Every year the barrage of consumerism this time of year gets a little more intense than the year before. We need new gadgets, new clothes, new cars – on and on and on. There is nothing sweeter than the idea of a new puppy under the tree, and I am all for giving a pup a home at this or any time of year. The one thing I would urge you to do is to check out your local shelter.
There are so many dogs needing a home that there is really no need to buy from a breeder. Even if you are looking for a pedigreed pup, there are rescues for almost any type you can imagine. You would be stunned at the number of breeders who dispose of their purebred stock by dumping them in shelters when their breeding life is over. I know there are reputable breeders out there, but I have seen too many mill dogs in shelters. I know the struggle older mill dogs go through first hand, my 17-year-old Velcro still shows the signs of neglect and abandonment.
For the last couple of months I have been shooting at an amazing facility, Haven of the Ozarks. It is on about 10 acres and has smart, spacious pens with pools in the summer and shelters in the winter. The place is immaculate, and the staff – well it’s clear that the staff knows and loves their animals.
I’d like to introduce you to some of my new pals from the Haven – I asked the staff to give me three attributes so the personality points are from those who know them best.
When I first met this dane mix I thought he was just a noble old man – but he is very playful. A squeaky toy sent him into song. He’s a talker who loves to play and cuddle. I love this guy!
Spunky is a lab-cattle dog mix. He’s very smart, but a little shy. He has to warm up to people, he needs someone who will have the patience to let him get to know them. Once he warms up to someone he is loving and playful – a really great companion. I love his spot on the top of his head – he’s a gorgeous pup with an amazing personality just waiting to meet someone who will love him forever.
He’s a tall active boy who needs some room to run – but look at those eyes – they melt your heart. How’d you like to come home to this sweet face everyday!
Tank needs to be the only pet in a household. He’s a strong and curious boy, but he also has compromised eyesight. He holds his head up high though – nothing gets him down.
This tall border collie mix is a smart guy who loves water. He’s house trained but loves to run and play. He’s an athlete who will love you like crazy.
Trixie will convince you that dog smiles are a real thing. She’s happy, silly, and completely adorable. Who could have a bad day with this girl looking into your eyes!
Sweet, well behaves, loves kids, a great smile – what more could you ask for? I love a facility with happy dogs – it says as much about the staff as it does the pups.
Sookie is a supermodel. She seriously can’t take a bad photo. She’s gentle and sweet with people she knows – but she doesn’t like to be pushed. This girl is leash candy – she’s simply stunning. She just needs the right owner to come out and meet her.
This is what Haven says in their own description of this boy, “Samson knows he’s loved and wanted here.” He’s their oldest pup, 16-years-old. He is beloved by staff and volunteers. How a dog like Samson is treated in a facility says a lot about an organization. They would love to find him a home, but they will love him for his whole life even if he spends it all at the Haven. I loved meeting him. His care is a testament to this place.
Searcy was abandoned and on her own when she came to the Haven. She has been socialized and has learned to trust. Recently she was adopted, but her new owner had serious allergies to her – so she’s back. She will find the right home with some lucky family who will adore her – hopefully soon.
Sweet lovely girl – she can jump a regular fence. She’s a border collie mix so jumping a fence is like a math problem for her. She’s a thinker so give her a job and she’ll give you her heart!
Chancers loves people – but not cats. She has a young volunteer wrapped around her paws. She’s a sweetheart who connects with people – she just needs a “chance”.
Mayday is a very unique looking pup – she is a shar pei mix and has such a serious expression. She’s very well trained but is not crazy about other dogs or cats or small children. She is playful and loves kids, just not small ones who pull on her ears and tail. She’s a unique girl who needs some personal space.
Maggie was adopted by a serviceman who was sent to a new base and couldn’t bring her along. The staff and volunteers here heard about her plight – she was left in a shelter in Kansas. Someone made the drive to bring this sweet gorgeous girl back to the Haven. She will find a new home and the staff here will make sure she is loved while she waits.
Layla came in with 6 newborn pus and had 4 more right after her arrival. She is an amazing mom and has a natural caring disposition. She is so ready to love a family.
Happy, energetic, watchful. Jerry really bonds with the people in his life. He’s a gorgeous shepherd looking for a family to herd.
This girl was neglected by her owner before coming to the Haven but she’s getting better and better. She is small but talks like a husky. I laughed the whole time I took her photos – she’s funny and she knows it. She would love to sing carols with a family this Christmas.
If I could take them all home for Christmas – I would. I already have five, four of whom were rescues. There is nothing better than the feeling that you are giving a dog from a shelter or sanctuary a new life, a fresh start. I adopted a pup this summer and he lets me know how thrilled he is to see me every single day. He adds so much to my life, it’s impossible to be sad with a silly smiling mutt staring into your eyes and wagging its whole body. I gave him a home, but he gives me so very much more.
If you are thinking of a Christmas pup, check out your local shelter. If you already have a houseful of pups and want to help consider the following:
- Volunteer – just walking a dog every week will get it ready for a home and make it more adoptable. If you have a skill like photography, or writing, or rug making, or basket weaving – contact your shelter and offer to help.
- Shop on Amazon Smile – you can designate a portion of every purchase to a participating shelter, even if you are using Amazon Prime and it won’t cost you a cent – you can help The Haven by using this link – Amazon Smile. Many shelters also have an Amazon wish list – it’s so easy to just click an item and send them some much-needed supplies.
- Like – Haven of the Ozarks or your local shelter on Facebook. Share their posts because your friends and their friends just might know someone looking for a forever friend!
I am always looking for a shady spot when taking photos of white dogs on sunny days. The perfect day is cloudy so there are no shadows or blow outs. Even more important than the light is to have fun with the pups – this is a special time for them too – they get to be the center of attention. Lavish your attention on them – they need and deserve it!
Merry Christmas – remember this year to Adopt, Don’t Shop!