Creature comforts

New Year’s resolutions 2018

Ivy’s “gotcha” day approaches quickly — we will have had our 2-year-old, big, shaggy dog for a year already in mid-January. She has joined our family so seamlessly, it seems like we’ve known her forever. 2017 has seen a few memorable adventures with Ivy, mostly chasing madly after her, escaped and running free, doodling around our neighborhood. She thought they were excellent adventures. The rest of my family (and some friends) consider Ivy’s escapades very un-fun, harrowing and exhausting. Thankfully, these were few and far between, and the worst of the injuries suffered were some wicked blisters on the soles of my daughter’s feet, sustained while sprinting at top speed in socks (no time to don shoes) on superheated asphalt in mid August.

So fast is Ivy, that five of her spanning, graceful strides covers about half the length of our block. One thing’s abundantly clear about Ivy: we have ourselves a runner. We considered it luck each time we caught her, but I am now realizing that’s inaccurate. While luck may have played a role, we caught Ivy because she let herself be caught. Thank goodness.

After my second trip to the sports medicine doctor and the diagnosis of not one, but TWO stress fractures in one foot sustained while jogging on a flat treadmill, I can say with all seriousness and accuracy that I am NOT a natural runner. Bravely having taken Ivy on a couple of jogs this summer, I found it laughable that while I was working very hard, huffing away, dying a million slow deaths with each heavy footfall — Ivy looked fresh as a daisy, loping alongside at a slow, easy trot, barely panting. I have since stuck to a solid power walk with the dogs, and she seems to enjoy that just fine. So, my big resolution for 2018 is to make power walks with the dogs a regular feature. We will all be better for it.

While the rest of the humans in my family refused to divulge any of their aspirations for the coming year, our animals graciously shared their thoughtful resolutions for 2018. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, achievement-filled 2018.

Wyatt (cat, 13)

1. Continued pursuit of extreme rest and relaxation.

2. Find the mythical “Bottomless Food Bowl.” Attempt to empty it.

3. Take a juicy nap.

4. Acquire a whole rotisserie chicken just for me.

5. Take another juicy nap.

6. Say “no!” To any and all attempts at molestation or rude treatment by the dogs.

7. Rest. Nap. Rest. Repeat.

Virgil (cat, 13)

1. What he said.

2. Oh, and finally learn how to drink water directly from the tap without getting soaked. 13 years of trying — payoff’s coming!

3. Don’t stop believin’.

4. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.


(dachshund, 11)

1. Peace on earth and in our living room.

2. Enforcement of peace by any means necessary (mostly barking, but sometimes violence).

3. Possession of the best spot on the couch.

4. Work on “hungry” expression to obtain more sustenance.

5. Step up grooming activities to ensure all family members are sparkling clean. A thankless, never-ending, but necessary job.


(dachshund, 10)

1. 27 power naps daily. More on cold, wet, or icy days.

2. Continued brute squad duties, assisting in Walter’s peace-keeping enforcement mission.

3. Exterminate all wild vermin from, well, everywhere.

4. Master mind-control over the people — so they provide dogs with more walks and double rations.

Tom (tortoise, 10)

1. Eat more leafy greens.

2. Eat more hay.

3. Heck, eat any and all veggies, grasses, or weeds that are provided.

4. Sit on the big rock for, like, 9 hours straight.

5. Blink once in awhile.


1. Same as last year; just keep swimming.

2. Don’t get eaten.

Jenny (turtle, 10)

1. Eat more fish.

Kevin (dachshund, 7)

1. Stay adorable, fluffy, and fierce.

2. Move out of middle management and become a leader.

3. Convince the people to allow you admittance to the master bedroom. Or sneak in, if that’s easier.

4. Continue to be awesome — be the leaderboard topper for both Squirrel Evacuations and Mail Carrier Retreats.

5. Try to best last year’s record for Most Alarms Sounded at the Front Window. No such thing as a “false” alarm.

6. Improve guest interrogation techniques.

7. Reduce kitchen leaks and spills floor cleanup time by half.

8. Strive to be first on the scene of any interesting or exciting event 100 percent of the time. Last year’s 97.5 percent stats were respectable, but perfection is so close!


1. Meet all the neighbors, or at least all the doggie neighbors.

2. Run! Yay, running!

3. Eat more cheese. Remember: coming and sitting gets dogs cheese. Cheese is delicious.

4. Beat my own cupcake-eating record of 9 in one sitting, little papers and all. The authorities are aware of my cupcake-hunting prowess and have set traps and obstacles to thwart my efforts. Challenge accepted! Persistence pays, and so does optimism!

Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Her column is published every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at