Watch As Adorable Shelter Dogs Pick Their Own Christmas Toys

by Britt
Photo credit: Photohunter /

The holiday season is associated with traditions and festivities as we gather with family, put up festive decorations, and exchange holiday gifts. For pet parents, these traditions often carry over to spoiling our furry companions. But what about the thousands of pets sitting in shelters and rescues around the world, waiting for their forever home?

One rescue based in Ireland has embraced a heartwarming tradition since 2017.

Each year, Dogs Trust Ireland collects donations from the public. Hundreds of donated toys are placed in a room, and the pets are brought in one at a time to select their perfect holiday gift. They record the selection process, sharing the adorable footage on their YouTube channel for animal lovers worldwide to enjoy.

“The reason we love making the video so much is that it’s so special to witness each dog’s individual reaction. Some burst in the door and scatter toys everywhere in an excited frenzy, and when they choose ‘the’ toy, they do excited zoomies,” explained Corina Fitzsimons, Public Relations and Communications Manager.

“For dog lovers, it doesn’t get much better than seeing dogs doing Zoomies! Others prefer people and, after a sniff, will come over for cuddles. Then there are those who test every toy three or four times before picking, and many of the Collies who find a plain ball, throw it at our feet, and look at us as if to say, ‘Please throw human,’ which we are happy to oblige with.”

This year, a total of 54 dogs were recorded as they carefully made their selection. While some dogs quickly found that perfect holiday toy, others took as long as 20 minutes to settle on a favorite. The organization promises that every one of the 264 dogs in their care will receive at least one toy during the holiday season, thanks to the generous donations they received.

If this ignites a spirit of giving for you, you can spread some holiday cheer to the shelter and rescue animals in your area in several ways. Most, if not all, organizations will gladly accept donations of toys, treats, food, and other essential items. Are you unsure of what to purchase? Contact your local rescue organizations to ask what they currently need.

For animal lovers who are feeling the financial strain of the holidays, there are also ways you can give back without spending a dime.

Consider contacting your local rescue and shelter organizations and offering your time. Running a shelter or rescue takes a lot of work, and help is always welcome! This includes everything from cleaning cages and walking dogs to more specific skills like grooming and photography to help the animals look their best as they search for their forever home.

While we would all love to see every dog in the care of a shelter or rescue organization go to their forever home for the holidays, it’s unrealistic. But we can come together and ensure they feel the love and joy they deserve this Christmas and heading into 2024!

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Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Indiana and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

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