By Joanna Mitzel

(We welcome the new year with guest blogger, Joanna Mitzel. Joanna works as a construction loan administrator in Bellevue, WA.  As a long time supporter of the ODH mission, she hopes to become an active volunteer in the coming year. She shares her home with her boyfriend Tom, their three active senior dogs, and aterribly lazy senior cat.)

Winter is in full swing. Neighborhood streets are lined with bare Christmas trees, awaiting the boy scouts’ curbside pick-up. Glass ornaments, wrapped with care, are returned to the farthest reaches of attics, garages and storage units. Our achievements and failures of 2017 are replaced with aspirations and promises of transformation in the new year.

Welcome 2018 – year of the (old) dog. In the Chinese Zodiac, the dog represents loyalty and honesty. Dogs are intelligent, faithful, resilient beings and in recognition of the joy they bring to our lives, let’s keep in mind their perspective with the top five resolutions to improve life in the coming year.


Reuben James Looking’ Cool


1. Stay fit and healthy – As we age, keeping in shape is work in process. We both need our annual/semi-annual check-ups and teeth cleanings. Let’s remember to take our daily joint supplements and monthly flea treatments. Pay close attention to my eyes. Just as you might find yourself reaching more for your reading glasses, take note if I start bumping into furniture, especially at night.






Tinker is losing weight!


2. Lose weight – Just like yours, my metabolism isn’t what it used to. Be sure to feed me a high quality, age appropriate diet. Consistently measure my portions and remember that even healthy snacks have calories. I may be slowing down, but that’s no excuse for a lack of exercise. Keep my walks shorter, but more frequent. Let’s cross train together. Swimming is non-weight bearing, challenges our cardiovascular system and strengthens our muscles.





Esther is waiting for a treat in the kitchen


3. Live life to the fullest – I live in the moment and you should too. I don’t over think any situation. I appreciate every squirrel that runs through our yard, even if I can no longer chase him. I tug on my harness, longing to run faster, even if my hips might be sore later. I double and triple check the kitchen floor after dinner, just in case there’s a chance you may have dropped something. Let’s take advantage of every sunny day this year by going for a drive with the windows down.







Rick and the gang


4. Spend less, save more – I enjoy every moment that I’m with you, no matter the cost. My perfect date night is a movie on the couch, ok and maybe the occasional dropped piece of popcorn. My favorite toy is a rope pull made from Dad’s old T-shirt. And my most favorite treats are the slices of banana slyly slipped underneath the breakfast table. Spoil me with love, not money.



Archibald loved riding in the car


5. Spend more time with family and friends – Remember that you are my whole world and I just want to be with you. Whether we’re firing up the grill in the backyard, or making a quick trip to the home improvement store, you are the leader of my pack. Though my eyes may be cloudy and my muzzle gray, I resolve to be your most faithful companion for 2018 and ever after.



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