Top Ten Dog Lover’s New Year’s Resolutions

10. Garbage in, garbage out! It's time to take a good look at what goes into--and out of--your dog. If they don't have nice solid poops, it may be time to change brands. Research your options. There are a number of good web sites that offer ratings and food quality ratings. Feeding your dog the best food you can afford means a healthier dog in the long run. Have you always wanted to try a raw diet? Now may be the time to take the plunge!

9. Be prepared! Guess what? Winter is coming! No, really, we mean it this time. Take a moment to review your doggie first aid kit--or make one up if you haven't yet. Make sure you have some basic supplies (vet wrap, a thermometer, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, etc.). And review what dog meds you have and toss any that are expired.

8. Spring . . . um, Winter Cleaning! Now's a great time to wash all the dog beds, and re-stuff the toys. And if they’re beyond repair or too embarrassing to continue to use, keep an eye out for post-Christmas sales.

7. Dremel, dremel, dremel, I made it out of clay! Or maybe dog toenail dust? Actually, it was probably a gift from Santa by way of Home Depot. Either way, we know you've always wanted to learn how to dremel your dog's nails, so now's the time! There are lots of tutorials online, but we like this one.

6. Walk the walk. And support rescue while you're doing it! Yes, we know walking the dog more is always one of your resolutions, but this time we're throwing in added motivation! Use the Wooftrax app to earn money for your favorite rescue. (Yes, we hope it's us!)

5. FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! Okay, maybe not actual golden rings, but making recurring donations to your favorite rescue is a great way to keep the holiday spirit all year long. A $10 or $20 monthly donation really makes a difference! And yes, we hope it's us, but most charities are set up to receive donations via Paypal, which makes it super easy.

4. Old dog, new trick. Can your Sighthound sit? For many skinny dogs that is the holy grail, but how about a shake? Roll over? Stay?  Yes, you can teach a Sighthound to fetch! And of course there's the most important trick of all, a consistent recall. That's one trick that could save your dog's life some day.

3. Shave your head! Just kidding! You don't actually have to shave your head to join our cult. Just be mildly obsessed about your dog and willing to hang out with people who are just as crazy as you are. What we're trying to say is . . . get involved! Rescue needs you! Can you walk a dog at your local shelter once a month? Can you sit at your computer and help manage online auctions on Facebook? Can you make phone calls? Stuff envelopes? No matter what your skill set, there's a rescue out there that could use your help.

2. Take a vacation! This one is easy, you were going to do it anyway, right? If you or someone you know is going to be vacationing in Europe this year, give us a heads up! There are always dogs waiting for a ride to their forever homes. Timing and flights can be complicated. Not only can we make sure you can bring dogs home with you, but sometimes we can find you a better deal for your money too. We've done this a LOT!

1. And the number one dog lover's New Year Resolution . . . Foster! You may never do anything harder or more rewarding in your life. SHUG doesn't have a kennel and we depend on our foster homes to help dogs. Our dogs are sweet and smart, but most of them have never lived in a home before. Giving a foster dog a couple of weeks to learn about house training and shoes and stairs greatly increases their chances of success in their forever home. It also opens a spot up in the shelter that he came from so another dog can get off the street. Yes, you may bawl your eyes out when your foster skips off to their new home, tail wagging, but we promise there will be a smile in your heart. Apply here to change a life.

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