Some Christmas mistakes may be embarrassing but in the end, make a great memory. Like buying an 9-foot Christmas tree only to find out you have an 8-foot ceiling. One mistake can be more life changing and sadly it happens frequently during the holidays. Somebody, with good intentions, gives the gift of a new dog or puppy. You know they have always wanted a dog but are the holidays’ really the right time to introduce a new dog to the house? All the noise combined with a new environment can be overwhelming for any new pet. This year for Christmas give dog toys, beds, water/food bowl and a leash for presents. Then be prepared to take the leash and go for at least an half an hour walk three times a day (including one late at night) every day no matter the weather. Put some dry cereal in the food dish and then change it three times a day and change the water just as often. Again, do this every day. On shopping day go through the pet food section and factor in two week’s worth of dog food. Maybe a new toy once in a while and don’t forget carpet cleaner. Book a consultation with a veterinarian. Cost out neutering or spaying, ask about the price of shots plus some routine blood work and x-rays. Sure enough one day you will need to get this work done. Remember to go online and price out a trainer for obedience classes too. These are a must no matter the new owner’s insistence that they can handle the job. Come January 25th if everyone is still onboard to adopt a dog, slip a Christmas CD into the car stereo and start your quest. But remember to choose wisely and use a lot of common sense. Take your time and slowly narrow your selections. Do you want an active breed or a more laid back one? Breeder or Shelter? There are many factors to consider. Look at your lifestyle and pick what is best for you. Once that is done take a quiet moment to remember you are bringing in an animal that could live 15 years. Are you prepared to make that kind of commitment? Your dog’s world is you. It will look to you for food, guidance, fun, love and care. In the end it will look to you for deliverance from old age, pain and sickness. One final note, before you buy a purebred do you know it is coming from a reputable breeder? Have you considered a rescue? There are hundreds of good dogs looking for a forever home. I firmly believe a rescued dog knows it has caught a big break and they will pay that break back over and over. Over the years I have owned many rescue dogs and each one has been a wonderful addition to my family. Happy Holiday’s Tom Cattermole Freelance Sports and Leisure writer, animal lover and proud owner of a rescue dog Shadow.