Dogs Trust introduced their Christmas campaign a whopping 35 years ago to raise awareness about everything you need to consider about getting a dog. Many people buy puppies or dogs as part of their Christmas festivities, whether as a present or just a welcome addition to the family at the most wonderful time of the year.
Unfortunately, some new dog owners don't realise how much hard work a dog can be until it's too late, which is why Dogs Trust have worked so hard for the past 35 years to remind people that a puppy can't be bought just as a Christmas present- it's a life long commitment.
So, this year, Dogs Trust are promoting their key message with Press Paws. They're encouraging us to get the message out there in time for this Christmas.
It's easy- take a picture of you holding your dogs paw, or pressing your paws together, like this:
Then Tweet your picture in this format:
As well as raising awareness, your picture will then be added to their #presspaws Tumblr!
If you're thinking about getting a dog this festive season, Dogs Trust have some great advice on what to consider before you make the commitment:
"A Dog Is For Life
Thinking of getting a new dog?
Buying a dog in haste can backfire if you don’t do your research. Don’t get caught out. Take a look at our five fast tips:
Ask to see the puppy interacting with its mother. If this isn’t possible, as is the case in pet shops, it’s wiser to walk away. Owners who take the time to find a dog bred in healthy conditions by a reputable breeder or reared in a rescue centre will be much more likely to find themselves with a healthy, happy and well socialised dog. Expect to visit a puppy at least twice before taking them home. Never buy a dog from someone who offers to deliver them to you.
Deliberate to ensure you are ready for a dog. Can you commit to looking after a dog for at least 12 years of your life? Do you have the time, space and money to devote to a dog every day for the duration of its lifespan, regardless of how your lifestyle may change over the years? Who will look after your dog when you go on holiday, visit somewhere dogs are not allowed, or walk it when you want to go out for a day?
Investigate and thoroughly research the best place to get your dog. Enquire at any of Dogs Trust’s 19 rehoming centres or ask your local vets or rescue charities for advice. There are many thousands of dogs of all pedigrees and ages in rescue shelters around the country. Many have fallen on bad luck due to a change in their owners’ circumstances and are crying out for a new pal and home – that could be you! The Kennel Club can also give you a list of reputable breeders. Expect anyone you are buying a dog from to be as inquisitive as you about where and with whom their puppy or dog is going. A puppy should not leave its mother too young, 7-8 weeks is about right. Good breeders will also provide you with a puppy contract or pack outlining everything your puppy will need and the commitment you are undertaking.
Focus your search on a dog that best suits your lifestyle. How much exercise does the dog need? How big will the dog grow? How much will this cost on a monthly basis? Do you have time to train, socialise and settle in a puppy? The more research you do, the more likely you are to find a dog that is well suited to your whole family and your everyday life. It may be that an older dog is a more appropriate choice for you than a puppy.
Love – dogs provide companionship and love, but they also need this back. Dogs need to be loved for the duration of their whole life. They need regular attention and quality time with their owner along with exercise and mental stimulation to ensure they live happy, healthy lives. For more information check out our leaflets to help you prepare for a new dog in your life: http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/g/gettingadog/default.aspx "
So, what are you waiting for? Raise awareness this year by joining in with #presspaws.