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4-Week-Old Puppy Given As An “Unwanted” Gift Abandoned Just After Christmas

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on January 9, 2023

Christmas has passed, the year has turned, and many holiday gifts have already been forgotten, including some of the animals that were given this season. Sadly, many puppies, kittens, and other little furry ones given as gifts will be returned to shelters and stores once people understand the work caring for a pet entails. And just three days after Christmas, one darling golden puppy in Chicago has already found herself in the tidal wave of returned animals.

Winnie is only one month old and, just days after Christmas, already unwanted by the family that took her. And at such a young age, she should still be with her mother. Fortunately, The Anti-Cruelty Society took her into their care and helped her find her true forever.


More Care Than Realized

Giving a puppy or kitten as a Christmas gift is a risky venture. While many families understand what it means to welcome a furry one, others don’t get how much care and devotion dogs and cats need to live happy, well-adjusted lives. And that’s how Winnie landed at The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Her tale captured viral attention when TikToker KhanTheeDane, an employee at the shelter, posted a video of the sweet pup that read, “We’re already getting unwanted Christmas gifts.”

 The Anti-Cruelty League shared, “She was an unwanted gift that was purchased from a breeder on Facebook.”


The TikTok post amassed more than two million views, leading to a flood of interest in Winnie.

“Winnie’s story touched a lot of people, and she soon became a very hot commodity, said ACS. “We were receiving many phone calls and messages from those interested in giving Winnie her happily ever after.”

Finding Forever Fast

And among those wanting to give Winnie a home, “This couple came in ready to take on the big responsibility that comes with raising a puppy and they were extremely excited to start sharing memories with this little pup!”


“Winnie is now in her forever home surrounded with love.”

Winnie’s story has a happy ending, but The Anti Cruelty Society wants everyone to remember what it truly means to adopt or gift an animal.

“We encourage the public to not give pets as gifts without discussing it with the recipient. Gifting an animal as a surprise is a lifelong commitment that all parties need to be prepared for and educated about.”

RELATED: Getting A Puppy For Christmas: Problem Or Opportunity For Animal Shelters?

Rachel Klousnitzer, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for The Anti-Cruelty Shelter, told Newsweek, “Shelters nationwide will see animals being relinquished after the holiday season due to well-intentioned gift givers not understanding the amount of time and care an animal needs. We encourage members of the community to visit our shelter and speak with our knowledgeable staff about our animals and what they entail before adopting.”


“I also want to note that Winnie was not adopted from ACS. While we provide counseling and resources to keep pets with their families, including home-to-home adoptions, this is an isolated incident but we are happy she was brought to us so that we can find her a forever family.”

Follow The Anti-Cruelty Society on Facebook for more dogs and cats seeking their happy ending.

@khantheedane Please be responsible. Don’t give out pets as gifts to someone who didn’t ask for one or done research on how to care for it. This bean ended up on the shelter at 1mo💔🥹#christmaspuppy #shopresponsibly #dc #dogcommunity #shelterdog #adoptme ♬ Iris – Natalie Taylor

Feature Image: KhanTheeDane/TikTok & The Anti-Cruelty Society/Facebook

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