2021 is rapidly drawing to a close. This year, I achieved a few of the things on my 2021 New Year’s resolution list! My first pledge for 2021 was to walk into the year with an open heart, mind and spirit of kindness towards every person and to do it with my dog by my side. This is a resolution I am going to carry over into 2022, and I am also going to make it a top priority. Everyone needs a smile and what better way to do it than with a dog!
- Get Fit: I have to admit that I did pretty well on some days and not so good on other days. I managed to walk a lot with my new dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Lake Monster. Sometimes, I am not so good at the details, so I didn’t do very well documenting our walks for the AKC Fit Dog program, but I just found out that is okay.You can go to www.akc.org/sports/akc-family-dog-program/akc-fit-dog/ and fill out the easy online form for a free AKC Fit Dog magnet for your car if you walked with your dog(s) in 2021! If you like walking with a two-legged friend as well as your four-legged friend, you can see if there is an AKC Fit Dog Club in your area. If you are an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, you can become an AKC Fit Dog instructor.
For 2022, I am going to keep walking with my new best friend; will you join us for a walk?
- Meet your New Elected Officials: I managed to get out in front of the pack this year! I got in touch with my local elected officials and talked to them about dog law matters of concern. For 2022, I am going to get an early start and circle back around to these elected officials, starting with mailing them a holiday card.Remember, the more times you contact your elected officials when there is not an issue going on, the better your relationship will be with them. The AKC Legislative Toolbox is available to make this task simple and enjoyable: https://www.akc.org/clubs-delegates/government-relations/toolbox/
- Be Prepared: In 2021, I managed to get all my pets’ microchip numbers recorded on paper and put into my disaster “bug-out” bag! I also put this list into my cellular telephone along with photos of all my pets. I am hopeful many other people also got this done because AKC Reunite donated its 50th life-saving AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer this year. Learn more about getting prepared and this great life-saving program at akcreunite.org/relief and remember — there is still time to get your emergency disaster preparedness plan in place for 2022.
Make Each Season Special: For our doggie to-do list for each season:
- Fall – After you pick up the leaves and finish your photo session with the dog(s) (and the kids if you have them), remember to follow the directions and put down a pre-emergent that will prevent stickers and burrs that hurt your feet and the dogs’ feet in the spring. Daylight savings time is always my reminder to change the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so this is your reminder… did you change them?
- Winter – Be careful! Don’t slip and slide. Plan ahead and get some pet-safe ice melt now, before it is sold out. This can prevent a slip and fall on those icy walks with your furry best friend. Ice and snow grips or cleats are a great gift for the dog owner or dog walker.Clean and check your heaters for any loose wires and make sure there are not any flammable materials near your heat source. Take a few minutes to think up great inside games to play with your dog on your next snow day: www.akc.org/expert-advice/traiing/how-to-keep-your-dog-entertained-indoors/. Remember, a wet dog is a cold dog, so be sure and bring them inside when the temperatures drop and/or add extra bedding so they can nestle up in a nice warm spot.
- Spring – Remember April showers don’t just bring spring flowers; they bring out the bugs: fleas and ticks! Spring is the right time of year to treat your yard and home to keep these pesky insects and arachnids under control. Don’t forget to schedule a spring haircut for your four-legged best friend. This will also help you to see any creepy crawlies that might have gotten on your dog. Besides, you both want to look good on your walks to take off any added winter pounds.
- Summer – In 2020 a lot of people and their pets discovered their local lakes. In 2021, a lot of people learned their dogs were not fond of the water or found out their pet did not know how to swim. In 2022, plan to teach all our dogs, safely and patiently, to be safe and confident around water and take the opportunity to share the sport of dock diving with them. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/sports/diving-dogs-101-compete-dock-diving-step-step/
More than anything I want to wish you and your dogs a happy and safe year as you walk and swim into 2022!
Stacy Mason is an AKC Senior Breeder Relations Field Representative.