Last year, many of the basics were on my list of top resolutions for us dog owners: spend more quality time with our dogs, pay more attention to their dental care and diet, improve fitness, tidy up training and so on. This year, I’m thinking a little more outside the box.
As I investigated gift ideas for the 2011 gift giving season, I was impressed by the increased availability of environmentally considerate pet products. Among my discoveries were dog toys made of dyed wool from a company called “A Cheerful Pet.” These toys are designed in the U.S.A. and then handcrafted by artisans in Nepal using all natural New Zealand wool.
Eco-friendly pet beds have also become popular. In some of their beds, Pooch Planet uses a product they call “EcoRest,” which is their recycled fiberfill blend made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The company also makes a line of pet beds using their special “MemoryLoft,” which is material made from remnants left over from the production of beds, pillows and other items for humans. They say that MemoryLoft offers the same protective features of slab memory foam, while eliminating waste of the expensive invention.
Another resolution dog lovers could make this year might be to help a pet in need. There are so many ways to do this, that there has to be one to suit nearly every dog lover in town!
Of course, shelters and rescues always appreciate donations of money to offset the cost of their services, but they may also find donations of household items useful. One year, a number of us local companies providing services to dog owners along with a number of our clients banded together to put on a shelter donations drive. People brought in linens, towels, pet food, cleaning supplies, unwanted collars, leashes, toys, crates and more. We then divvied up the loot and distributed it to local pet shelters. You don’t have to wait for such an event, though—most shelters I’ve spoken with will take donations at any time. In many cases, their wish list of items is detailed right on their website. It’s a good idea to call ahead to see when a convenient time to drop items off would be.
Another way to help out pets in need would be to volunteer your time at a local shelter, or foster an animal waiting for its forever home to become available. A quick online search will yield a number of organizations to choose from. Just get in touch to learn about their guidelines for volunteering time or becoming a foster family.
Yet one more worthy resolution to make this year might be to train and register your dog to be a therapy dog, allowing you and your pet to give back to the greater community by doing visits to any number of venues including (but not limited to) nursing homes, schools for youngsters with special needs or even college students struggling through exam week. Check out my Weekly Yip about the therapy dog organization, Dog B.O.N.E.S. as a starting place.
Of course, it’s still a great time to resolve to improve the life of your own pet, but why not consider one or more of these more far-reaching goals in addition as you draw up your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2012?