It’s TIME! For Eli, that means it’s time for “din-din”, but it is also a time to renew and rejuvenate before the new year. The end of the year is great time to reflect on the last year, realize what we have accomplished, and to change our mindset and start anew in the coming year. Now that Eli is in my life, he is a part of my annual planning process. Here are a few tips from Eli to help start off the New Year.
Breathe. Don’t forget to take time to stop and smell the scents.
Save. Setting aside a small amount every month into a special savings account is a great way to avoid added stress during veterinary emergencies. This way your decisions will be based on what is best for your dog, and not limited by finances. If your dog works, put all of his earnings into the same savings account. Even if you don’t use the money for vet bills, it will gain interest, and you will gain peace of mind knowing you are prepared for any emergency that may come your way.
Walk. There are many walks for human causes that allow dogs that raise funds for important causes like cancer research, AIDS, the National Eating Disorder Association, Scleroderma, to name a few. They are a fun way to raise money for charity, while getting exercise, meeting new people and networking.
Bark for Life. Join human causes and make a difference in the world. Find your favorite cause and participate with your pooch. There are many ways this can be done, without needing to be a therapy or service dog, like volunteering to assist at charity events, visiting the homebound by volunteering for Paws NY, volunteering for a shelter, and even just attending various charity events with your pup.
Donate. Organizations like Animal Haven and the ASPCA have a link on their sites to donate just a little every month. You won’t notice the difference in your bank account, but the dogs in need sure will. If everybody in New York donated just $10 a month to a shelter, imagine the difference in our shelter system!
Take naps. Five minutes of meditation or prayer a day will renew your spirit and can make all the difference.
Learn new tricks. Learning new things will add stimulation and meaning to your dog’s life. For humans, keeping your mind active by reading and learning about areas that interest you is a great way to stay young.
Find an alpha dog that inspires you. There are mentors in all areas and all topics. I personally make it a point to take at least one self-growth seminar a year, but it can be anything – designing dog clothes, obedience training, cooking for dogs, communicating with your pet, or anything that motivates you.
Woof! Find your passion and create something new. Write, compose, draw, design doggie hats, make pawprint paintings, turn photos of your dog into a calendar. Creating works of bark may help you feel more alive.
Remember, sometimes dogs in pain bite. It works the same with human. If somebody snaps at you for what appears to have no cause, remember that it may not be about you. Don’t take offense. If anything, see if there a message for you to do some internal housekeeping and move on. Reacting back at people can sometimes escalate problems into more than what they are.
Random acts of kindness. Next time the lady in front of you at Petco does not have enough money to pay for her weewee pads, give her some change so she is able to pay the bill. You may be surprised to see a New Yorker shocked that a total stranger helped them in a bind.
Let sleeping dogs lie. As the New Year begins, try to forget arguments and disappointed friendships from the years before. Start anew and focus on the gift in friendships, whether it be acquaintance, colleague or best friend.
Gratitude. Be grateful for what is, and find what “isn’t” inside yourself. By focusing on what is working and building on it, we can create our dreams on earth.
And most of all for 2012 – have fun!