Ollie is a rescued black and white Shih Tzu who turned his passion for helping other pets into a popular advice column. Ask Ollie questions by emailing him at Ollie@chathamcountyline.org


It’s magic, it’s hope, and it’s the holiday season. “So, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.” He’s making a list, and checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who gets a Christmas pet, ‘cause it’s not nice…. Santa Claus is coming to town. A Christmas pet’s best scene is when they are tucked under the tree with a sparkling red bow attached. From that moment on, it’s all downhill. Who wants a frightened, cowering little animal that is overwhelmed by all of the excitement and holiday chaos on Christmas morning hiding under the tree? If the new pet can get past everyone tearing into gifts and leaving hazardous ribbons, wrapping paper, candies, and small toys all over, then maybe they won’t end up in a veterinary emergency room Christmas night. 

Santa says a Christmas pet is a bad idea. There are too many people and activities for a new dog, pup, cat, or kitten and then there’s the litter box training, crating, or potty training, or cleaning up pet messes all day long. Pet supplies and toys can be fun in a Christmas stocking but what about vet visits, dental cleanings, vaccinations, illnesses, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, flea and tick preventatives, etc.? They just don’t package well for Christmas but, believe me, they are an important and necessary part of any new pet package commitment. What about your lifestyle? Are you ready for a new direction of things in your home? If you don’t walk or hike already, having a pet won’t change that, especially a cat. They could care less about your exercise routine. 

Santa has a great idea for you. Instead of surprising your family with a Christmas pet, you may want to wrap up a stuffed animal or some other pet-related accessory as a pet promise for Christmas morning. This gesture, and it can be from Santa Claus, lets your children know that you are prepared to adopt a pet when things quiet down, but now is not the right time. It also gives you an opportunity to visit your local shelter and see what’s available for rescue. 

Santa Claus loves animals and indeed, has eight reindeer living at the North Pole with him. Pets are an amazing lifelong responsibility best acquired at a time other than Christmas. 

Happy Holidays to you, yours, and all our four-legged and winged friends!

Love is a four-legged word.