The team at Canine Partners with patron HRH the Duke of Gloucester (centre) and the Lord-Lieutenant for West Sussex Mrs Susan Pyper (front left). Story page 8.
The magazine your dog would want you to read
Editorial January-February 2009
Puppies are not presents
NOVEMBER and December have been rather eventful and frustrating months for me. My computer system began crashing at random, becoming worse until it died and had to be formatted. But still the crashing problem was not fixed and the same crashing began again. But at last I have found the culprit a bad RAM chip. From now onward should be straightforward and crash-free.
Well, although we got off to a slow start I still hope to upload this issue before Christmas. In anticipation of that achievement I wish everyone a very happy Christmas season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
I do hope that none of you are contemplating giving a Christmas present of a puppy to any relative or friend this year, unless of course the receiver knows about the present and has had input into the choice of a puppy (or adult dog) and has also bought or been given enough of the essential equipment to take good care of the puppy.
Every year, not long after Christmas, it is a sad fact that many such “presents” that the recipients were not prepared for and did not want end up in rescue kennels, at the SPCA, in the city pound, or even worse are abandoned on the streets.
A dog takes a lot of time and patience to look after and can be as expensive as a child, especially if it is injured in an accident or becomes ill. You have decisions to make such as whether to use a collar or a harness, what type of food bowl and water bowl are best for your pup, what type of bedding the pup will sleep on and what type of feeding plan you will follow. Cheap bowls can be a bad decision for puppies as they will try to overturn or chew them leaving you with many clean-up jobs a heavy crockery bowl is best for both food and water but heavier for you to pick up and wash daily or after each meal.
A harness is better than a collar for a puppy as collars can cause neck and throat damage. But if you decide upon a collar make sure it is soft, and wide enough to cover more than two vertebrae. The thinner the collar, the more likely it is to cause damage. And regarding food I personally know that natural and fresh is best, but if you are unable or haven’t the time to feed home-made food, then choose foods without chemicals, colourings, preservatives, derivatives, byproducts, sugars and flavourings.
After all those considerations you have vet bills and neutering fees, vaccinations and ongoing worm and flea prevention, then microchipping and registration (both compulsory in some countries), and equipment such as brush, flea comb, leash, nail clippers, shampoo, baby bath (or larger for large breeds), dental chew bones and raw meaty bones (a must to keep teeth healthy), a coat for walks if you are in a colder climate, and many other requirements. Buying or adopting a puppy is costly to both time and finances. But if you have thought it through and decided you have time to spend administering TLC and enough money to cater for any unexpected accidents or illnesses, then you will be rewarded with the best friend you ever had.
So I must repeat NEVER buy anyone a Christmas or birthday present of a dog or puppy unless that person has had input into the decision and approves the purchase. It is just not fair on the puppy to pass it on to someone who is totally unprepared for its arrival and unprepared to sacrifice time and money to keep it healthy and happy.
If you want to give a Christmas present that will involve the receiver in the world of dogs, then might I suggest an inquiry to the canine charities. Many of them, especially the ones that train dogs for service work, have “adopt a dog” systems in place where you can “adopt” a specific dog and pay for its keep and training for a specific time and give that “adoption” to a friend or relative. That way the receiver may become as involved as he or she desires, but never has to spend time or money that is not available. To me, that could be the perfect Christmas gift. - Elezabeth