We all know the saying, A Dog Is For Life, Not Just for Christmas but even though the slogan has been firmly placed in the public's consciousness for 35 years, it seems the message is just as prevalent now as it was back in 1975.
Every year we see a number of dogs handed into our rehoming centres in the months following Christmas when the appeal of a cute puppy has worn off. It seems that people are still giving puppies as presents without considering the long term ramifications. It is so important for people to pause and consider the responsibility of owning a dog before buying a puppy in order for situations like this to be avoided.
At our rehoming centre in Canterbury we recently took in four day old crossbreed puppies who were found callously dumped in a shoebox in Kent Left for dead and with no hope of surviving on their own, it seems their owners simply didn't care about what happened to them. Luckily, the puppies did end up in the care of the team at Dogs Trust in Canterbury. The staff there worked tirelessly to give the puppies round-the-clock care and nurse them to full health.
As they were so young, their immune systems were not developed so it was a real challenge to keep them alive. Staff at the centre took it in turns to take them home and bottle feed them each hour throughout the night for two months. As the four crossbreed puppies were found in a slipper box, staff gave the pups suitably festive, panto style names - Prince Charming, Cinderella, Snow White and Buttons in the hope that they would find their own furry tail ending. Thanks to the staff's dedication, they are now on their way to loving homes in time for Valentine's Day.
While this tale of survival is one of the more hard-hitting cases of abandonment we see at Dogs Trust, stories like this are not uncommon. Many people fail to realise that puppies are a serious commitment and this type of responsibility needs to be carefully considered - just like any major life decision. You wouldn't pick a partner from a photograph and immediately decide to get married or buy a house on a whim. The same goes for buying a dog.
We urge people to consider that 'A dog is for life'. Our hope is that if more people 'think life' and see dog ownership as a long-term commitment we will start to see fewer dogs in rescue shelters.