Christmas gifts that help

Local | Georgina Noyce 10 Dec 2019

Snuggled up in cool weather with a houseful of animals, I count myself blessed because each of the animals surrounding me chose someone in my family as their companion.

We did go to Hong Kong Dog Rescue for two of them, but the first, our oldest at 14 now, ex-building site mongrel Sassoon, made it clear she wanted my son, and the next oldest, Jack the Yorkshire nipper, chose my husband.

We know this because he was the first man the abused and abandoned puppy-farm pure breed hadn't bitten or tried to bite.

The point is that after a lifetime around animals we all knew that any animal who came to us was there for life, which in the case of the cats could be up to 16 years and, as we already have two dogs over the average age for their breeds, we still have a few more years (thankfully) before we have room for anymore.

Unless it's an emergency, of course, as it was with the other two dogs and both cats, who had nowhere else to go and no one who wanted them.

So while giving in to your beseeching offspring and giving them a kitten or puppy for Christmas would surely give you satisfaction in supplying your child's wants, it might not be the best long-term gift for everyone.

However, go to to talk to experts on all things dog. How much better for everyone if, when you hear that cry for a dog, instead you encourage young people to volunteer at HKDR and learn what is really needed to give a dog a full life.

Or what about making a donation in your child's name to sponsor a dog - one of the many that might have to stay in the center for the rest of its life because it is unsuitable for re-homing.

Or give the gift of a donation in someone's name to help the thousands of dogs who will come into HKDR's care, or those who need medical care before they can be adopted.

Much as I would like to encourage the world to rush out and adopt every abandoned animal in the world, everyone needs to plan better and think about giving their time or a donation to those who can give their whole lives to animals, rather than adding to the problem somewhere down the unwanted-gift road.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

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