2020 has been a very different and sometimes challenging year for everyone. As this year rapidly draws to a close, I would like for each of us to look back at our 2020 resolutions.
Please know, you are not the only one who didn’t get everything on that list done. Instead of focusing on what we didn’t get done, let’s look at all the positive things that happened in our lives and the fun and enjoyable moments we had, no matter how small they may have been. Let’s pledge to walk together into 2021 with an open heart, mind and the spirit of kindness towards every person we meet and let’s do it with a dog – or several dogs – by our sides!
- Get Fit: No matter your age or size – or the size or age of your dog, let’s literally walk into 2021 together. Participate in the AKC FIT DOG program, and it will bring health benefits to both you and your dog. https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-family-dog-program/akc-fit-dog/
- Meet your New Elected Officials: Elections are over, and it is time to get to know your newly elected officials or to touch base with those we have known for years. No matter your party affiliation, we must learn to work with all city, state and federal elected officials in a positive, kind and informative way. Meeting elected officials before a dog law issue arises will help put you at the head of the pack! Remember, the AKC Legislative Toolbox is available to make this task simple and enjoyable. https://www.akc.org/clubs-delegates/government-relations/toolbox/
- Earn Rewards: It has been a hard year, and we all deserve a reward. Everybody likes a few extra dollars in their wallet, so before your next litter sign up for the new AKC Breeder Rewards program: https://www.akc.org/press-releases/american-kennel-club-akc-pet-insurance-announce-breeder-rewards-program/
- Be Prepared: 2020 has been the year of the pandemic, but it has also had its fair share of disasters. That is why I am making sure my pets and I are prepared for 2021! This AKC article will help make sure your pets are prepped: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/training-your-dog-for-an-emergency-does-your-dog-know-these-skills/
- Update Records: During the year, I lost a fellow dog friend. I am very thankful she had her paperwork together, and her dogs were properly identified. By being prepared, she made the loss a bit easier for us. Please remember to check-in on your loved ones, club members and neighbors. Bring them hope and a smile as we continue to socially distance. The AKC Breeder Toolkit will help you catch up on your records from 2020 and keep things current: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeding/akc-breeder-toolkit-welcome-new-easy-use-platform/
- Seek Support: I also lost a very dear furry, four-legged friend, and that loss is making it a little more difficult for me to shut the door on 2020. I remind myself often that the pain I am feeling is all the extra love I have in my heart and I want to share it with everybody I can in 2021. If you have experienced such a loss, seek help through the AKC Pet Loss Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AKCPetLossSupport
- Make Each Season Special: For our doggie to-do list for each season:
- Fall – The leaves are still falling and need to be picked up again. Look at the positive! This makes for a great photo session with the dog(s) (and the kids if you have them). Make a big pile, jump in and click away!
- Winter – Plan a sledding day with the dogs and kids! It won’t matter if the dogs are pulling you down the street on a sled or your blazing down a hill together; make it fun!
- Spring – This is my favorite season with the new greenery showing up and flowers emerging. Plan to shed those winter pounds and make a habit of taking a nice stroll with your dog at the first glimpse of clear weather.
- Summer – Plan a “staycation” for you and your dog(s) during 2021 at a lake or body of water near you! Reserve your spot early, because lots of people found the local water during 2020! https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/dogs-that-like-water/
Don’t forget to set your reminders on your cellular telephone and on your computer for 2021. Have a happy, safe and prosperous New Year with well-washed hands in 2021!
Stacy Mason is an AKC Senior Breeder Relations Field Representative.