'Thinking about buying a puppy this Christmas? Don't do it' - Amanda Brunker
Does your child keep pestering you for a four-legged friend? Do they promise to take care of it and love it?
Well, wise up people. Don't buckle to the bribes of good behaviour - your child hasn't a clue what they're talking about. They don't really want a dog or cat, no matter how much they tell you they do. They just want stuff. And like all presents, they will tire of their pet when they repeatedly get asked to feed, play, walk and, worst of all, pick up their endless poop!
Seriously, do not buy or adopt an animal, most especially a dog which needs the most care, unless you work from home and plan on doing so for the next 18 years!
Doggies are NOT just for Christmas (I know you've all heard that cliché before) - they're for hangover days, summer holidays, nights out and those afternoons you fancy going shopping and probably the cinema afterwards. Basically, they destroy your freedom.
You can't be a responsible dog owner if you are partial to any of the above. Like babies, they need constant minding. A dog should never be left in a garden or a cage for eight hours while you go off to work. That's abuse and the reality is once the festive period is over, unless you're a person who works from home 90pc of the time and you are happy to take the dog around in the car with you when you go out on errands, it's simply not workable to be a dog owner.
Inevitably, all parents will be nagged about getting pets for Christmas at some stage. All children like the idea of having their own babies… it's a natural graduation from owning dolls and teddies. But swiping the hardship of scooping unlimited poop aside (yuck), on a very serious note, you also have to look at where these animals are coming from.
If you were foolish enough to purchase a pooch from certain websites, or maybe a fella down the pub with a pup under his arm, you have to understand that you are perpetuating the horrible puppy-farm trade here. There's a high chance that pup's parents, well mother anyway, is kept in horrendous conditions. And if the guilt of that doesn't faze you, then maybe the thought of this pup's medical bills might?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that a badly neglected dog will breed sickly puppies. They may not look it at first, but six weeks, or a year down the line, forced-bred dogs often end up at the vet with a whole list of ailments, which will end up costing you greatly.
That said, there will, of course, be the small minority of kids that truly do love animals. Only you as a their parent will be able to work that out. And if you do work or spend a lot of time around the house, then maybe it is viable to get a pet… even a dog. But, I beg you: adopt, don't buy.
Visit a rescue centre and rehome an animal that suits your family's lifestyle. And remember that every Christmas will be sh*t, or least spent picking up sh*t, from here on in.