Sometimes a bit of puppy love from “[wo]man’s best friend” is the key to ultimate happiness, or at least to brightening your day. But around the holiday season, many dogs and other animals suffer the consequences of being treated like disposable objects rather than like a living creature. In the UK alone, three pets are abandoned every hour around the Christmas period.
Some things to consider before getting a pet of any kind are:
1) Do I have the time to train and properly take care of a pet?
2) Am I financially stable enough to take care of veterinary bills, food, and other needs?
3) Will my situation be changing anytime soon (e.g. having children or moving abroad)?
4) Do I intend to keep this pet for life? (If not, there are still options for you!)
If you’re confident you can uphold these promises and feel ready to introduce a new pet to your home, but are not quite sure how to go about it ethically, check out these five ways to responsibly have a dog for Christmas (and any other time of the year).
5 Ethical Ways to Have a Dog for Christmas (And Any Other Time of the Year)
Remember when we asked if you could commit long term? Being a foster family for an animal involves caring for a pet before it goes to its “furever home.” These periods can last from a few weeks to months, depending on the animal’s needs. The experience is ideal for animal-lovers who can’t commit to a long-term companion or for those seeking a deeper understanding of what caring for a dependent animal involves.
Plus, fostering is a great way to be around animals during the festive season if you have some time off over the holidays but not during the working year.
2. Volunteer for Dog Walking
If you can’t have a dog yourself but still love the cute creatures, volunteering to walk your friend’s, neighbor’s, or relative’s dog could help remedy your doggy deprivation. You could advertise your dog walking services with the local community noticeboard or newspaper – consider charging a fee if you’re after some extra pocket money, or just use the experience as a way to spend some time outdoors with a furry friend this holiday season.
3. Adopt (With Long-Term Commitment)
If you’re in the position to adopt a dog, cat, or other animal, there is always an excess of furry friends waiting for their forever home at animal rescue shelters. There’s usually a wide range of breeds, shapes, sizes, and ages so you can find the best fit for your family (and for the animal, of course).
4. Sponsor an Animal at a Rescue Shelter
Adopting a pet or walking other people’s dogs won’t work for everyone, due to allergies or other circumstances – but that doesn’t mean dogs can’t be a part of your life. There are many animal rescue shelters across the world working hard to provide quality care for homeless dogs and cats. However, housing animals isn’t cheap and these organizations are grateful for any assistance they receive. If you can, try asking for an animal to be sponsored on your behalf, or consider making a donation to your local shelter this season.
5. Have a Doggy Over For Dinner
If you’ve always dreamed of having a doggy dinner party but don’t have your own pet, invite one – or let’s be real, as many as possible – over for a dog’s dinner! Human guests will love a good vegan feast (to refuel from all the dog walking) and even the hounds can enjoy some delicious, homemade vegan dog treats. If you’re spending Christmas or New Years alone this year, why not spend it with dogs over dinner instead?
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