Christmas Puppies

My aunt and uncle and cousins have a new puppy.  It looks oldish, like they've had it for a while, which is good.  I'm glad.  Because it reminded me of Christmas Puppies, which are a terrible idea. It's a little late for this warning, but if you're going to get a kid a pet for Christmas, don't.  It's irresponsible and cruel to the pet.  Owning a living thing is something you need to prepare for as a family.  It's not like other Christmas gifts -- you can't put a puppy in the closet and leave it there if you decide you don't like it as much as you thought you would.

The same goes for cats, and mice, and chinchillas, and -- especially -- exotic pets.  The woman who sold my partner her hedgehog, for example, won't sell someone a hedgehog if they plan on surprising their kid with it.

If you really want to get someone a pet for Christmas, buy the dog bed or the water bowl and some food in advance, and wrap those.  Then, when you've had the surprise, go and pick out the pet together, in a responsible manner, from someone capable of educating you on the needs of your new pet.

We try really, absurdly hard as a culture to make Christmas he nicest, most pleasant part of our year.  There's no good reason to perpetuate the cycle of pets abandoned a month after Christmas every year.  (It's not worth making a holiday happier by creating a bunch of new, delayed release sad.)