Our Christmas Gift of Adoption
This time last year I began to question the wisdom of the established mindset that dogs in particular, but any animal really, shouldn’t be given to people at Christmas. It’s a theme that’s promoted by many, and has been for decades, but, having had a few people who work in rescue tell me that they consider it can be a good time for adoptions, it made me doubt whether I should stick with the herd and keep saying the same, or change my thinking.
I’ve done the latter having spent the year ferreting about finding information, a few studies, and contrasting views from intelligent people who know a lot about these things, far more than I do. I wrote my first article on the topic back in July for publication in the current issue of Life With Pets Magazine.
Little did I know then, that I will be in the position of doing exactly what many naysayers think is a terrible thing, an act of irresponsibility and stupidity according to some. Cerise is joining us any day now, right in the Christmas season, she is going to be our Christmas adoption, and it couldn’t be a better thing that’s about to happen – for her and us.
I understand some of the arguments put forward by those who think an embargo on adoptions in the holidays is the message to push, but I disagree with blanket bans and my own, unexpectedly timely experience proves my case….at least in our individual situation it does. And this is the point, pet adoptions – not pet sales but adoptions – are individual, should be seen as such, and good rehoming policies allow for this. Adoption is a result of a well thought through (on all sides) process – unlike pet sales, which I agree are a bad idea.
Arguments include the hectic household at this time of year – ours isn’t. Ours is a haven of peace. We don’t have large gatherings planned, we aren’t running around visiting, or having visitors, and any that do come, are well versed in how to be around our dogs anyway. Our world is going to be little different in the coming days to any other time, with just a bit more food and drink to be enjoyed. So, why should Cerise not join our household at a time when Michel and I will both be taking time off work, and have plenty to help her settle in? No reason at all.
We aren’t unique, there are many households for whom Christmas does not involve chaos and excess, noise and disruption – all of which I totally agree, no animal should be expected to enjoy, let alone one newly adopted, or bought. So, for all the many quiet households wanting to bring a new animal into the family, and wishing to adopt, it makes no sense to me for rehoming centres not to allow them to go through the usual processes that work the rest of the year. Why delay getting a dog, or cat, or bunny into their ideal new home, for the sake of a rigid, blanket ban that’s not based on much, if any real evidence that says it’s a bad idea. Although the myths abound and are hard to dispel. But, I’m always up for a challenge when I think it will help the animals have better lives, and I shall keep putting out the positive message that adoption – not buying, I must be clear about that – at this time of year is as good a time as any. Better when we think that for some of those denied the chance to adopt, they will simply go the pet sales route where the only process involved at this time of year will be handing over the money.
One final thought, people do say that giving pets as gifts is going to mean, interest will wane, the novelty will wear off and the pet will be dumped. This may be the case with pets bought with little thought (although I haven’t found any reliable figures confirming this, please supply if you have any), but, with adoptions, this won’t be any more likely than any other time of the year, not if the rehoming processes are sound. Why should it? Process, it’s all about process, not impulse. And this is what we need to make clear: adoption works and is not the same as impulse buying of pets. The adoption message needs to stand clear of the usual negative blurb on pets being bought (which, in case of any doubt, I agree with, it’s a bad idea).
Cerise is going nowhere once she arrives in a few days with us, she’ll have her home until her last breath. She’s a novelty, for certain she’ll be that. But that means nothing when it comes to my pets – and again, I’m not unique, many, many people feel the same as I do.
And she’s a gift, our little gift, and we are to her. Gifts can and often are treasured for lifetimes. They’re not all frivolous. That’s another trite phrasing that I’ve done a complete turn around on. It’s the season of gifts and giving and there’s going to be a lot, lot more than a passing novelty to the gift that Michel and I have planned for ourselves, and Cerise, Twinkle and Renae this Christmas.
But, you don’t have to take my word for anything, here’s some more reading. Maybe you’ll join me in getting this message out, this year and next….