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7 Resolutions Your Pet Can Help You Reach

Stephanie St. Martin
Jan. 13, 2012

A New Year always brings a time of renewal. Whether it's improving relationships or vowing to lose that holiday bulge, something about January kicks our tails into high gear.

Believe or not, you may have an unexpected ally in the battle to keep your resolutions resolute: your pet. Your resolutions may be more feasible than you think. Here are 7 New Years Resolutions that both your tails can benefit from.

Resolution #1: Lose Weight

Pet Solution: Exercise with Your Dog

Just as a January 2012 New York Times article states, if shedding the pounds is a high priority, you should opt for a dog instead of a treadmill. Ways Fido can help? Only book your dog walker for the afternoon walk, when you're at work and extend your morning and evening outings by 20 minutes. .. Find a longer route that you enjoy and kick up the pace. Want something different? Sign up for a Dog Agility Class and learn the engaging sport of dog agility. Both you and your pet will work up a sweat -- and boost your competitive edge!

Resolution #2: Plan More Date Nights

Pet Solution (for those Attached): Hire a Pet Sitter

If you and your spouse hope to revitalize date night in 2012, plan ahead. Have a puppy? It's common for new fur-parents to dread leaving it home alone. The loneliness. The image of shredded shoes. And you don't want nature to call on your carpet. Even if it's your old dog that's the terror, you'll want to keep those luxury pillows intact. Hire a pet sitter so that you can go out for that long-awaited date night without the worry.

Pet Solution (for singles): Attend Dog-Friendly Events

You know the story of 101 Dalmatians? Dog owners Roger and Anita found love thanks to their pooches. Take a reel from their love story. Make a profile on one of the several dating sites geared to both dog and cat owners, such as MeetDogLovers.com or Purrsonals.com. Head to some dog-friendly destinations, restaurants, and parks.

Resolution #3: Have More Sex

Pet Solution: Give Your Pet His Own Space

Experts agree that in order to keep your sex life intact, the number one rule is to keep your bedroom baby-free, and furbabies apply here too. That means no dogs or cats sleeping at the foot of your bed. No toys all around the floor-nothing can ruin a sexy mood like accidentally rolling over a squeaky toy. And keep pictures to a minimum. You shouldn't be looking at Fido when you're about to get frisky. Pet-proofing your bedroom means giving your pet his own space. Create a comfortable place just for him, filled with a soft bed, toys, food and water. Start a goodnight routine. Keeping the dog out of the bedroom allows those passionate moments to go uninterrupted.

Resolution #4: Swear Less

Pet Solution: Pay Your Pet

Those days of adding a quarter to the swear jar aren't over-you just can't reap the benefits. Instead of indulging in a pair of Jimmy Choo's, use that ever-growing pile of quarters on something for your pet. A new toy, a better bed, a donation to a local animal shelter -whatever it may be, you're no longer allowed to pocket the change.

Resolution #5: Stress Less

Pet Solution: Connect with Your Pet during the Day

You know how those viral videos of adorable animals instantly put a smile on your face? And for a minute you forget about that thing irking you, right? So make a DIY video of your favorite furry friends, upload pictures to a digital frame, ask the pet sitter to text you daily pictures, or install a nanny cam. Either way, view them when you need a pick-me-up.

Resolution #6: Reconnect with Loved Ones

Pet Solution: Have Your Pet Help Bridge the Gap

Never underestimate the power of unconditional love - or ice breaking -- from an animal. Invite your friend or relative to join you while you walk your dog. Or ask someone over and use the animal as a buffer. . Need to catch up with someone? Grab your cell phone on your next dog walk. You probably won't find another uninterrupted 30 minutes in your day.

Resolution #7: Give Back and Volunteer

Pet Solution: Get Your Pet to Help

There are countless ways to give back, and countless opportunities for your pet to join you. Pet Therapy programs are a great way to incorporate both. You can sign up for classes to become a handler and have your pet certified to visit hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities that will accommodate dogs. Remember the stress you had during college finals? Schools like Tufts, Boston University and Boston College and now inviting dogs into dorms to offer an hour of "distressing" during exam week. Therapy dogs are also being invited into schools to help promote literacy to children. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) helps children relax so they can enjoy reading to a very attentive listener.

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