A puppy for Christmas

Adopting a puppy is a joyous occasion, a gift of unconditional love. Be sure to adopt a pup from a rescue or shelter this holiday season.
By  Christelle L. Del Prete

Pita and Rye, two puppies from Best FriendsPuppies are probably the most wished-for holiday gift (right up there with ponies). Toys and electronics aren’t nearly as fun to hug, and they lack the unconditional love hardwired into wiggly, happy puppies. And really, what brings more joy to the holidays than a new puppy to love? There’s only one thing: adopting a new puppy from an animal shelter or rescue group. When you adopt a pup for the holidays, you’ve not only made someone the happiest kid (or adult) in the world; you’ve also saved a life. And there’s no greater gift than that.

Puppies ... equal parts fun and responsibility

“People have a lot of love to give, and the holidays are a wonderful time to give it,” says Dogtown caregiver Caroline Milleson. The holidays, when people have time off from work and school, can be a great time to welcome a new pup to the family. It means more time for everyone to play with and get to know the newest four-legged family member.

Along with adopting instead of buying a pup, which can fuel the puppy mill industry, planning ahead sets up families — and puppies — for success. Caroline says, “You never want (getting a puppy) to be an impulsive decision, no matter what time of year it is; you’re giving someone a gift that could live up to 15 years. Involving the puppy’s new parent (adult or child) in the adoption process is a great way to prepare them for the responsibility and great fun of having a dog.

Adoptable pups: Pita, Pretzel, Bagel and Rye

Crepe, a Best Friends puppyHere at the Sanctuary, there are plenty of adorable pups available for adoption, like Pita, Pretzel, Bagel and Rye. These four cuties are half of a litter of eight heeler mix pups who came to Best Friends from one of our No More Homeless Pets Network partners in New Mexico.

Pita is unique in that she is the only one of her siblings whose ears stand up; Caroline says they are constantly moving around, like antennas, following sound and showing the pup’s emotions. But aside from her ears, which have a personality all their own, Pita is super spunky, playful, fun and assertive – she is, in fact, the boss of the group.

Pretzel is a big boy, the biggest pup in the litter, and, though he is quiet, he is playful and loves to wrestle. His brother, Bagel, is the most people-friendly pup in the litter. He just can’t get enough of humans and loves to snuggle. And Rye is a mellow little guy who hardly ever gets up to mischief. When you pick him up, he snuggles happily in your arms, content to be loved.

Unrivaled joy comes in a furry puppy package

Puppies like these (and let’s face it, just about any puppy) can bring unrivaled joy, which is why both kids and the young at heart so often have a new pup on their Christmas list. But don’t forget about their older, wiser friends, who can bring just as much joy — especially to someone who’s been longing for a dog to love. If your family is ready to open your hearts and home to a homeless pet, but is a bit hesitant about the amount of time and training a puppy will need, older pets are a fantastic alternative. They are often already house-trained and are beyond the destructive phase many puppies go through.

Either way, both pups and more mature dogs deserve a home for the holidays – and both can bring much love, joy and happiness to families looking for a new pet to love. And one more thing: The Sanctuary also has adoptable ponies and horses looking for homes — just in case there’s a special person in your life who’s been extra good this year.

Adopt a puppy or adult dog from Best Friends

Photos by Molly Wald