At Christmas, all over the world, parents give children a puppy for Christmas. The child really wanted one, the puppy was cheap and, oh, it will be so much fun. But, only a few weeks later, the kids are bored with it, the puppy is neglected and mom and dad are stuck taking care of it. This, among so many other reasons, is why giving a puppy as a Christmas gift is a bad idea, and why so many puppy Christmas gifts end up at the local dog pound. If you’re child is desperate to own a puppy, don’t buy one for Christmas. Instead, try one of these unique and fun holiday gifts.
Learn About a Puppy Gift Certificate – Instead of buying your child a puppy for Christmas, put a “Learn About a Puppy” gift certificate underneath the tree for your child to open on Christmas morning. What the gift certificate will give are three monthly trips to the library to pick out books about different breeds of dog and taking care of dogs, the supermarket to research and buy different types of dog food, the pet store to pick out collars, a leash and dog food bowls, and culminating at the end of month three with a trip to the local dog pound to choose a dog to bring home.
What the “Puppy Gift Certificate” does is two things. It teaches your child all about taking care of dogs, what they need to be happy and how expensive they are. It also shows them what a lot of work taking care of a dog is. Meaning, if at the end of three months, your child is still as desperate to have a dog as at Christmas, then they’ll probably make a good dog owner, so you can safely go ahead and get one.
Zoo Membership – Many zoos all over the country offer memberships. A zoo membership is great fun for a child as they’ll be able to go as many times as they want throughout the year for free, there’s all kinds of kids’ activities for zoo members, and kids’ memberships will often come with fun opportunities to learn about zoo animals, as well as a t-shirt and a soft toy of their favorite zoo animal. Check with your local zoo for cost of a membership and what a kid’s membership entails.
Sign Up With a Volunteer Program at Local Pound – One wonderful way to get your child to learn more about dogs and get some experience is to sign them up as a volunteer at your local animal pound. If your child is 10 years old or older, a lot of pounds will allow children to volunteer if they come along with a parent. They’ll let them clean out the cages, feed the dogs and even bottle feed young puppies or kittens.
For Christmas, why not tell your child you’ll go with them to volunteer at your local pound for three months and if, at the end of it, they still want a puppy, they can pick out any suitable dog they want to bring home.
Creatures – Computer Game – There’s an older but still wonderful computer game called “Creatures” that’s a great way to teach kids how much work taking care of pets is.
In the game, you hatch your own ‘Norn’ from an egg, name him or her and then feed them and raise them. Norns are the cutest things to ever grace a computer screen but it’s a lot of work keeping a norn alive and, if you don’t take care of them carefully, they die.
Helping your kids take care of their norn is a great introduction to the wonderful world of puppies. You could even come up with a deal that, if they can take care of their norn for a few weeks and it doesn’t die, you’ll talk to them again about getting a puppy.
Creatures is an older game but is still available on several websites.
Creatures – Amazon.com