Each year, rather than making New Year resolutions, I plan for goals—and hope that the journey along the way proves equally rewarding. Rather than say, “lose weight” I instead want to strive for good health. All plans for 2020 sort of went out the window, though—but our family came out the other side a bit bruised, but far better off than many others. We have high hopes for 2021—and the hope shines strong in part because of the special pets of our past, our present, and sometimes the surprise pets that show up when you need them most.
It’s also become a tradition to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come. Our 2020 began with fear over the virus, and then heartbreak with Bravo’s cancer diagnosis. But hope and joy returned as he not only survived his amputation and chemo but continued to thrive despite his challenges. He and Karma-Kat keep us laughing even through tears. And the Shadow-Pup, a surprise blessing, brings nonstop energy and wags that banish the sadness. So here are New Year Pet Goals from Karma, Bravo, Shadow, and a couple from the spirit of Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.
2021 New Year Goals–from Magic
Magical-Spirit: “I will remind my humans daily to cherish each joy, and remember me with smiles.”
Amy: He loved fetch clear up to his last day with us, and found joy in every sniff, sound, treat, touch or game. Bravo continues to dote on Magic’s favorite “big ball” toy. I take it as a message to us to lighten up…and even wrote a song about him (someday I’ll get it recorded). So my new year pet goals include being more like Magic and pay attention to everyday miracles of the touch of soft fur, smell of rain in the wind in my face, to find music in every brash or quiet sound, relish each taste whether tears or treats, and open my eyes to every glorious sunrise, storm cloud and rainbow in my life.
2021 New Year Goals–from Seren
Seren-Spirit: “I will remind my humans to ignore pesky aggravations like cat-brothers, stare down intimidating challenges (even if they’re 15 times your size like Magic), and find a sunny place in every situation.”
Amy: Seren remained in charge, the Queen of the house, to her last breath. A bit of a curmudgeon despite her tiny size, Seren ran our house and hearts with a benevolent paw. Read about her Christmas gift here… She never let arthritis stand in the way of a smidge of chicken, constantly reminded Karma who held the sharpest claws, and taught Magic—and her humans—what aging gracefully means. My new year pet goals include living like Seren, focusing on goals rather than roadblocks, stop complaining about age (not everyone gets the blessing of a long life), and giving myself permission to turn off work and take a sun-puddle nap
2021 New Year Goals–from Bravo
Bravo-Dawg: “I will finally catch the RED-DOT-DEMON and make sure Amy releases it from the drawer more often. And I will carry Big-Ball (that smells like the spirit of a German Shepherd Boy), all over the place and wrestle it into submission. I will play squash-the-Karma-Kat, and I will play bitey-face tooth-fencing with Shadow-Pup. And only stop for the TREATS word. Because that’s what I do.”
Amy: Bravo began the year at the 121-pound mark, and remains a gentle, goofy sweetheart despite losing 21 pounds (and his right front leg) due to cancer–he beat it! Now he’s full of boundless energy, still moves as fast with three legs as four, and never let anything stand in the way of a good time—especially lap-cuddling, chasing cats, or wresting the pup. He loves spending time outside, so my new year pet goals include more time outside with him helping me garden, more cuddling sessions—and just enjoying Bravo for as much time as we have left together. Paws crossed his next X-rays in January show continued good news!
2021 New Year Goals–from Karma
Karma-Kat: “I will stalk and tease and pounce on Amy’s feet, play “gravity experiments” on tabletops, take towel-surfing rides across the carpet, rattle window blinds, paw-dig at the TV screen, and constantly tease my dawg-brothers, what fun!”
Amy: Karma always loved her dog brothers–and was rescued by Magic. When he got sick, Karma worried over Bravo, snuggled down next to the big dawg’s painful shoulder, and stopped his teasing while Bravo recovered from his amputation. He didn’t appreciate Shadow-Pup at first but then decided if Bravo liked the pup, he must be okay—and now teases and wrestles both dogs I think to get them in trouble. Having a pair of rowdy dogs and curious cat zooming around the furniture offers treat entertainment for them. Bravo and Karma sleep together each evening. But Karma needs more one-on-one games, too, where he doesn’t need to compete with the two cat-food-stealing dawgs. More new year pet goals are to play interactive chase games with Karma each day, and add more bird feeders and baths by the windows for better cat-TV fun he craves and deserves.
2021 New Year Goals–from Shadow
Shadow-Pup: “I will play-play-play, shove toys in Bravo’s face to tease him, chase Karma up the cat tree, and run-run-run out the fence to zooooooooom around the grassy fields! And then I’ll do it again. And again. And …”
Amy: Shadow appeared, a dumped puppy, at our front gate on May 31st ten days after we found out about Bravo’s cancer. During a time of unrelenting fear and anxiety, this joyful puppy brought boundless joy into Bravo’s pain-filled world. And gave us all hope. Like most pups, he has no off-switch and his “escapes” have brought us some scary moments. So a long-procrastinated new year pet goal has already begun with refurbishing the back yard fence to create a safe play area for both dogs.
2021 New Year Goals–from Spirit-Pets
Magic-Spirit and Seren-Spirit: “We will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip, and whisker-kisses, lap snuggles and ball-tug games. And we will train Amy that playing with pets is more fun than anything else. AND we will train Amy that there’s no such thing as too many treats. But time together—however long or short the time—is the best thing of all.”
Amy: My ultimate New Year pet goals are to listen to my furry muses. What about you?
PAST NEW YEAR POSTS:
I started to delete these, and then decided to save them here. After all, some of my furry muses commented on these posts.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
Best blog ever. Thank you.
Awwww thank you!
this post sooo made me smile! Your babies have some wonderful goals…the red dot one cracked me up…among others!!! Here’s to a much kinder, 2021!!
Hey Caren! Yes, the other pets could care less but Bravo is fanatical about that red dot! Hilarious to see such a big dog on the “hunt” LOL! And I know your year will be filled with furry snuggles with the new pets–a kinder 2021 would be lovely.