It’s been quite the year. We all know people who feel like quitting. Maybe you’re one of those people.

But you know what I’ve noticed during 2020? People with dogs seem to be coping better than those without. And people with rescue dogs really have a greater understanding of what it takes to get through hard times.

So let’s replace or add a few words.

Don’t give up on this dog. There were times when I wanted to give up on my rescue. The $300.00 prescription glasses come to mind. But I didn’t give up.

Keep fighting for the dogs. We’ve really had to do that this year with no fundraising events, no grants, limited hours because of no money, and even fewer dogs. We’ve had to make a decision to close for good or somehow keep fighting. And so we fight for the dogs with your help. And we are grateful.

Keep showing up. It’s hard to do but when you have a dog you really have no choice. You have to show up even if it’s just to walk your dog. And once you make that decision you have to get dressed, or at least wear cute pajamas, and maybe even comb your hair. And once you are outside getting vitamin D and seeing the beautiful plants and trees it does make things even a little better.

Keep loving our dogs. How can we not keep loving our dogs? So that part never changes. In fact, as people get uglier and more political and just downright mean our dogs are our salvation.

Keep being kind to our dogs. No brainer.

Keep being brave. My dog helps me be brave about the future because I know without me he would suffer. So I have no choice. And if I am depressed or anxious or upset guess who knows and reacts to my feelings? My dog. So I might not be able to be brave for myself but I can do it for my dog.

Keep caring for our dogs. Do you see a trend here? Loving and kindness and caring are what we do best when it comes to dogs.

Keep trying new things. Trust me, hiking is easier with a dog somehow. Trying new things helps us to get out of the rut of 2020 and dogs make everything better!

Keep showing grace. Ever owned a puppy? Or a senior who can no longer make it outside to poop? Grace. So many ways to show grace to our dogs.

Keep on. Yep, as hard as it is our dogs don’t give us an option. We have to keep on.

The world (and dogs) need you.

And lastly, it’s essential that we believe in the good. It’s hard to find some days but dogs are the purest form of good.

We are the lucky ones. We have someone to talk to, someone who always listens without being judgemental, someone who doesn’t care who wins the election, someone who thinks we hung the moon. When I got my dog three years ago I never imagined a year like 2020. My husband had two cancer surgeries, a hip replacement, his son died from COVID-19, his daughter almost died from another health issue, and my son lives in Kenosha which is very scary. And that’s just the highlight reel!

But this dog of ours has loved us through every bit of this year. He’s helped us to follow this list and get out in the world and be as kind as possible.

Hug your dogs and be grateful that in 2020 they really stepped it up. Maybe a few extra treats are in order.