Christmas holds so many memories and with a granddaughter, now beginning to hold many more. A granddaughter who came about because of the love for a dog. Her father, my son in law Bill, was one of my first clients in Florida. He became a best friend and even more, a wonderful husband to my daughter, and father to my granddaughter. And, all because of the love and caring for a dog called Kate. It was Kate who brought us together and made us a family. Dogs are not just a part of my life they have been and formed my life. How could I say to anyone; don’t get a dog at this time.
I have a Radio interview Saturday- tomorrow- with my good friend Jeff Gellerman- and we will probably talk about Christmas puppies. Everyone says don’t do it. I say, with a smile, please do because from March until July my business as a dog trainer goes upwards. Sounds cynical but it is true and I admire those who unashamedly ask for advice because they want to keep this new family member for life. A dog for Christmas can be the start of a wonderful relationship with children and adults of all ages. The secret to success is always doing it correctly. I got my first dog at eleven and he saved my life basically. My parents had moved the length of the country, I had no friends in the new town and I was fairly down in the dumps. Dad took me to a house where there were puppies. Jacairns they would call them these days. In my day they were mixes, mongrels – a Jack Russell crossed with a Cairn. He asked me which I would like and as I sat on the ground with them – one chose me. I called him Kim and he lived and loved with me for 8, much too short, years. Apart from school time we were inspirable. My dad’s words as we took him home were “He is your dog and your responsibility. He will be what you make him and will give you more than you give him if you make him the friend he wants to be and can be.” He was right. I am today what Kim taught me to be.
A Christmas dog is not a failure because he is a Christmas dog; he is a failure when we do not do the right things for and with him. If you go to a shelter, make sure you get help selecting the right pup/dog for you. Do not simply depend on the shelter staff – get the assistance of someone who knows dogs and can find one that fits your lifestyle. If you go for a puppy from a breeder, it is exactly the same. Get help selecting the right breed and the right breeder with the right lines for you. It’s not luck or magic getting a dog of a lifetime – it is common sense and good advice plus help with the initial upbringing. Get that puppy right in his habits, ways and behavior in the first six months and in most instances he will be right for a lifetime giving your family the wonderful ‘ride’ through the dog years a great dog provides. Dogs teach us so much. But it all starts with us finding the right dog and teaching them. Lovely letter from one of my clients in Canada this Christmas. He wrote “You know that this Spring it will be ten years since you’ve blessed my life with Green Mountain’s Bird Buster. He has truly been an honest and amazing dog and a wonderful companion.” I blessed his life – but Buster made the blessing happen.
Dogs do bless our lives and bring us far more than ever we give them. If you get a dog for Christmas, don’t be too shy to ask for help. Get to know your dog and the little issues that he may have. Don’t allow people to overpower or create problems. As much as you may protect people from your dog’s naughtiness protect your dog from people’s naughtiness.
May you be blessed with the love of a dog at least one time in your life and your life will be blessed forever.
Have a wonderful Christmas – take care of your best friends this holiday and enjoy sharing with them the wonder of Christmas and the love of Dog.