The start of a journey or a selfish convenience?
A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. A phrase that was synonymous with the practice of giving dogs as presents is now used for those buying dogs for these unprecedented times.
Christmas being replaced by lockdown. The introduction of quarantine meant more than just staying at home for some. The effect of isolation on mental health was underestimated, especially for those who live alone.
As a result, many of us turned to our furry, four-legged friends. Becky Turner, 32 from London, had the same idea when lockdown was introduced in March.
She bought Simba, a beautiful Labrador retriever cross (unsure what the cross is), at eight weeks old. Like many others, she paid a deposit without seeing Simba first. Ill-advised, yet common among people buying dogs in a rush during the pandemic.
Becky lives alone in an apartment, and the thought of prolonged lack of human interaction gave her anxiety.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an animal person, but I’ve always found dogs cute, the ones I see in the street.” She added. “I didn’t know where to start, so I googled dogs for sale. I didn’t want to be on my own.”
Not the preferred method, as ‘Lucy’s Law’, a piece of legislation that was passed in April, states that dogs can only be traded by licensed breeders.
Many people are unaware of Lucy’s Law it seems, as you can often find hundreds of dogs being sold daily, on websites such as Gumtree.
Raising a dog isn’t as easy as one might think. Alex Johnson, 41 from London, found this out the hard way. Recently divorced, the lockdown measures turned Alex to canine company.
He invested in a husky puppy. “I should definitely have done more research on the breed beforehand. Mishka is a lively pup, she needs more exercise than I can give her.” Mishka the husky had only been with Alex for a month before he decided he couldn’t keep up with the dog life.
“I feel terrible about it, moving her from one home to another at this age. The separation anxiety didn’t help. I would come home to the neighbours telling me she had been howling all the time I was away.”
Have we considered the effect on our dog’s post lockdown?
Social media is filled with new pet owners showing off their puppies. But opinion is divided on whether a pandemic puppy is a good idea.
Make sure having a dog will fit your lifestyle after the lockdown. Dogs are a long term commitment!
— Béatrice de Montigny (@Mme_Beatrice) November 1, 2020
Dogs a great, I couldn’t be without one. Great study buddies. Just make sure the type of dog you get is matched to your lifestyle post pandemic. If you have loads of time to walk an energetic dog at the moment will it be the same if you cannot work at home for example pic.twitter.com/CI49Tj7oEy
— Victoria Ali (@victoria_ali_Rn) November 1, 2020
all these Youtubers are getting puppies while in lockdown but aren’t gonna have the time for them afterwards.
— gratuity tucci (@holybobatea) November 10, 2020
Vetknowhow.co.uk outline behaviours that dogs display when they suffer from separation anxiety. These can include but aren’t limited to destructive behaviour, howling/barking, doing their toilet indoors.
For dogs who were bought during lockdown, they will have only experienced life with their owners always present.
However, in reality that just isn’t the case. When the world is back to normal and the majority of people go out to work, we need to ensure that we look after the dogs that looked after us.
The same goes for Christmas. So, if you’re looking to gift a dog this Christmas, it would be in both the recipients and dogs’ best interests, if the prospective owners are prepared for such a commitment.
Words: Anuj Datta | Subbing: Gabriela Jimenez