It’s that time of year again, and you’re probably busy making some New Year’s resolutions. Many of these are universal — lose some weight, save more money, get more organized. Or perhaps you’d like to keep your house cleaner, change jobs, or work on improving your relationships.
Your dogs have some New Year’s resolutions they would like you to make as well, and if they had the dexterity to work on your laptop, they’d probably already have added them to your list. Since they can’t, I’m sharing a few that the dogs have shared with me. Trust me when I say that life is far too short — especially when you’re a dog — and spending time with your dog is more important than dusting the furniture more often. Many of your resolutions — like getting more exercise — can also incorporate your dog so you’re both happier and healthier.
Below are the Top Five New Year’s Resolutions Your Dogs Want You To Make, as shared with me by Jessie, Lexie and friends. Happy New Year to you all!
1. Get us more exercise.
Young dogs need exercise to keep out of trouble (a tired dog is a good dog, or at least a dog who is less likely to jump up and steal the bag of cheez doodles off the counter and make a run for it). Middle age dogs need exercise to stay flexible and healthy. Older dogs need exercise to keep their bodies strong and lean and stave off arthritis.
“You can go to the gym, join a tennis club or take up volleyball. Without your help, all we can do is spend extra time chasing the cats (which always seems like a good idea until the lamp gets knocked over and the cats start making those weird Exorcist noises). We need YOU to take us on long walks, play ball with us, bring us to the park or enroll us in agility, flyball or other dog sport classes. Keep us active — physically and mentally — and we will be able to share more precious years with you on this earth.”
2. Socialize us.
Dogs that are well socialized are healthier mentally as well as physically, and they are more stable, calm and well mannered than those who are not socialized regularly. Mental stimulation can also increase a dog’s lifespan by as much as two years, according to some studies.
“Don’t YOU get stir crazy when it snows and you’re stuck in the house for two days? Sometimes our whole lives can feel like that, and we want to get out and see the world, too! Take us out to dog fairs, local hiking trails, dog-friendly pet stores, obedience or dog sport classes. Train us to become therapy dogs and bring us to visit the homebound, the sick, the elderly and the children who need some help learning to read (we’ll both feel better for helping those unfortunate people who are unable to have dogs in their lives full time!). Include us in your social activities. As an added bonus, we’ll help “screen” your friends (those who don’t enjoy dogs probably have other serious flaws as well, so you’re better off finding out early so you can instead choose animal loving friends, as everyone knows dog lovers are kinder, smarter and all around better humans than the non dog lovers!).”
3. Take us for Wellness Checkups
No one likes to go to the doctor when they’re not sick, and it’s easy to skip those wellness visits at the vet when money is tight and schedules are crazy. But an annual vet trip (twice annual for dogs seven and older) is important in monitoring your dog’s ongoing health. It’s also a great way to learn about new treatments that can keep your dog healthier for longer. Stem cell therapy, laser treatments, nutritional supplements, homeopathic treatments, doggie chiropractic care and new theories on diet can be all provide dog owners with valuable tools that can come in handy for maintaining your dog’s long-term health. Ask if your veterinarian gives free seminars about dog-related topics; if not, ask around, as more vets are offering free educational opportunities that are worth exploring.
“We may not love going to the vet, but we trust you to make sure we stay healthy and happy. Please do what you have to so that we can live long lives, free of pain and discomfort.”
4. Make time in your life for us.
Juggling work, family, chores and bills can be challenging, and lately everyone seems increasingly time pressed. But the old adage “life is short” applies seven-fold to dogs, and it’s easy to forget how quickly the time goes by. Dogs are pack animals, and they don’t just require food, exercise and sleep, they also require love and attention, petting and playtime. Dogs are a great reminder of what’s truly important in life, and in the greater scheme of things, it’s okay to let some of the chores slide sometimes while you focus on what’s really important: your living, breathing, always-loving-you dog. So put down the vacuum and toss around that tennis ball instead; get off the laptop and pet your dog; get off the phone and talk to your dog (who will likely be more attentive and happy to listen to you than whoever you were going to call anyway!).
“You are gone all day at work, then at night you have friends to visit, parties, chores, erands to run. We spend the whole day, every day, just waiting for you to come home. You are our whole world; we would die for you without a second thought, so please don’t forget us! We understand that you have to work to pay for the kibble, the bully sticks and the stuffed squeaky hedgehogs, but we’d rather have a few less toys and more time with you. Please enjoy us while we are here, and let’s wring every moment of joy out of this life together!
5. Take Us On Vacation!
Vacation is how we celebrate life, letting go of our day to day responsibilities to just have some carefree time full of fun. It’s the “magic time” that we spend with our favorite
people, our closest friends. We tend to be at our best on vacation, relaxed, happy, joyful. And who’s a closer friend, who’s more deserving of our best than our dog? Dogs are with us during the worst of times, supporting us, being patient with us, loving us no matter how busy or tired or cranky we get. Shouldn’t they also enjoy the best part of us?
“You may not realize it, but we work hard, too! We guard our home and protect our loved ones from trespassing squirrels and evil mailmen, we support you when you are sad, or tired, or cranky, or overworked, and we are always, always here for you, even when your head is somewhere else and you barely seem to notice us kissing your hand, warming your feet it just sitting next to you, supporting you and loving you. Won’t you take us somewhere fun where we can play together without all the distractions of ‘real life,’where we can celebrate life and the love we have for each other? Take us to Canine Camp Getaway of NY next June, and give us the best gift a human can give a dog — time together to play and have fun together!
Wishing you all a wonderful 2012!
Janice, Jessie & Lexie