Most of us have made New Year’s lists of good intentions…which we usually quickly forget.   We really do plan to eat healthier, exercise more, and clean out our closets.   Overworked, overstressed, and always in a hurry, we seem to regret the past and worry about the future, rather than savoring the moment.   There is a lesson to be learned from our four-footed friends as legendary Field And Stream writer Gene Hill says in his piece, “Just My Dog”:

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds.  He has told me a thousand times that I am his reason for being, by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile, by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.  (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)  When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.  When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.  When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.  When I am a fool, he enjoys it; when I succeed, he brags.  Without him, I am only a man.   With him, I am all-powerful.  He has taught me so much, including the meaning of devotion.  With him, I know a secret comfort and private peace.  He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.  His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.  His presence by my side is protection against my fears.  He has promised to wait for me…whenever…wherever…just in case I need him.  And I expect I will, as I always have.

Here are a few resolutions that would benefit your dog;

*Daily walks are good for both you and your dog.  Don’t walk the same path every day; canines need to smell  new scents, mark their territory, and discover new things.  It also gives you the opportunity to clear your own head, and forget your schedule, your cell phones and all the activities of the day.   Focus on the moment.

*Many dogs need a professional groomer’s touch once in a while, but you can certainly do regular brushing and maintenance.   If your dog smells bad, it’s time for a bath.  Hopefully you have access to a deep sink, or even a tub, and a place to keep shampoos, conditioners, combs clippers, and towels.

*A scrambled egg is a healthy addition to your pet’s diet…raw carrots are always a good treat.  Forget the unhealthy, commercial treats.  Here’s an easy-to-make recipe for homemade biscuits:

Mix 1 egg,  ½ cup of water, 2 ½ cups flour, ½ cup non-fat dry milk powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 5 tablespoons of margarine.  Knead the mixture until the dough forms a ball.  Pinch off small pieces, and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.   Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dogs love to be included as family, as Donna Hughes explains:

You’re going to the mailbox to drop some letters there……It won’t take long; it’s no big deal.

                Hey, I know—I’ll come too.

                You’re filling up the feeders for the birds in the yard; you don’t need help…it isn’t hard,

                But why don’t I come too?

                You’re driving to Gramma’s house for New Year’s Day…the roads are jammed; the traffic crazy.

                Don’t worry…I’ll come too.

                Your cold is getting worse, and you are sneezing up a storm…

                That cough is bad; you need some rest….to bed now; I’ll come too.

Another quote by Gene Hill:  No one can fully understand the meaning of love unless he is owned by a dog!    A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail  than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.

Let’s resolve to make this the very best year ever, filled with peace, love, and joy for both the four-footed and two-footed.