Most people will agree that 2020 was an “annus horribilis” in so many respects. However, if you were a dog, maybe 2020 was actually one of the best years ever. Humans were at home more than usual due to COVID-19 restrictions which translated into more play time and more dog walks. Dogs that found themselves in shelters were adopted at a higher rate than usual with people looking for canine comfort, so that was another plus for our furry friends. Having said that, I would suggest we “close the door” on that year and look forward with renewed vigour to 2021!
Finn and I were chatting the other day, as we often do, and came to a consensus for what we hope for in 2021:
- May the COVID restrictions be lifted so our therapy dogs can get back into schools, hospitals and seniors’ homes and once again help those needing a mental boost. It isn’t just the people who therapy dogs meet that suffer during such restrictions but the dogs themselves who get bored and frustrated by not being able to socialize with people they love to see.
- May the veterinary clinics who have had to adapt and sometimes re-invent themselves be blessed with a more stable and less challenging environment in 2021.
- May the staff and volunteers in rescue shelters be given the strength and mental fortitude to continue the demanding work they do week in and week out. With donations reduced because of the effects of COVID and the poor state of the economy in Southern Alberta, may people step up to help these organizations by giving supplies or in-kind.
- May the number of dogs, given as Christmas presents, that would normally end up in rescue shelters in the new year be reduced. Dogs are needed more than ever during these trying times. Moreover, dogs are for life not just a nice thing to give someone for Christmas.
- May the people who have been debating whether to attend puppy classes or not “take the plunge” and commit to getting their dog properly trained in 2021. Dogs are wonderful creatures but, as with humans, need proper schooling and socialization.
- May the folks at Lions Foundation of Canada hit their goal of providing even more service dogs to Canadians in the new year. The work of this organization is exemplary in helping those less fortunate than the majority of us.
- May police dogs and dogs trained to work with the armed forces get the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. They are often the unsung heroes, working in dangerous, life-threatening environments alongside their human handlers. Let’s get their contribution to society recognized in the new year.
- May the Animal Food Bank have its shelves filled. If you are not familiar with the concept of an Animal Food Bank, please check out the website www.animalfoodbank.org. The drop off location in Calgary is at Pet Planet in Beddington (100 Beddington Blvd N.E. Calgary, Suite 110)
- May the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (www.canadiananimalbloodbank.ca) have a necessary supply of blood for those dogs needing blood transfusions. Based in Winnipeg, you can contact them via the website for the current locations offering this service in the Calgary area.
Let’s all make 2021 a better year for our dogs and for people living with dogs or who need the support of our furry friends. Thank you in anticipation!