Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blog Grown and Flown
It’s the beginning of 2014, which is a customary time to think about the brand new year and finalize a list of resolutions. Each year, by the time January 1 arrives, I have scribbled down a list of “be better-do-better” goals that, unfortunately, fade from memory as my attention turns to the next holiday on the calendar. This year my strategy is going to be different. I am making five resolutions with my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Moose, as partners in hopes that they will be daily reminders to help keep me on track.
1. Increase my exercise. Every morning, regardless of the weather, I take Gus and Moose on a leash walk lasting no longer than 15 minutes. This year, I resolve to walk further, giving each of us a better daily workout.
2. Practice preventative health care. I wouldn’t dream of neglecting my dogs’ annual vaccinations. Now, as I make their vet appointments, I will also schedule my yearly doctors’ visits and not let my preventative health care lapse, either.
3. Cut back on snacks. Dropping a few pounds has made every one of my annual lists with paltry results to show. Reducing the human food we give our dogs as snacks while cutting back on my own grazing is a way I can be mindful of the harm overeating does to both canines and humans.
4. Help others. Moose and I are a certified Pet Partners animal therapy team and we visit patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital weekly. I see the joy he brings with each session and resolve to do more to help others.
5. Express gratitude. Whenever they wag their tails, our two happy dogs elevate my mood, too. They inspire me and, though I lack a tail to wag, I have countless ways to express my appreciation for all the joy in my life, including the happiness brought to me through pet ownership.
Thanks, Gus and Moose, for the daily reminders of my 2014 resolutions. With you as my partners, I hope to be more successful in focusing on my goals all year long.