After the gorging of food and socialite activities the holiday season brings, self reflection and promises to ourselves take over in the form of New Years resolutions.
I’ve often sat down to make a list of personal goals for the year, but usually it’s summed up into these 7 words: stop taking family and friends (furry and otherwise) for granted.
I think most people suffer from complacency in this area of life, but it makes me sad thinking of all the times I got annoyed or angry with my two year-old, Husband, or dog for some silly forgotten reason. Being more mindful of how much joy they bring to my life and letting them know it is always a top New Years resolution.
Communicating feelings of gratitude for your pets is a little trickier-but sorely in need of happening! Often I go through the motions of filling water and food bowls with an absent-minded pat for them in amidst the buzz of my daily routine. There’s also a lot of, “No, Juno!” And, “Don’t eat that!” between my toddler pulling their tails and ears.
So how do I counterbalance some of the daily crazy they have to deal with? Since I can’t tell them how much I love and appreciate them, I have to show them. It’s not difficult, and I promise that you and your pet will reap the benefits.
4 Simple ways to show your pet you love them:
1) Spending time with them. Something as simple as throwing a ball together is perfect one-on-one time with your pooch. Other easy quality time ideas are going for a walk, setting aside time to have them sit beside you for some soul-satisfying physical attention and petting, teaching them a new trick, practicing their old tricks, or enrolling in a dog training course together.
2) healthy treats. Raw carrot slices, plain cooked sweet potatoe cubes, and raw broccoli (Juno loves broccoli) make excellent healthy treats and snacks. Even a few plain Cheerios (not too many!) act as a good low-calorie treat while practicing sit, stay, and roll-over. My cats love a morsel of leftover cooked fish or chicken.
3) Grooming them. Now I don’t mean you have to give Fido a wash and blowdry (especially since this is not something most animals appreciate.) My cats are fond of showing affection by grooming one another, and even me sometimes! So reciprocate this loving gesture by brushing them. This is a wonderful way to connect and keep your pet healthy-especially for cats prone to hair balls or pets that often get matted fur.
4) A new toy. It doesn’t have to expensive, obviously something dog-friendly, and even better if you can play with it together. For Juno, my feisty terrier, this can be challenging because anything I buy, even “indestructible” toys, are chewed to ribbons within minutes. The best sturdy treats I give her are either Nylabones (basically a really hard flavored chew toy that takes her a few days to get through), or a Kong toy filled with frozen peanut butter or frozen treats (this also takes her ages to work her way into and doesn’t end up strewn about my floor in tiny sticky pieces.) And my cats love simpler things, like plastic bottle tops to bat around the house and catnip covered cardboard scratch beds.
What are some simple ways you show your pets you care?