Dogs Trust

A Dog Is For Life

A Dog is For Life

Following a high number of surrender requests this year, we are urging people to think about the lifelong commitment and responsibility that comes with owning a dog and then wait until after Christmas to consider taking on a new addition to the family.

From January to October 2019, over 1,900 people across Ireland contacted us, looking to relinquish their dog. The most common reason provided for someone wanting to give up their dog was that they didn’t have enough time anymore.

As part of our campaign, our TV advert, features Corky, a puppet dog who brings to life the message behind our famous slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’.

To highlight the upsetting reality of dogs being abandoned we also released shocking CCTV footage of Pudsey, a Jack Russell Terrier, being tied to a tree outside the gates of our Rehoming Centre in Finglas. The bewildered little dog then looks back and tries to follow the man, as he disappears around the corner.

Thankfully, a staff member spotted Pudsey. The man could have brought him into our centre where there were staff there to attend to him immediately, but instead he chose to abandon him, frightened and confused beside a very busy main road until someone spotted him. When our Veterinary team examined the dog, they found he had severe dental disease, alopecia and red marks on his forelegs from licking at them which we think may be behaviourally linked as x-rays on the areas showed no abnormalities.  Due to the dental disease, poor Pudsey had to have four teeth extracted but thankfully this won’t affect his ability to eat and the little fella is recovering well from his ordeal.

Last year, 9,848 dogs entered Irish dog pounds and while there are people with genuine, extenuating circumstances who need to rehome their dogs, many people are still taking on the responsibility of dog ownership without fully considering what it entails.

Dogs Trust coined the phrase ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®’ over 40 years ago and we are still urging people to think very carefully about the type of dog they want to fit in with their lifestyle. Sadly, many choose a dog based solely on their appearance without undertaking research into where the dog has come from and how the dog will fit into their daily lives.

Sharing your life with a dog is a wonderful experience, bringing years of companionship and love. It is also a lifelong commitment – a decision that should never be made lightly or ‘just for Christmas’. 

How YOU can help!


We need YOUR help to spread our message please!! We would love to see social media full of images showing ‘A dog is for life’ and what better way than posting the first and most recent photos you have of your dog using the hashtag #ADogIsForLife

Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ADogIsForLife

Share our advice to anyone considering getting a dog, to help them decide if they are ready for this long-term commitment.


Why not give the gift of life this Christmas by Sponsoring a Dog or a Puppy Playgroup instead? It makes a lovely Christmas present AND you can save lives and give abandoned dogs the second chance that they deserve so much!

Why is Christmas not the right time to get a dog?

Dogs, especially puppies who have been separated from their littermates and mum, will need LOTS of attention and comfort to settle into their new home. The majority of people are unable to provide this at a busy time like Christmas.

For most homes across the country, Christmas is the busiest time of the year for visitors which can be very unsettling for a new puppy. In fact, being overwhelmed by people may lead to behaviour problems in the future!

It may seem obvious but if you have never had a puppy or had your last dog for a long time, you may not have considered the weeks of patience, routine and consistency it takes to toilet train a puppy or dog that is new to your home. With the preparation that goes into Christmas dinners, shopping, wrapping presents etc. it may just not be possible to undertake.

One of the real dangers for puppies in homes over the Christmas period is the volume of potentially toxic food and decorations that are in easily in reach for inquisitive noses! Chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and alcohol are toxic to dogs and rich fatty foods can also cause serious illness too. You need to be alert and on ‘puppy watch’ with the arrival of a new dog or puppy to your home and this can be especially difficult at Christmas, with all the harmful temptations around!

As Christmas is a time for giving, there are usually lots of expensive gifts such as games consoles, new toys, shoes, phones etc. lying around homes. Puppies like and need to chew and they simply don’t know the difference between cheap and expensive items, so they generally chew on what they can find.

Puppies and new dogs need loving, stable, patient owners and a calm, quiet period in which to settle fully into their new home at their own pace. The average dog lives to be 12 years of age and require a big commitment of your time and money….Christmas is simply not the time of year to make this commitment.

If you really want to add a dog or puppy to your home, wait until the festive season is at an end, after the New Year and please, if you can, adopt rather than buy a dog or puppy!

Help, I can't look after my dog!

There are genuine cases of people needing to rehome their dogs, so we have put together some helpful advice here that may assist you in responsibly rehoming your dog.