Ask The Hairy Dogfathers: Can You Return A Surprise Puppy Present?

Dear Hairy Dogfathers,

I didn’t truly believe that my family could be so thoughtless! My husband passed away in July. We had a wonderful life together – we raised three kids and many dogs together. We enjoyed our retirement and the quiet of the house. I miss him dearly every day, but I have no regrets about the life we lived together.

Now, I found myself alone in our home, which really is not a bad thing.  My children, who are all grown up and busy, decided that I was lonely. They also thought that I should have another dog in my life. This charge was led by my daughter-in-law (who is too busy to have her own dog, but thought that the grandkids would benefit from having one around).  I had told them “No,” but on Christmas Eve they showed up with a puppy. Everyone in the family was in on it, except me.  Now here I am with a dog that I don’t want and don’t need.

Signed,

Old, but Not Lonely

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Give Pets As Gifts

André says

Dear Not Lonely,

Other than the surprise gift, I hope you had a happy holiday season.

It’s hard to imagine that your family actually got you a puppy after you blatantly told them you didn’t want one, which sure puts you in an awkward position. But, some people can’t fathom that you know best, so they’ll do what they think is best for you!

One thing I would encourage you to consider is the idea that having a dog in your life again would be rewarding. Sounds like you enjoyed having them before, and even though you didn’t set out to get a four-legged companion, it could enrich your life once again.

Don’t be shy about asking for help from your family with taking the dog for appointments or some romps in the park. Maybe they can scoop poop in the yard as part of their weekly visit. This was their idea, not yours!

Related: Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Human

Kevin says:

Dear Not Lonely,

Looking on the bright side, I am happy that your family thinks of you, even if their thoughts appear misguided. That being said, you were crystal clear that a dog was not something included on your holiday wish list. If you’re certain that you don’t want this puppy, it’s not something you should feel bad about.

It would be cruel to leave the puppy on your daughter- in-law’s doorstep (no matter how tempting it would be to say that the puppy wanted to live closer to them). The responsible thing to do here is to speak frankly with your daughter-in-law.  This was her idea; she needs to fix it.

Was this puppy from a breeder? Reputable breeders are willing to take the puppy back and rehome him to a family who wants him. Or perhaps you and your daughter-in-law can come to some arrangement “in-house.” You might be willing to dog-sit the puppy during the daytime, but he needs to go to her house in the evening.  Perhaps the dog is best suited to them, but you would be willing to board him if they go on vacation.

The last thing we want is for the puppy to end up in a shelter, but you can contact your local rescue groups or animal shelter on tips to helping this puppy find his forever home.


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