescue or a breeder? What qualifies as a “good” breeder?  Are there concerns that you have not considered? What are the basic things every puppy owner should purchase to get off to a good start with his or her new puppy?

As luck would have it, you can find out the answers to these questions and more if you attend the Willamette Humane Society’s December PETtalk: Christmas Puppy Panel.  We will have a small group of pet pros and welfare professionals discussing these topics, answering your questions and advising you on how to go about acquiring a puppy, ensuring a proper fit for your lifestyle and preparing to enjoy a lifetime of pet companionship.  Please join us on December 10th in the Education Hall at WHS from 6pm to 8pm. Refreshments will be served and Davenport’s Den, our shelter pet supply store, will be open with great discounts available for your shopping pleasure. All proceeds benefit Willamette Humane Society and our animals.

Of course, we have a bunch of wonderful dogs and cats who would love to come home with you for the holidays – be sure to check out our adoptable animals. Maybe there is even a person on your list who has always been wanting a companion just like we have in our shelter? Go ahead and give! We’re here to help you make a great selection. We’re also here to support you through behavior and training services -including our very popular Sensible Puppy Class! If you end up with a new puppy for Christmas, join us!

Catherine Comden, CPDT-KA

Behavior Program Manager at Willamette Humane Society
Named “the dog lady” by peers in grammar school, Catherine Comden, CPDT-KA first became a California licensed veterinary technician, then finished a BA in Psychology while doing undergraduate research on the human-canine bond at the University of Montana. After that, she was recruited by the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital to develop the ABC puppy school, to assist during veterinary behavior consultations and to help create and instruct the Purdue DOGS! behavior modification course for veterinary staff. Catherine is now an adjunct faculty member at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon and instructor for the state’s only community college level professional dog trainer certification preparation program which began in Fall 2014.
Catherine Comden, CPDT-KA