Dear Reader

Hands up everyone who has watched the John Lewis Christmas TV ad – you know, the one with the Bear and the Hare. I thought so. Most of you.

And hands down if you didn't feel a tear or two welling up, a catch in the throat. Hmm. Lots of hands still in the air!

The bear has never experienced Christmas because he spends all winter hibernating in a cave. This makes the hare quite sad, so he gives the sleeping bear a present in the hope he might be roused from his slumber and join in the woodland Christmas fun. Since the gift is an alarm clock, his ruse works.

It’s that time of year isn’t it? A time when some of our decisions are based on emotional responses rather than hard-nosed facts. Well, one square of chocolate won’t make a difference to Fido will it.

I mean just one square. Theo what? Oh, theobromine.

And Sylvester does love bashing those Christmas tree baubles. Makes for a great You Tube clip when he jumps into the branches and chews them, together with the tinsel… and occasionally the lights! Pine needles are what? Oh, poisonous to cats. Along with holly, mistletoe and poinsettias.

Sometimes the hard-nosed facts are a bit of a nuisance for veterinary nurses. After all, we have the same emotions as everyone else. But guaranteed that at some point during the next few weeks a client or two will share their plans to give a puppy or a kitten as a surprise present for someone in the family – probably a child.

Maybe they will be thinking of buying it from a pet shop or even online from a battery puppy farm. Perhaps from a rescue centre or a breeder.

In each of those cases, what will you do? Go along with the emotion? Or suggest that there just might be a few things that need to be considered first? You know what they are – because every veterinary waiting room in the UK has leaflets on choosing pets, feeding and vaccinating them, training and insuring them. There are websites too. And every edition of the VNJ has features and news on animal well-being.

So. What is best? Some common sense, some ‘tough love’ and a few tears before Christmas? Or a rejected, unloved, unwanted pet afterwards?

Like it or not, the choice will be yours.


David Watson BVetMed MA MRCVS Editor

To cite this editorial use either

DOI: 10.1111/vnj.12088 or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 28 pp 378

• VOL 28 • December 2013 • Veterinary Nursing Journal