Are you wondering what special gift you might offer at that upcoming bridal shower? Why not give her the best gift of all: the love of a dog? While this isn’t an option for everyone, it could just be the highlight of the celebration — and a moment the bride-to-be will never forget.
Understand the Responsibility of Pet Ownership
First and foremost, remember that you’ll be entrusting the recipient with the care of a living thing. While pet ownership has rich rewards, it’s imperative to ensure that the bride has the time and resources to handle the situation. If either the bride or groom (or both) already have at least one dog, that takes some of the guesswork out of the equation. They’ll be familiar with the challenges involved and will probably already have a puppy-centric schedule in place that works for them.
Just to be sure, however, you should ask casually whether they’ve ever considered introducing another canine companion to the fold. It’s better to be sure in advance that they’re willing to take on the responsibility of a puppy. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of adding to the 1 million-plus pets that are rehomed each year.
You should also have a fallback plan in place just in case your generosity doesn’t pan out. Are you prepared to take on the responsibility yourself, or do you know someone else who will? If not, you should look around for alternative gift options.
Yes, on some level, all dogs are “adopted” — no human can point to their pup and say, “He’s my biological dog.” But, if you’re going to give a puppy as a gift, consider choosing one from a shelter instead of purchasing from a breeder. Rescue dogs need homes more than “designer” pups do, and they have plenty of love to give. If you’re worried about behavioral issues, most pet-adoption websites are happy to provide you with information on the dogs’ backstories. Also, know that puppies will typically adjust much more quickly than full-grown shelter dogs. You can even filter your search so that it only shows dogs of a certain age, although you might not have as much flexibility as far as breed is concerned.
The only issue you might run into involves the adoption process itself. While breeders are usually happy to hand the dog over as long as they’ve been paid, families who are looking to adopt a shelter dog are subjected to a screening process. That means your gift won’t come as a surprise since the bride will need to answer these questions herself. On the bright side, at least you’ll know for sure whether the fledgling couple is ready to welcome a new pet.
Ask About Allergies
Before choosing a dog, ask a close friend or family member if the bride suffers from any pet allergies. If the answer is yes, you’ll want to be extra careful when deciding which dog to buy. Pet allergies are triggered by dander, which is microscopic flecks of skin that can hitch a ride on hair or fur. That’s why a dog that sheds infrequently or not at all will trigger fewer symptoms than others. Hypoallergenic puppies won’t trigger allergies even during grooming. Some breeds to consider include the Goldendoodle, Afghan hound, Bichon Frise, and certain terriers. If you have any questions about whether the puppy is hypoallergenic, schedule a meeting with the rescue organization or breeder first.
Choose a Breed to Fit Their Lifestyle
Think carefully about the soon-to-be newlyweds and their living situation. Do they live in an apartment complex in the city, or are they planning on moving into a country dwelling with a large yard? For obvious reasons, you won’t want to give a Saint Bernard to a couple who lives in a fourth-floor walk-up. Even if they both love large dogs, it wouldn’t be fair to the animal to be cooped up like that. Bear in mind that it’s also more expensive to feed a big dog.
Dogs also need plenty of exercise and attention, especially when they’re puppies. Are the bride and groom both active people who will allow the pup to burn off all that excess energy? Or, are they frequently away from home for long periods of time? Some breeds are more active than others, and some will get into trouble if left alone for too long. Make sure to do your research thoroughly before you make your decision.
Although some people would argue that you should never give a dog as a present, there’s no reason why the process can’t go smoothly. If you do the thing properly and confirm with the couple that a puppy would be a welcome addition to their new family, you just might end up delivering the best gift they have ever had.
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