Review: Letters to the Lost (Brigid Kemmerer)

file_002-2Title: Letters to the Lost

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release: 6th April 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? Has an animal ever made you cry? Or made you come close to crying? Or made you feel so much emotion you just didn’t know what to do with it all? Well have you ever been to a rescue centre and read the descriptions about each dog? Rescue dogs can have horrible backstories; one was abused, one was neglected, one grew up in a puppy farm and forced to breed puppies for years, one was a stray…the list goes on, each story as tragic and sad as the last. Then, a family comes along; each dog finds the perfect home. The dogs’ stories are emotional and unless you’re pretty heartless, you’re likely to cry or at least smile a lot…This book is so emotional (heartbreaking and heartwarming) that I would genuinely compare it to a rescue dog. If it makes you both laugh and cry, then it’s got to be a dog, but this is just a bit more sad than your standard dog’s story, so it’s a rescue dog.

The blurb says: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope. Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past. When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

As I said, this book was emotional af. I wanted to cry (I did a little, shhh…), I laughed, I felt sorry for the characters and towards the end, I was a little heartbroken. It was just so heartbreaking and powerful; I wish I could re-read it over and over with the same shock and emotions. Juliet and Declan couldn’t be more different on the exterior, so it makes it hard for them to have that connection in person, but online everything can be anonymous. I loved how their personalities were so completely different, yet had small things in common online where they could be themselves.

To me, this book is a powerful statement of how different people are anonymously where they can be themselves. It’s also powerful in that it shows how much people feel they have to hide despite there being logical reasons behind their reactions and behaviours. I love that the chapters alternate between the two characters; I feel like I know them both well now and honestly I definitely want to be friends with both of them.

Revelations, drama, secrets, mystery, friendship, difficulties, cars and photography; what more could you possibly want from a book? I sped through this in two sittings and I was actually sad when it was over, although the ending was good and summed everything up (something I definitely prefer in a book); I just simply wanted more stories of Juliet and Declan’s lives.

It is sad, but cleverly and only necessarily. I love that there’s so much backstory to both the main characters (and even some of the minor) because it means there’s th20160804_163103at added mystery in the story. I honestly don’t think I can say enough good things about this because I really don’t read books like this often, yet it was so amazing and so beautifully written that I feel I should be singing its praise to anyone who’ll listen. I think I felt every emotion possible whilst reading this and I feel like I would connect to both Juliet and Declan if I knew them in real life.

Brigid Kemmerer writes beautifully, making anyone fall head over heels for her characters. You’ll want to read it over and over again and it will make you feel. Definitely 10 out of 10 paw prints from me, and I can’t wait to read more from the author!

Review: All Of The Above (Juno Dawson)

file_000-19Title: All Of The Above

Author: Juno Dawson

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release: September 2015

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, mental health.

Which animal is similar to this book? This will be difficult to explain so just bear with me… I would compare this book to a milksnake since they’re colourful and have a lot going on within their bodies, without being ridiculously ‘out there’. They have a purpose to being so colourful (it warns off predators, not that that’s relevant to this), in the same way that this book covers a whole multitude of issues (and I’ve seen some reviews be negative about this) which I personally think are necessary and important to the story. Both the snake and the plot pull off their bright colours well, but for me, I respect snakes and I understand the appeal, however that doesn’t necessarily mean I want them draped around my neck. To translate, I understand the need for a book like this, and I see its good points, but I feel this book isn’t fully for me.

The blurb says: This is a funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by Queen of Teen 2014. When sixteen-year-old Toria Grand arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

I can say so many good things about this story (and trust me, I will) but I think it’ll be best to get the negative aspect out of the way first. Without spoiling much, I really feel like the asexual character was poorly misrepresented. I resent the idea that to be asexual, you have to have some kind of dislike in your body and that’s the message put across here. I like that there was an asexual character, and aside from that, I really liked that they were shown to be ‘normal’. However, I didn’t like the self-conscious link that was made there, so maybe if you wish to read a book with an asexual character, maybe try another.

However, if you’re looking for a realistic, jam-packed book filled with fun, drama and friendship, then look no further. All Of The Above manages to pack in so many typically ‘teen’ issues into just 326 pages. There’s emotional moments that make you want to cry, times you’ll laugh and instances you’ll wish were happening to you in real life. In real life, there’s often a lot going on at once, so it makes sense for so much to happen at once for the characters in the story. I feel it tackles sex in YA well too, not over-describing, but presenting it realistically in a way I think a lot of teen girls would be able to relate to.

I love the way all the characters have such hugely distinctive voices and personalities, with Polly so outgoing and Alice so not, Beasley is shy and Daisy is friendly. I lo20160802_160912ve that throughout the whole story, despite the many crossed paths and plot lines, the voices remain distinct and strong.

Seriously so much happens in this story that I feel like anything I say is a spoiler…So if you like fast-paced, realistic stories with some good diversity (especially in terms of LGBT+), then give this a go! 8 out of 10 paw prints from me!

Review: Wing Jones (Katherine Webber)

file_000-18Title: Wing Jones

Author: Katherine Webber

Publisher: Walker Books

Release: January 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? For me, this book makes me think of sea otters since they’re so beautiful, so funny and so intelligent, but they’re also constantly at risk of being chomped on by the great white sharks that roam in the area…I felt like this book was written so well and with such lovely language, had a funny tone to it and was so cleverly written, touching on subjects which can be written badly or approached wrongly in other books etc. but there was always that feeling that everything could go horribly wrong at any minute.

The blurb says: Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

I loved this book a lot, and I’ve been waiting to read it since I heard about it at YALC in July. Although I didn’t really even know what it was about, I was excited since I’d heard so many good things and I don’t disagree with any of them; this book was seriously amazing. It follows the story of a girl called Wing whose grandparents come from China and Ghana respectively, so she doesn’t fully fit in anywhere. She then has to deal with her brother falling into a coma and subsequently discovers a passion for running.

Okay but this book is beautifully diverse; not only does it cover nationalities not often covered (as previously mentioned, the main character has grandparents from Ghana and from China so that’s a little bit different) but it also covers class differences and financial differences in a way that’s realistic and quite frankly, scary. The main thing I loved about this book is how real it is.

As soon as I started reading this, I was in the story; the writing was so  beautiful and the story was set so well (1990s Atlanta). Being biracial, especially in this time-frame, Wing has a lot to deal with and the story follows her as she tries to get through the difficult time her family is facing since it’s hard to find the money to pay for her brother’s medical bills. Running gives her an escape and I really loved the way it’s described in the book; it makes it a spiritual and mental experience as well as a physical one and I liked that the running aspect was more important than the romance plot.

I appreciate books with a satirical or jokey tone and this book did this well (the Grannies are perfect!) so I just loved the voices of all the characters and how they all entwined to create a realistic spread of personalities. The plot was heartwarming, heartbroken and tense at the same time as having that fun/chilled out undertone that just mak20160804_163103es me connect to characters a lot more.

I shall be forever wishing I knew all the characters in real life (except Heather Parker. She can do one.) so this book gets 10 paw prints out of 10! I’ll be reading more from Katherine Webber in future!

#quietkindofthunder

To celebrate the release of A Quiet Kind Of Thunder (Sara Barnard), some bloggers are doing silences and other things to experience the impact selective mutism actually has on a person’s life. On Thursdays, I have work experience at a dog kennels and then agility with my dog in the evening, so it’s not very easy for me to do a silence (yes, I realise I could do it another day, or just note how hard it is to stay silent all day, but since everyone knows me there, it would be a little awkward and I’d rather write this). The story follows Steffi, who has selective mutism, and Rhys, who is deaf. It follows their relationship triumphs and struggles and their life at school, home and in the big, scary world. It’s out today (12th January) and I would recommend it to anyone, you can read my review here: Review.

For me, (not having selective mutism myself), having anxiety has really given me a very brief experience of the kind of emotions the main character, Steffi, feels throughout the book. I have social anxiety and I have good days and bad days. On good days, I’ll smile at you and say hi if we pass on the street. On bad days, I’ll pretend to look at my phone, avoid eye contact or even cross the road to avoid you.

I worry about what people think of me, I worry about what they say and I worry about how I come across to people I do and don’t know. When I have bad days, I don’t speak to people I don’t know at all/very well. Yet, when I don’t speak and people look at me funny, or even if they don’t acknowledge me, I worry that I’ve offended them.

As it’s mentioned in the book, I too worry that when I get off the bus without saying ‘thank you’, the driver thinks I’m rude. Or I worry that people think I’m rude when I wait outside fast food restaurants while friends buy the food, or worse still if I go in with them and they order on my behalf. But that worry can’t motivate me to talk; if anything it makes it a lot harder to talk.

Everyday, those of use lucky enough to be able to talk and hear, speak hundreds of words. We take it for granted; we can thank the bus driver, we can call a friend, we can say hi to someone walking past with a cute puppy, we can order food, we can buy books, we can ask directions or opinions or questions and we can give answers or advice or encouragement. Everyday, we choose how we use this voice. We can be kind, we can help people or we can be cruel and we can bring other people down for no reason other than pleasure.

If you had a limit on your oral wordcount, if you had days you couldn’t say anything, would you use your voice for good things? Or would you insist on proving your point, forcing people to see things your way and essentially just hurting people?

To be silent encourages thinking. Thoughts which can’t be spoken are difficult and complicated since often, those thoughts would help explain a situation “no, I’m not rude, I’m just extremely shy”, or they’d save a friendship “I’m not ignoring you, I’m just stressed and can’t talk at the moment”. Next time someone doesn’t thank you for holding a door open and instead glues their eye to the floor, or you see someone ordering food for someone else, think about how they might be feeling.

Your words matter, even if they’re not said out loud. Use them for good, because you’re lucky to be able to communicate.

Review: The One Memory Of Flora Banks (Emily Barr)

file_000-17Title: The One Memory Of Flora Banks

Author: Emily Barr

Publisher: Penguin

Release: 12th January 2017

Genre: Thriller, contemporary, YA

Which animal is similar to this book? Okay I think I’ve already used giant pandas for a comparison with another book, but I’m using them again with this book for a different reason. This book broke my heart and it was tense and emotional throughout the entire story, and I was constantly expecting it all to go wrong. In a similar way, giant pandas were steadily going extinct, mainly because they’re so difficult to care for in captivity, and once their homes had been chopped down, there was no going back…However they do not help themselves to survive; for example, there isn’t a specific breeding season, they’ll only reproduce if they happen across another panda of the opposite sex. This is risky as it’s unlikely they’ll come across another. They’re also clumsy; it’s amazing how many have injured themselves from falling out of trees etc. and this again impacts their ability to reproduce meaning they were gradually dying out. To compare it to Flora, we have to watch pandas slowly kill themselves off purely because they don’t understand that they’re harming themselves which is so similar to reading as Flora puts herself in these situations which the reader likely knows is a mistake but she doesn’t see it because of her amnesia.

The blurb says: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Wow. I won’t lie, when I first started reading this, I thought it was too heavy for me and I thought I’d got bored. But once I’d read a little more in, I started to really enjoy it and now I feel connected to Flora because ‘oh my god’ she’s amazing and so so strong. For someone who genuinely can forget when she returns from going to the loo mid-conversation, she’s incredibly strong. I feel like she would be going places in the real world.

Firstly, I loved the way it was written in her voice which was constantly changing. She developed the amnesia at the age of ten, so naturally her voice and her mindset is very immature for her age (seventeen) and being only a year older than her, it was easy for me to see the mistakes she was making and I found myself constantly stressed that she was doing completely the wrong thing. There are times she handled things in such a childish and just plain wrong way, and although I fully understand why she was doing it and where her logic was coming from, I felt very protective of her and just wanted to tell her to stop and think. Every now and then, she’d remember she was seventeen and force herself to think more maturely, and then she’d switch back to the childish thoughts, along with confused thoughts when she often didn’t remember where she was or who she was with. It was incredibly well-written.

The story started off quite normal and quite relaxed (considering the circumstances of the protagonist) but then it quickly became a lot more serious when she jetted off to Svalbard to chase after Drake. It was then that it became a lot more tense and a lot more eerie as she did things she shouldn’t have and was essentially completely alone away from her home and family. The ending was so well put together and tied everything up, but it was still a slightly creepy ending. I did love it though; it was very clever.20160804_163746

If you like thrilling stories, with that element of twists and turns throughout the story, you will love this! It’s so well told, so realistically written and has a good pace. 9 out of 10 paw prints from me!

Lush Products Review

I love Lush and I have done for a very long time and I’ve recently been ordering quite a lot so it’s possible it’s become a bit of an addiction… I thought I’d write reviews for a few of them sincfile_002-1e I feel like a lot of the time, people can be buying them essentially blind. Also I like Lush a lot and want to share pretty pictures of them…
So the first one is the Cinnamon Reusable Bubble Wand which smells so beautiful I can’t even describe it. It’s very strongly cinnamon and I’ll probably get two baths out of with a good amount of bubbles. The stick is a cinnamon stick and there are little pieces of sage embedded in it. It’s part of the Christmas collection and is obviously very festive and I would personally recommend it to anyone wanting a fun bath with a festive, strong scent.

The second product is the Nevermind The Ballistics bath bomb which is part bath bomb and part bath oil I think (the pink half is soft and waxy). It made my bath so soft and it smelled amazing. It has a sort of sweet/fruity scent and turned the bath a beautiful orange colour once it had fully dissolved.

The last product is the Damaged Hot Oil Hair Treatment which you melt in boilingfile_008 water then put onto your hair for a while and then you wash it off. My hair is very damaged so it seemed like a good idea and it did help my hair! My hair felt super soft after I’d washed it off and the ends of my hair especially felt a lot better. The softness didn’t last a very long time for me, but I think if your hair wasn’t as damaged as mine is, you’d be fine and it’d work wonders on your hair. It didn’t smell particularly amazing but it didn’t smell horrible either; it’s purpose really was just to fix hair.

New Years Resolutions For A More Positive Outlook On Life

This past year hasn’t been fabulous for me; assignments coming out my ears, a job that didn’t last, anxiety, OCD-related problems and stress brought on by myself. I’ve decided that this year will be better and this’ll start with me having a better attitude and coping mechanisms. I put together a short list of five New Years Resolutions to help me do this, and I thought I’d share them with you, in case you wanted some inspiration too.

  1. Blog regularly. Tweet. Talk to people. Don’t be afraid of what people may say because if the worst happens, you can delete the stupid tweet, apologise and if need be, block whoever isn’t being kind. I’ve let my blogging go, forgetting to blog and putting it off because so few people read them and to me, that feels like a failure. However I realised this is my own fault since I don’t talk to people and I don’t tweet at all really. This is because I’m scared people will ignore me or just straight-up not be nice to me…Twitter is full of strange people, weird tweets and unique photos. I’m not going to be afraid to tweet, because it might well make things easier for me, and I might even make some friends in the process! I also realised the amount of people who read my blogs doesn’t matter. I’m doing it for fun and I don’t need to feel so pressured to do well since the only person who is judging me, is me.
  2. Exercise. Exercising makes people feel good about themselves, and although I know it’s unrealistic to expect myself to go the gym or run four times a week, I would like to do some form of exercise at least once a week; whether that’s yoga on my bedroom floor, jogging around the block with my dog or hiking with my dogs. I’m not as such doing it to be fit or healthy, just to feel better.
  3. Stay on top of your goals/tasks. If I do assignments/homework as soon as I get them, it’ll make life much easier and probably make them better quality work anyway since I won’t have rushed it. Also if I know what my goals in life are, it’ll make it easier to keep up with them and it’ll make them more likely to happen sooner.
  4. Ignore negativity. If someone’s moaning that they’re behind on their work, or that their life isn’t going well, don’t let it bring you down or make you feel guilty because you actually finished that work a week ago or you just got a promotion at work. It’s not your place to be ‘behind’ everyone else; of course be sympathetic towards them, but don’t let them guilt you into not being proud of your achievements. They all matter.
  5. Finally, give yourself a break once in a while. Yes, it’s nice to be productive and it’s nice to feel satisfied with the amount of things you’ve got done in a day, but working hard every single day will wipe you out and it’ll make things worse in the long run when you need a week off from college because you’re ill and stressed. Do a few hours of work in a day, then spend the evening relaxing; have a bath, go for a run, bake a cake, watch Netflix aimlessly for hours. Just take the time to relax and breathe once in a while and you’ll feel better for it.

Obviously these are things you’ve probably heard before, and they’re all a lot easier said than done, so it might be a good idea to use something like a gratitude journal to write down successes. It’ll make you feel better and make you notice positive things more.

Good luck this year, may it be the best it can be!

British Books Challenge 2017

bbc-pointed-shaded-510x185

I’ve decided to sign up for the British Books Challenge…This means reading twelve books by British authors throughout 2017! My blogging’s been quite non-existent for a while, so this should motivate me to write/read more! I love supporting British writers and I loved events like YALC and the UKYA/MG extravaganza in past years, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find books I’ll love and enjoy!

The books I’m thinking of for the challenge at the moment are:

  • Wing Jones (Katherine Webber) – Wing Jones
  • Frozen Charlotte (Alex Bell)
  • Unconventional (Maggie Harcourt)
  • Lying About Last Summer (Sue Wallman)
  • Sunny Side Up (Holly Smale)
  • Girl Online: Going Solo (Zoe Sugg)
  • Songs About A Girl (Chris Russell)
  • How Hard Can Love Be? (Holly Bourne)
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks (Emily Barr) – The One Memory Of Flora Banks
  • Silence is Goldfish (Annabel Pitcher)
  • Good Me Bad Me (Ali Land)
  • Paper Butterflies (Lisa Heathfield)
  • All Of The Above (Juno Dawson) – All Of The Above

Good luck to everyone attempting this, it’s my first challenge so who knows how/when it’ll end for me, but I shall try! Thanks to Tales of Yesterday for hosting it this year, I can’t wait to see if I manage it!

Why Quitting Make-Up Was Good For Me

Since I was about eleven/twelve, most of the girls I knew were wearing make-up. Most were only wearing eyeliner/mascara and lipstick, but some were already starting to use foundation/concealer etc. When I was about thirteeen, I wore an interesting attempt at eyeliner pencil on the eyelid and under the waterline and honestly it was tragic, but it was to fit in. It worked because through year eight until halfway through year ten, I had quite a large group of friends (shocker, only two were real friends) but then I was left behind again when everyone else started to wear false eyelashes and some were even contouring at the age of about fifteen. So, after not much thought at all, I bought a load of make-up, watched a load of online tutorials and piled it on. Surprisingly, my attempts were pretty pathetic (I’m way too pale for high street foundations and I can’t afford the expensive ones, so I remained oimg_20151116_220315range for a while).

 

From year ten, I wore that much, gradually developing my skills, but not dramatically…I can at least flick eyeliner now and I got more experimental, using a cream blush to tint my eyebrows pink to match my hair. After I left high school, I told myself I’d stop wearing it, but I didn’t have the courage and at college, everyone wore it there too, so I didn’t stop. Five years after first putting on that dodgy eyeliner, I completely stopped wearing it at the start of August 2016.

The first reason was because my skin was an absolute mess…before make-up, I didn’t even get spots and if I did, it went away very quickly. I was lucky but I ruined it with make-up. I had spots regularly and because of that, there is now a scar from a spot on my face that wasn’t there until I stopped my skin breathing by plastering it in foundation daily.

The second reason was the expenses of wearing make-up every single day. A standard, high street bottle of foundation costs around £8. For me, they lasted about two-three weeks. Add to that the setting powder (about £4) which lasted about two weeks, and anything that I ran out of (mascara, eyeliner, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, bronzer, highlighter, lip balm etc.) then it becomes very expensive for someone without a job. There is also always the chance that I’d drop a setting powder and smash it, or ruin a lipstick in the rare British heat. I quit my job at the end of August, so even though it was only a small part-time job, I would have less money.

Another reason was the time and effort it took to wear make-up. It took me twenty-thirty minutes to do my make-up in the morning, more if I wanted to do something fancy! That’s fine but I’d have to carry a small make-up bag around with me in case I smudged my eyeliner, or wiped a patch of foundation off, or if a dog licked my face and smudged lipstick across my nose. And yes, all those happened, multiple times. It took up so much space in my room and in my bags, as well as all the time it took.

I’m quite a practical person; I do animal management and I spend a surprising amount of time with dogs, so it’s not comfortable to spend the day avoiding touching my face, and maintaining the look of neat foundation and mascara. One day I decided that make-up was no longer fun and it was becoming a chore because I thought I had to wear it to fit in properly.

I haven’t worn ‘face’ make-up in just over four months now, and I’ve never felt better! My skin has the chance to breathe, I can touch my face freely and I have more space in my room. I do sometimes miss it, and I do miss the fun things I could do with it, like cat eyes, ombre lips and exciting eyeshadow colours, but I don’t feel as insecure as I thought I would. I have freckles and now people can actually see them, but that’s okay because they’re part of me and I don’t need to look a certain way to please people because that’s not who I am. I still sometimes wear mascara and fill in my eyebrows slightly, and sometimes wear a thin line of eyeliner, but I don’t wear anymore than that.

file_000-14

Obviously, I fully respect and understand why people wear make-up, but if you feel like it would help you, you should try giving your skin a break because it feels amazing. It took me a while to have the confidence, but now I do, my skin is recovering and I feel a lot more comfortable now I don’t have to worry about smudging make-up. If the insecurity is too scary, you could learn nail art or dye/cut your hair because having something like that might be a new source of confidence.

You don’t have to look a certain way just because other people do.

Why you shouldn’t give a puppy for Christmas

There are many people who feel strongly opposed to giving puppies as Christmas presents, and they have done for years, but the Dogs Trust has been very opposed to it and very publicly since their slogan is “A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas”. This year, they’ve created the campaign called Socks Trust of which the basic premise is that you should give socks, not dogs at Christmas. You can actually buy socks which feature a variety of dogs which were handed over around Christmas and boxing day and this money goes to the charity to work towards helping more and more dogs. Unfortunately, the socks sold out within a day, but you never know, they may restock!

Puppy-buying for a Christmas present is dangerous for so many reasons and for many people involved. An under-socialised puppy has more potential to be dangerous than a well-socialised puppy. The same goes for a poorly-trained puppy, or a neglected puppy. A lot of people don’t even realise how much training a puppy needs; it’s not just treats and convincing it to sit. You have to lead-train it, house-train it and of course the basic training like recall, sit and stay. It also needs socialising with dogs, people, strangers, other animals, various experiences and anything it might encounter in its life. This creates a balanced, confident dog.

It is amazing how many puppies are genuinely handed into rescues purely because they grew and they’re not as cute and fluffy as before… Since volunteering with the Dogs Trust, I’ve heard so many horror stories of people handing in dogs around boxing day (that’s barely a day to get used to the dog) because the dog hasn’t learnt to toilet outside overnight, or they’ve mouthed someone and they think the dog’s vicious or nasty. People buy puppies this time of year because children like the idea but children can’t be held responsible for the dog’s welfare, and they can’t anticipate the level of hard work puppies require. However, adults can and should, yet they often don’t and this is where the problems lie.

Imagine you’re a tiny puppy, thrown into a family environment, possibly with another dog, maybe a cat. It’s stressful; you don’t know anyone and naturally everyone wants to hug you and kiss you constantly, so you have no chance to get used to your new home. Then add in the fact that it’s Christmas, with potentially other family members coming round, friends visiting, food cooking, excitable children etc.. It’s really the least ideal time to get a puppy.

Long story short, don’t get a puppy this Christmas. If you’re sure you want a dog and have properly thought it through for a long time, then wait for a few more months and get a rescue dog (most rescues won’t rehome over Christmas). That way, you know you’re sure and you can help a dog that needs helping. A lot of rescues have puppies anyway; Dogs Trust have a scheme called Puppy Partners where you can sign up to be notified when they have your perfect puppy in. The more specific you are, the longer you may have to wait but it’s a lot cheaper, more ethical and means you know you’re sure about getting a dog.

Here are some cute little pups from Dogs Trust Loughborough in August:

Give socks this Christmas.