I could learn to be more like Artemis. Dogs, after all, are the best part of being human. The human-dog relationship has existed for thousands of years, and we aspire to be the humans they see in us. It’s only logical that we look to our dogs for New Year’s resolution inspiration, then. If you’re still searching for ways to embrace “new year, new me,” consider these six earnest resolutions in honor of our good dogs.

I resolve to explore the same corners of my daily routine with enthusiasm and gratitude.

Lately, Artemis has been waking me up at 5 A.M., rain or shine, for a long morning walk before the sunrise. For two hours, we meander around the neighborhood, and if Artemis suspects me of redirecting us back home a minute too early, she drags us away in the opposite direction. If I were a more patient person, I’d probably wax poetic about how much I cherish these these frigid winter walks in the dark, excavating through the silence with Artemis. But most of these mornings, I’m hungry for breakfast and coffee (or sleep), and I’m constantly checking Google Maps, figuring out the sneakiest way I can trick Artemis into walking towards home.

Artemis never tires of these walks around the neighborhood, even though she sniffs the same fire hydrants and pees on the same street corners each time. With her, each walk is an opportunity to discover something new about the places she cherishes so much. Perhaps another dog has peed on the same hydrant. Perhaps someone dropped a French fry on the sidewalk. Our walks don’t go anywhere. We always end up back home. For Artemis, it really is about the journey, not the destination.

I resolve to pick up poop without waste.

We were inspired by Jedi the Shih Tzu, who is resolving to be a more eco-friendly pup. First, Jedi will be using Pooch Paper, which is a poop bag alternative made of recycled non-chlorine bleached paper that is completely compostable. They come in sheets and are made with a grease-free coating to prevent the poop from, well, getting anywhere. Would you rather use bags? Wild One and Dogdrop make chic compostable poop bags that fit into your chic poop bag dispensers.

I resolve to take more naps and fewer meetings.

Have you heard of The Nap Ministry? It’s an organization that examines the liberating power of naps and rest. It’s an Instagram account that I’ve followed for years, but to which have never paid close attention, partly because I’ve never felt like I’ve deserved to rest. For years, I have longed to be like my dog, Artemis, taking naps whenever and wherever she wants—and never feeling guilty about it. I always joke that Artemis “takes all the naps while I take all the meetings,” but it’s true. Naps are as essential to her existence as meetings are to mine. Perhaps it feels the same to you, too.

So, at the end of 2020, after a year of overwhelming sorrow, fear, and loss to our lives and livelihoods, let’s consider learning from our dogs. Let’s nap without guilt. Let’s nap because there is always time for rest. Let’s nap because our dogs do it all the time, and they seem pretty happy, don’t they?

Also, consider this: Does it have to be a Zoom video meeting? Can it be a call? Can it be an email?

I resolve to eat less sugar.

Oral disease is extremely common amongst dogs, but they do not get cavities like humans do. That is partly because their oral bacteria does not harm teeth in the same way that ours do, and partly because dogs do not (usually) consume sugary or acidic foods like we do. (Though I can rarely deny Artemis a generous lick of ice cream…)

I joke that Artemis eats healthier than I do, but it’s true. I’m far more discerning about her diet than I am about mine. Perhaps that’s why she wakes up with enough energy to walk two hours every morning, while I need a cup of coffee before sending one email.

I resolve to work with my trainer (and to treat myself for hard work).

When Artemis was going to training class, we were super diligent about maintaining a practice every day. Artemis got a great mental and physical workout every day, with more commitment than I ever invested in myself. Now I know that if Artemis can work with her trainer with a smile on her famous, so can I.

I’ve been doing The Class almost every day for my daily quarantine workout. You break a sweat and listen to some good music, all confined to your mat, which is great for people living in small apartments. Whenever I roll out my mat (if anyone cares, I use a Yogamatters cork and natural rubber mat, which is more sustainable because most mats are made with PVC, which ends up in landfills), Artemis rushes over and shows me her best downward dog. And when I’m doing jumping jacks, Artemis often comes over because she thinks we’re dancing.

I resolve to share with my community.

Since adopting Artemis in 2016, we have fostered many dogs (and one cat) in New York City. I have long admired my good girl for sharing her food and toys and bed with pets waiting for their forever homes to come along. Artemis was a stray from Miami who arrived in my life so malnourished to the extent that people used to yell at me for thinking I was not feeding her when I first adopted her. And now, with love and stability, she has given and shared with other rescues. This might be the year that you foster an animal! Or maybe, you will join a mutual aid fridge like chef Dani Dillon, dog mom to Yuca. Our dogs have shown us infinite capacities for receiving and giving love, and now we have the opportunity to extend our compassion and empathy in actionable ways.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? This year, I worked on intentions using Ouai founder (and dog mom) Jen Atkin’s templates and Year Compass, which is a free workbook for reflecting on 2020 and planning for 2021. Like you, I resolve to be the person my dog sees in me.

Photography by Lauren Marsh

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