January is well under way. Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, or were they broken long ago? No worries! Our dogs (and cats!) would love for us to rethink those tedious human lists. While we are grumbling about COVID-19 restrictions, our furry family members are gently shoving their noses under our elbows to remind us that there is still a lot of fun to be had, if we would follow their lead.
There’s no lack of inspiration right now, since January is both Walk Your Dog Month and National Train Your Dog Month. If you need some less structured ideas, here are 8 resolutions we know your pets would love to share with you, if only you could speak Dog or Felinese.
#1 “Say YES to walks and rides!” COVID has no doubt shown you that having to stay home for weeks on end can drive you a bit stir-crazy, no matter how comfy your couch is. When your dog comes up with a wiggling butt and a leash in his mouth, he’s teaching you that getting outside to see, hear and smell new things is absolutely necessary for daily happiness. The pandemic has taught housebound humans that leaving the house, whether on foot, by car, bike or even snowshoe, is required for a joy-filled life. Your dog is enthusiastically hoping you’ll keep this lesson top-of-mind, even after the pandemic passes.
Keep a backpack by the door with a mask, some snacks, water, a few poop bags and your trusty dooloop, and you’ll be ready any time either you or your dog has had quite enough of the couch or desk and need a dose of sunshine.
#2 “Bust some myths.” Disregard those internet memes that claim our cats want us out of the house and back at the office. Have you noticed that your whiskered sidekick is more affectionate since you’ve been home? If your cat could speak, she’d point you toward the feather toy for a session of serious team hunting. She’d likely follow up by suggesting you clear off some desk space so she can supervise your Zoom meetings and then drift off to sleep with a paw touching your arm.
If this is already the status in your household, you probably stopped sharing those memes months ago.
#3 “Adopt me a new friend!” There’s one BIG silver lining to work-from-home, and that’s the huge spike in pet adoption. If you suspect your dog or cat would like a friend -- or if you’re still an all-human household and have been pet-dreaming -- plug your zip code into Petfinder.com to find rescue pets looking for homes. If you can’t adopt because you’ll be returning to a commuting life, consider temporarily fostering a pet who needs a break from the shelter.
#4 “I don’t have to stay behind in the car anymore.” More and more businesses are putting out the welcome sign for dog-parents and their waggy kids. Your dog has always hated being left behind, so why not inject some fun to those mundane, masked store trips by shopping together? Pet supply stores are great for dogs who don’t mind bumping into a strange pup around every corner. If your dog needs a little more me-space, try dog-friendly home improvement stores and other businesses where you’re less likely to come unexpectedly face to face with other canines.
#5 “Let’s get our portrait taken” For sure, you have lots of images on your phone of your cat and dog at their goofiest and sweetest moments, but where’s that special shot of you together? Pet photographers are magicians at capturing the love you and your pet have for one another. If you are on an austerity budget, ask a friend to grab their smartphone and click away (safely socially distant) while you hug, play, and laugh with your dog.
#6 “Can we learn something new?” Now’s the time to spend a few fun moments a day adding another simple trick to your pet’s repertoire. Or maybe you’d both like to go bigger. Have you always felt your dog would just love to fly over those agility hurdles? Maybe your extra-curious dog would be excited to learn scent-work. Social distancing means even dog trainers have become wizards of Zoom, and you can find lots of online guidance if you need it.
#7 “Let’s write our bucket list” When you first brought your pet home, you probably had all sorts of future adventures in mind. If some of those plans are still just dreams, jump in the car for that Puppuccino or schedule that day-long hike. How about that catio you’ve always wanted to build for your cat? Order those plans now while spring-garden dreaming. Use this time to fit in those “me and my pet” plans you have always been thinking about.
#8 “Admit that little things are awesome.” Maybe your big plans are on hold right now – vacations, celebrations, and holiday gatherings. But your pets would like to remind you that little things are absolutely fantastic, too. Follow their lead: Walk, nap, insist on a belly rub, play a game, snuggle, never miss a meal, and be endlessly grateful for the love and trust we receive from one another.
Times are tough right now. So, go ahead and rewrite your 2021 resolutions with your pets in mind. After all, you’re the center of their world. We guarantee these will be resolutions you’ll look forward to keeping.
From our dooloop family to yours, stay safe and well. Remember: Listen to your dog. Listen to your cat. They have so much to tell you about staying joyful.