Pets should not be gifts

Harefield Gazette - - ANIMAL NEWS -

ADOG is for life, not just for Christ­mas’. Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it? Surely one of the most suc­cess­ful ad­ver­tis­ing slo­gans of all time. Would you be­lieve that de­spite this, ev­ery sin­gle year the RSPCA is in­un­dated with calls from peo­ple who have re­ceived pets for Christ­mas, only to find within days or weeks that once the dust has set­tled they are ei­ther un­able or un­will­ing to look after them?

There is still much work to be done to get the mes­sage across that although a puppy may look cute on De­cem­ber 25, this is a huge de­ci­sion and must never be taken lightly.

If you are se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing get­ting a dog, there is plenty to con­sider.

Cost is an im­por­tant fac­tor. Can you re­ally af­ford a dog? We’re not talk­ing about the amount of money you’ll be hand­ing over the day you take your new ca­nine fam­ily mem­ber home – that’s just the be­gin­ning.

You’ll need to pay for vac­ci­na­tions; pup­pies need their ini­tial vac­ci­na­tions and all dogs need a yearly booster.

Once they’re old enough, pup­pies will need to be neutered and the costs for this can run into the hun­dreds, de­pend­ing on the size of the an­i­mal and the ve­teri­nary prac­tice. Then there’s mi­crochip­ping – a le­gal re­quire­ment, which will set you back roughly £15 – plus the es­sen­tial flea and worm treat­ments, up to £200 per year. Pet in­sur­ance is a must, to cover you for un­fore­seen events, and this will run into the hun­dreds de­pend­ing on the pol­icy you take out.

You’ll also need to buy dog toys and ac­ces­sories such as col­lar, lead, dog bed, poo bags and pay for things such as train­ing ses­sions and groom­ing sa­lons, per­haps a dog walker if you are un­able to take the dog out for any rea­son. This is all be­fore we’ve even men­tioned food.

Dogs don’t live on thin air and you can ex­pect to pay some­where in the re­gion of £500 - £1,000 an­nu­ally on food, de­pend­ing on your in­di­vid­ual dog.

As­sum­ing you’re for­tu­nate enough to be able to af­ford all of the above, there is still plenty to con­sider. A dog re­lies on you for ev­ery­thing – food, wa­ter, shel­ter, lead­er­ship, ex­er­cise, groom­ing, train­ing, ve­teri­nary care, com­pan­ion­ship and pro­tec­tion.

Are you pre­pared to spend the next 10-15 years of your life tak­ing care of your dog? A dog is a life­long com­mit­ment and an enor­mous re­spon­si­bil­ity. To those pre­pared to in­vest the money, time and ef­fort, there is noth­ing more re­ward­ing, but please re­mem­ber, an­i­mals are fam­ily mem­bers who should be loved and re­spected – they are not ‘gifts’ to be traded around Christ­mas time.

If you would like any ad­vice on dog own­er­ship or want to find out more about adopt­ing a res­cue an­i­mal, pop into our Hilling­don Clinic’s open day on Satur­day De­cem­ber 3 2016, from 10am to 3pm at 16 Cres­cent Pa­rade, Hilling­don UB10 0LG (01895 231435).

Look­ing for a home Roxy (fe­male, tan and white) and Loki (male, black and white) are two de­light­ful four-year-old Jack Rus­sell ter­ri­ers.

This lovely pair are very af­fec­tion­ate but still need some toi­let train­ing and their new owner(s) would ide­ally have prior knowl­edge of the breed to bring them on.

Roxy and Loki need a fairly ac­tive home with­out cats, ide­ally with no chil­dren under the age of eight. They are both quite in­de­pen­dent char­ac­ters so we may con­sider hom­ing them separately. Can you of­fer them the fu­ture they de­serve?

Laura was found by a canal with her three kit­tens, who she has raised in our care. Her off­spring have now found new homes and it is Laura’s turn to find hap­pi­ness in a new life.

This beau­ti­ful girl is two years old, af­fec­tion­ate in na­ture and quite a lit­tle char­ac­ter. She can be pretty vo­cal at times and has an in­cred­i­ble purr!

Laura would pre­fer a fam­ily home with no other cats but may live with a dog. Do you have the purrr­fect home to of­fer Laura?

Visit www. rspc­ahilling­don­ uk to view all of our an­i­mals and down­load an adop­tion ap­pli­ca­tion form.

As the days turn wet­ter and colder, we are grateful for any dona­tions of old sheets and blan­kets to use for bed­ding for the an­i­mals.

These can be brought into our Clinic at 16 Cres­cent Pa­rade, Hilling­don UB10 0LG.

We are also ur­gently in need of kit­ten food, as we have a lot of young cats under 12 months. Thank you.

HOME­LESS: Roxy and Loki (above) and Laura (left)

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