• 68°

To Christmas puppy or not to Christmas puppy

few years ago, we adopted a cute little beagle-dachshund mix for the kids. She was a Christmas surprise — a sweet little dog that could grow with my kids.

The look on their faces Christmas morning made all the scheming and planning to make that surprise happen worth it. A magical moment made even more memorable by the hours of love and joy spent playing with the puppy.

By the time February rolled around, she was less novel to the kids.

They played with her less and less.

Then our sweet little puppy started to get bigger and bigger and bigger.

By May, our 5-pound puppy turned out to be a nearly 60-pound beagle-boxer mix. And you know what? She is the best dog ever.

Puppies grow up and turn into adult, sometimes big, dogs. If you aren’t prepared to own one for life, then don’t get one. It’s that simple.

If my kids grew larger than expected, I wouldn’t get rid of them or make them camp out in the back yard.

I knew I couldn’t do that to this sweet pup either, so I spent hours and hours working with her, training her, teaching her and loving her.

Now, Bella is a well socialized, well mannered, sweet dog that lives indoors with us and kisses me goodnight every night. That’s the life she deserves and the kind of pet I want to have, but she didn’t just magically turn out that way.

You notice I said I spent hours working with her.

If your plan is to get the perfect house trained, non-chewing, non-jumping, non-messy, well-mannered puppy (good luck finding it), but don’t plan to put the work into teaching them what is expected of them and loving them through their mistakes, please don’t adopt a new furry family member.

However, if you are prepared to give this dog a good life, no matter what they turn out to be, then a Christmas puppy can be the most magical gift of all.

After all, that x-box or smart phone isn’t going to run to greet you every time you come home, or lick the tears from your face after a bad day. They won’t wiggle their butt in excitement or play fetch with you in the yard for hours. But your fur-baby will, every day for the rest of their lives.

Mandi Bono is the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society director