The poem below relates a nightmare before Christmas.
A dog that was received as a Christmas present the year prior had become forgotten and was left chained in the yard.
Dogs can be popular holiday gifts, but they are typically not a good fit for unexpected gift ideas.
A couple of years ago, my cousin was surprised by her husband with a labrador puppy. It was a great gift as they had been thinking about getting another dog after their beloved older lab had recently passed away.
Dogs are not good surprise gifts for anyone that is unprepared for the responsibilities of dog ownership.
No dog deserves to live life on a chain.
Photo credit: The GSDC
T'was the night before Christmas, when all thru the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nick soon would be there.
The children all nestled snug in their beds
With no thought of the dog filling their head.
And mom in her kerchief and I in my cap
Knew the dog was cold, but didn't care about that.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Clause with his eyes full of tears.
He unchained the dog once so lively and quick
Last year's Christmas present now painfully sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name
and the dog ran to him despite all his pain.
Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen
On Comet on Cupid on Donner and Blitzen.
To the top of the porch to the top of the wall
Let's find this dog a home where he will be loved by all.
I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year
For Santa had made one thing quite clear.
The gift of a dog is not just for the season
We had gotten the dog for all the wrong reasons.
In our haste to think of the kids a gift
There was one important thing we missed
A dog should be family, and cared for the same
You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain.
And I heard him explain as he rode out of sight,
"You weren't given a gift, you were given a life."
All dogs deserve a loving home where they will be made part of a human pack.
Please do not get a German Shepherd (or any dog) as a gift, holiday or otherwise, unldess it as an informed decision and the recipients are prepared.
No one should get a dog unless everyone is in agreement and understands the pros and cons of introducing a new dog to the household, and the responsibilities required.
Too many dogs end up abandoned, abused, or if they're "lucky" left at the pound.