By Jennifer Popplewell •
Published: 04 Dec 2023 • 22:34
Not just for Christmas
Credit: Wikipedia Commons: Stephaniegarza
A DOG is man’s best friend. A quote that is old but true, as anybody who has had the honour of living alongside one of these caring creatures knows.
Is there anything cuter than a puppy? Perhaps a puppy with a big red bow, smiling up at a child on Christmas morning. Perfect for photos, and the child will surely be elated, however, what about what comes next?
A law has recently been passed in Spain that makes pet insurance compulsory for dog owners, the minimum cost of which is €20 per month but can be significantly more depending on the breed. The puppy will also need its injections, which usually total to around €150, as well as a microchip and passport, if you wish to travel with your new companion. All in all, you should expect to spend between €220 and €800 in the first few weeks of owning a dog, and this expenditure is before the life of owning an animal has even begun. The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) discovered that people in Spain spend an average of €1,131 per year on a dog, a figure that many do not take into account before making the commitment to taking one home.
Unfortunately, far too often this financial and physical responsibility becomes too much for new dog owners, especially when reality sets in and six months down the line the adorable puppy has chewed the new sofa (yes they will), takes time and effort to house train, and has perhaps doubled or even tripled in size. When the cuteness fades and the inconvenience of caring for an animal becomes apparent, many decide that having a dog “is not for them”, and swiftly rehome their once loved friend. Of course though, a one year old dog is not as easy to find a family for, hence why dog shelters in Spain and all over Europe are currently overflowing with many discarded Christmas ‘gifts’.
These poor animals, who once thought they had found their forever family, now sit alone wondering what went wrong, and the responsibility of caring for them lies with generous volunteers and donors, but they can only do so much. For this reason, animal shelters are desperately urging people to carefully consider the decision when adding a furry friend to the family. They may look very cute on Christmas morning, but they are living, breathing, sentient beings, just like you and I. They are not a gift, not a perfect posed picture accessory, they are a friend for life, and they will have their flaws!
For anyone who is feeling the desire to add the magic of a dog into their lives, perhaps consider fostering for a while, to understand the reality of caring for one. Fortunately, many shelters, after witnessing a common pattern, now do not allow dog adoptions around Christmas time, due to this tragic trend.
A dog is a man’s best friend, and life is never the same after living with one, but they are for life, not a gift for Christmas.
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Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.
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