Last week I attended an event in Westminster organised by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, to raise awareness of its annual Christmas campaign.
The event, hosted by Neil Parish MP, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the iconic Dogs Trust slogan; “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas”. The phrase was coined in 1978 by the charity’s CEO, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, in a bid to highlight the issue of dogs being given as Christmas gifts, and indeed all year round, and later abandoned when the novelty wears off.
We were given the opportunity to take a festive Dogs Trust sleigh ride and meet a large number of furry friends. These pooches, however, were all stuffed toys – the only suitable kind of dog to give as a gift!
A dog is a lifetime commitment and should never be bought on impulse as if it were a new television or a pair of shoes. This message is particularly poignant during the festive season, when people are buying all sorts of gifts on a whim without necessarily considering the consequences. I would urge anyone thinking of buying a dog or puppy as a Christmas present to ‘paws’ before doing so, and remember that A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas.