It’s another circle around the sun. How did that happen? New Years comes faster each time, and for me provides a time to reflect, remember, savor the “wins” and explore the “not greats” and make plans for the next 12 months. Rather than making New Year resolutions, I make new year goals—and hope that the journey along the way proves equally rewarding.
2023 Recap from Amy Shojai
For instance, rather than say, “lose weight” I strive for good health. In 2023, my health improved and along with a healthier weight, more energy, and less achy-schtuff. That’s a win, for sure! This year, I plan to continue that trend, concentrating on what gives me and my family joy, letting go of past angst, and challenging myself to grab for that next shiny object. I’m at the age when I’ve let go (well, still trying!) to not care so much about what others thing–and focus on what I want and need to stay happy and human.
Last April, my 7th thriller DARE OR DIE released, and I can’t wait to share the next books in the series. I soon release an updated nonfiction title or two (stay tuned!) that makes some of my backlist more relevant and helpful to dogs and cats today. And this year in August I launched my own online bookstore to sell my fiction and nonfiction titles “direct to readers” allowing me to discount the books and reach more pet lovers.
My writing with Reader’s Digest, Hill’s Pets and others continues. In July, I received the honor of a lifetime, attending the AVMA Conference and presented with the AVMA Veterinary Media Award.
And I just finished a fun, frustrating, challenging, and ultimately and exhilarating run performing in SISTER ACT, and earlier in the year played Mayor’s Wife and Wickersham Brother (monkey) in SEUSSICAL.
But I stopped writing my P’ETiQuette newspaper column this year after more than 20 years donating free content to area readers. That hurt–but this blog makes it possible to keep the info-flow going. Worse, though, I lost friends this year, and other friends and colleagues continue to go through health and other challenges that keep my prayers busy.
Life happens, bringing great joy, great sorrow, and mostly–cruisin’ along. The challenges make those cruisin’ times more sweet, and help us take stock of how we evaded the rocks and cliffs (or can better dodge ’em in the future). Many things remain outside human control, but if you don’t engage with LIFE, shake things up with a bit of new, mixed with tried-and-true, you never know what might be possible. I’m looking for new possibilities for 2024, building on the joys of the past with hope for the future.
My family keeps me sane, and I know I’m blessed: my husband, y’all know as “M,” my brothers and their families, including a delightful great nephew and great niece, and my young-at-heart 97-year-old artist father. He still struggles with losing Mom—we all do, but him especially. Now we more often remember with smiles of the happy memories. And I have a visit planned where Dad and I will attend my home community theater and share our mutual love of musicals.
We have high hopes for 2024—and the hope shines strong in part because of the special pets of our past, our present, and sometimes the surprise pets (HELLO TRINITY!) that show up when you need them most.
Trinity-Kitten arrived on September 11, a dumped baby weighing less than 2 pounds. Full of fleas, with c’attitude to spare, she met the furry crew without fear–intent on stealing every bit of attention (and food!). She’s named for her connection to my church, Trinity Lutheran, and also for the “3” mapped out in tabby spots on her back.
Sometimes, we get the pets we don’t know we need, at moments we can’t plan. Welcome home, Trinity-Kitten, and here’s to your first New Year Pet Goals roundup!
2024 Goals from the Pets
It’s a tradition to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come. Throughout the challenges, our pets keep us laughing even through tears. Look for the surprise blessings that bring joy despite the heartache. So here are New Year Pet Goals from Karma-Kat, Shadow-Pup, Trinity-Kitten, and a couple from the spirits of Bravo-Dawg, Magical-Dawg, and Seren-Kitty, with commentary by Amy.
2024 New Year Goals–from Magic
Magical-Spirit: “I will remind my humans daily to cherish each joy, and remember me with smiles.”
Amy: He found joy in every sniff, sound, treat, touch or game. 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 continue to strive toward Magic’s attitude, to 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.
2024 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 to doze 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, to stop complaining about age (not everyone gets the blessing of a long life), and give myself permission to turn off work and take a sun-puddle nap.
2024 New Year Goals–from Bravo
Bravo-Spirit: “I will visit Amy in dreams to remind her that now I always catch the RED-DOT-DEMON. And I get to play bity-face tooth-fencing with the spirit of a special German Shepherd Boy who sometimes lets me win. And I miss and love my Karma-buddy bunches, and also the Shadow-Pup…sometimes I visit them, too (you’ll know by Shadow’s tail-wags during dreams, and Karma’s purrs …). Watch for me in the joy of their snuggles–because our love won’t every go away.”
Amy: Bravo began his last year with us after successfully completing all his chemo, and remained a gentle, goofy sweetheart despite losing 21 pounds (and his right front leg) due to cancer–we thought he beat it. During his months of treatment, he kept his boundless energy. Bravo moved as fast with three legs as four, and let nothing stand in the way of a good time—especially lap-cuddling, chasing cats, or wresting the Shadow-Pup. The day after he passed, Bravo returned to me with a slurp across my face, and stayed long enough for me to see him whole, healthy, and happy. So my new year pet goals include letting nothing get in the way of enjoying life–spending time in the garden, creating and enjoying music and theater and stained glass, sharing laughter with family and friends, and treasuring even the sad memories that leave tear-tracks of past joy on our hearts.
2024 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, climb the Christmas tree (please leave it up all year long!) and wrestle and tooth-fence with Shadow-Pup, what fun! And I will school the new Trinity-Kitten and wrestle her into submission, and chase and play tail-tag. And then doze and dream with my fur-buddies. Oh, and eat treetz, lotsa treetz.”
Amy: Karma always loved his dog brothers—and was rescued by Magic. When Bravo got sick, Karma worried over him, snuggled down next to the big dawg’s painful shoulder. He stopped his teasing while Bravo recovered from his amputation. Karma didn’t appreciate Shadow-Pup at first. He finally decided if Bravo liked the pup, he must be okay. He now teases and wrestles Shadow to get him in trouble. Having rowdy pets zooming around the furniture offers endless entertainment for them. Shadow and Karma sleep together each evening. But Karma needs more one-on-one games, too, where he doesn’t need to compete with the cat-food-stealing pup. 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.
2024 New Year Goals–from Trinity
Trinity-Kitten: “I will ZOOM-ZOOM-ZOOM everywhere, all the time. And I will CLIMB-CLIMB-CLIMB and leap HIGH to catch the red dot. Nothing’s too tall for me. And the cords on the wooden blinds belong to ME… so does Karma-Kat’s tail (he doesn’t mind, really), and Shadow-Pup’s food (he minds…but I don’t care!). I will eat anything and everything because I can and I am a KAT and have no off-switch. Boo-ya!”
Amy: She caught her claws in our hearts and gave us no choice but to fall in love with Trinity. She truly has a black hole for a tummy, and eats-eats-eats with relentless fervor. That’s not just Shadow’s kibble (a constant battle) but also Karma’s food, and head-diving grab-and-snatch drive byes of our dinner. So, meal prep and dinnertime means Trinity isolation for her own safety–and our peace of mind. Now at about five months old, she has another 5-6 months of high-energy zoomies to come. Hopefully, by the time I take my trip to visit my Dad, she’ll have calmed from 2000mph to 40 or so, making it easier for M to wrangle her the couple of days I’m gone. This year’s new year pet goal includes scaling the tallest obstacle, eating and enjoying every meal like a last one, playing until exhausted, and sleeping cuddled with those I love.
2024 New Year Goals—from Shadow
Shadow-Pup: “I will play-play-play, chase Karma up the cat tree, catch him and play squish-the-cat. And I will chase Trinity-Kitten around and around, and make sure she knows all the toys belong to ME (especially the best cat toys). And I will slurp away Amy’s tears when she’s sad, and do head-stands in her lap, and zooooooooom around the house, running laps on the new slick hardwood floor. 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 fun into Bravo’s pain-filled world. And gave us all hope. He still acts like a pup with no off-switch. This year’s new year pet goal continues updating the landscaping and including a memory garden for past pets. He’s also as smart as Magical-Dawg, so this year I plan to work more with him and his “talking” buttons to see what Shadow-Pup has to say (I think Karma-Kat and Trinity-Kitten may also throw in a few words).
Some Final 2023 New Year Goals—from Spirit-Pets
Magic-Spirit, Seren-Spirit, Bravo-Spirit: “We will train Amy that 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—or of love that ever ends. 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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Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE! 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!