This day next week it will be Christmas Eve! Unless of course you’re not reading this on the day it was posted, which—if that be the case, ignore that first sentence, but please carry on reading as this week’s blog post is our Christmas special post.
Our lovely Education and Community Officer Audrey is the Queen of Christmas
Normally our Education team host our Santa Paws event in the Dogs Trust rehoming centre every December. There are four main reasons why we host this event.
- The first, and most important, is to spread our message of Christmas Safety.
- The second is to spread our message of “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®”.
- The third is so the Children can meet with Santa, and tell him what they want for Christmas.
- And the forth…well, the forth reason is so we can have lots of fun to cap off the end of our education year.
But this year, like last year, we were unable to host Santa Paws
So instead, we thought we’d compile our Santa paws message into one bite size blog post, and just like at the actual event, we’ve prepared a special surprise for you (keep reading to find out, or I guess you could just skip to the end of the post, but no, don’t do that…keep reading please!)
So, reason number 1
Christmas is a very special time of year. Its probably the best time of year. And because we’re having so much fun, we can sometimes assume our dogs are also having the time of their life. We forget that to them Christmas is just another day.
Many of you will give your dogs some tasty bones or Christmas doggy treats (which we absolutely approve of), but remember, when your dog is eating them, leave them be. Don’t try to take a selfie with them while they’re gnawing on their Christmas snack.
You may also have seen photos of dogs wearing santa hats or reindeer ears, and while you may think they look cute or funny, they may make your dog uncomfortable. If you parents have bought them a lovely Christmas collar or coat, great (as long as only an adult puts them on the dog) but no hats or costumes please!
Also, many of our houses become slightly chaotic wonderlands at this time of year. Lots of visitors, music, new toys with new smells. This could be confusing, or even a little scary for your dog. Make sure they have a quiet place in the house they can access if it all gets a bit much for them, and if they retreat here, leave them be. The same rules apply if they are asleep or resting.
You may also have bought your dog a new toy for Christmas (yay), and you may get some new toys yourself (double yay!) but your dog may not know the difference, and they might start to chew your toy by mistake. If they do take one of your toys, remember not to snatch it from them. Instead, tell a grown up at home. You’ll need to be particularly careful if you have a puppy, as puppies love to chew new things. Christmas decorations and toys with batteries (along with boxes of chocolates wrapped underneath the Christmas tree) could be particularly enticing, yet potentially dangerous, so keep these out of reach.
Speaking of puppies, that brings us to reason number 2
A Dog is for life, not just for Christmas®
You’ve heard that phrase before; we’re rather proud of it. Its simple and straight forward and gets our point across, yet unfortunately, the message isn’t quite getting through as every Christmas people still insist on getting dogs as Christmas presents, and every January we get hundreds of phone calls and emails from people who want to surrender their Christmas pup.
Another aspect of why Christmas pups are such a bad idea (and this next section may be more directed towards our adult readers) is that buying a puppy for Christmas is directly feeding into the illegal puppy farming trade. This year we launching our #EndPuppyFarming campaign. You can read about the campaign on our main website, and sign our petition to help put an end to this nasty enterprise.
Meet Santa Paws
…Well, we’re at a bit of a loss as to how we can recreate this aspect of Santa paws via a blog post, however, you could always check out our “Night Before Santa Paws” blog post from two Christmas’s ago. It’s a zinger!
And finally, reason 4
Although we can’t recreate the exact same fun we generate at our Santa Paws event, we have created a FREE Downloadable Christmas workshop and worksheet that you can access here right now.
So now it’s time to sign off for 2021.
This year the Education team had lots of challenges, but we managed to overcome them, and we were able to conduct thousands of our safety workshops to both primary and secondary schools, both in person and via zoom.
We’re pumped and galvanised to deliver even more in 2022 so watch this space.
Stay safe, and Merry Christmas.
From the Dogs Trust Education Team