Last Christmas was our first with our rescued pup, Capone. He looked dashing in a candy cane-striped collar as we took videos of him tearing into wrapping paper, sticking his head into gift bags, fervently attacking his new plush sheep toy and testing the limits on the number of cookies he could persuade us to give him in one sitting.
The celebration was even more special because it was his first Christmas indoors — a far cry from the filthy porch he’d been tied up on for two years before he was rescued by PETA fieldworkers. But there was another reason our holiday was so relaxed, worry-free and joyful: Capone had already been with us for almost a year. He had settled in and felt comfortable with us. He was house-trained, and he was familiar enough with life at our house to take the added excitement of the holidays in stride.
Pet stores pull out all the stops to sell animals as “presents” during the holidays, and they bank on families falling for the picture-perfect appeal of a puppy or kitten under the tree. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned people get suckered in, forgetting their misgivings about supporting greedy breeders that supply pet stores with animals. They often find themselves underprepared and overwhelmed when holiday pandemonium and the new-animal adjustment period collide.