How Your Pets Can Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

How Your Pets Can Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Owner and dog on a jogDid you make New Year’s Resolutions this year? What are the odds they had something to do with committing to leading a healthier lifestyle? How many times have we all made those same types of resolutions, only to have broken them and feel dejected by February? Many of the resolutions we make around living a healthier lifestyle can be helped along by our pets, without much extra effort on our part—just by actively re-committing to many of the things we already do or should be doing for our pets as well as ourselves. Here are some ways your pets can help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.

Resolution: Get Fit

This is probably the #1 resolution made at New Year’s every year. How many of us are actually successful with truly committing to it and seeing it through to produce a major life change? Many of us start off strong but fall off the wagon just a few weeks into the New Year. Part of making this resolution successful is having a plan and sticking with it. This is where your dog can really help you out – we all know most of our dogs live for their daily walks. If that’s something you already do together, take it one step further and plan out some new routes that are just a bit longer, and gradually add to the length of the walks every couple of weeks. Eventually, you will build up stamina and endurance, as will your dog, and you will both be burning more calories than you realize on your daily strolls. Just getting out there can be the jump start for your health and fitness goals.

Resolution: Try Something New

If you’ve committed to stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing a new challenge as part of your New Years Resolutions, your pets can help you out here too. There are tons of activities that are dog-friendly that help you meet new people and try new activities, like hiking groups, obedience classes, agility courses, and more. Although taking that first step might be tough at first, you might just meet some new friends and find an activity both you and your pet really enjoy and can strengthen your bond over, all while expanding your horizons.

Resolution: Stress Less

Many of us lead stress-filled lives that eventually impact our health, well-being, and relationships. Reducing stress in our lives is often a popular resolution that ties in with leading a healthier lifestyle, but is also one your pets can help with. There are many studies that show that playing with and petting a dog or cat can reduce stress levels, and release endorphins that lower heart rates and blood pressure. If you have a pet, you’re already ahead of the game—just carve out some time every day to intentionally sit quietly and snuggle with your furry friend, like while watching TV in the evening. Or, make a point of coming home and playing with your pet for 15 or 20 minutes—it will help to remove yourself from the stressful headspace of the working day and allow you to better relax and unwind.

Resolution: Stick to a Routine

Studies show that many of us thrive on an established routine. Animals are often creatures of habit as well—who else’s dog knows it’s time for dinner at 6 on the dot? Committing to keeping your pet on a regular schedule for mealtimes, exercise and play will help them be happier by being able to predict when things will happen, and can also help you to stick to a routine by structuring other aspects of your day around your pet’s schedule. For example, if you come home from work and take your dog out for a walk right away, then feed them dinner before making dinner for yourself and your family, you’ll begin to establish a routine that encourages both exercise and healthy eating habits for all of you. You’ll also be less likely (and able!) to come home and flop down in front of the TV, wasting time until you’re too tired to make a healthy dinner for yourself, if your dog is waiting for his walk and then dinner upon your arrival home.

Resolution: Be More Present

A popular resolution around the internet these days is to be ‘more present’ in everyday life—to be more engaged with the family and friends around you, to put down the screens more, and enjoy life in the moment rather than rushing on to the next thing or always looking to see what else is going on. This seems to be a product of the digital age we are living in, and one where many people are beginning to feel disconnected from those around them because of how much time we spend on our various devices. The good news is that our pets are completely incapable of getting sucked into too much screen time, and only want to engage with their people. They also live entirely in the moment with generally no concept of the future or past, so our pets can be a great tool and reminder to put down the devices and engage. When a wet nose is pushed into your hand, or a paw is placed on your arm or leg for attention, take the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to what your pet is asking you for—whether it’s attention, a walk, an ear scratch—and live in the moment.

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Meet Our Team

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    Dr. Gross

    Lead Veterinarian

    Veterinarian in Yorktown VA Dr. Gross is a 1983 graduate of Auburn University where he obtained a BS degree in zoology and a D.V.M. degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, he moved into the Dare/Grafton area of York County. From 1983-1984, he was a full-time associate in a small animal practice in Newport News. From 1984-1986, he worked at a 24-hour veterinary hospital in Richmond, gaining experience in emergency as well as outpatient medical practice. From 1986-1994, he ...
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    Dr. Laura Neuhaus (Raiff)

    Veterinarian

    Dr. Laura Neuhaus is a graduate of the University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an emergency and specialty medicine internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. She enjoys ophthalmology and has a special interest in avian medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She is the proud parent of a cat and 2 parrotlets.
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    Dr. Jennifer Moore

    Veterinarian

    Dr. Jennifer Moore is a graduate of Virginia Tech for Veterinary Medicine. Originally from Chesterfield, VA, she attended Old Dominion University and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering prior to attending veterinary school. Dr. Moore has an interest in surgery as well as treating small exotic mammals and reptiles. In her free time, Dr. Moore enjoys being outside hiking, swimming, kayaking, and attempting to kiteboard. She also enjoys a variety of projects, especially ...
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    Caroline Parkhill

    Practice Manager

    Caroline joined the GAH team in July 2018. Caroline grew up in Virginia but left home to explore the world; she has lived in Germany, Korea, Oklahoma, California, and Texas. She recently returned home to Virginia to be closer to her family. Caroline graduated from the University of Maryland and worked in the IT field for 15 years before following her passion and joining the veterinary field. She enjoys gardening and cooking in her spare time, as well as relaxing with her crew of senior dogs and ...
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    Beth

    Veterinary Technician

    Beth joined the GAH staff in April 2010. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in the Gloucester area. She has been working as a Licensed Veterinary Technician since graduating from Blue Ridge Community College in 1989. Away from work, she enjoys reading and working her dogs in obedience and agility classes. She has two dogs, three cats, four ferrets and three reptiles.
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    Bari

    Veterinary Assistant

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    Emily

    Veterinary Assistant

    Emily joined the Grafton Animal Hospital team in early 2015. Although new to the field, she has a strong passion for animals and wants to pursue a career as a licensed veterinary technician. She loves seeing the variety of beautiful animals at GAH from day to day. In her free time, Emily loves relaxing at home with her fiancé and two dogs and watching scary movies.
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    Amanda

    Veterinary Assistant

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    Katlyn

    Receptionist

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    Haley

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    Tracy

    Receptionist

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    Carolyn

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    Carolyn has been with us as a groomer since 2001. Carolyn was born and raised in Upstate New York. She has a two-year certificate of completion in Computer Science from B.O.C.E.S. in Flint, NY. She also attended F.L.C.C. in Canandaigua, NY for Business Administration. Her main interests are her son, Matthew, and her daughter, Kelly. She really enjoys grooming pets, from the challenging ones to the cooperative ones…dogs and cats alike! Seeing how great they look and feel after a bath and clip is ...
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    Alex

    Kennel Attendant

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    Ireland

    Kennel Attendant

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    Brian

    Kennel Attendant

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    Felicia

    Kennel Attendant

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    Ricky

    Front Desk Supervisor

    Ricky came to Grafton Animal Hospital in April of 2011. He was a little shy at first, but once he became more comfortable with us, he became one of the team. Ricky is a Congo African Grey Parrot. We think he is around 10 years old, but no one is sure. He will sometimes put on a show of whistling, talking, singing and dancing, and imitating sounds like telephones and coughing. Visit our Facebook page for an opportunity to see Ricky in action.
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    Lucy

    Staff Meeting Coordinator

    Lucy joined the Grafton Animal Hospital reception team as the new Noisemaker bird in September 2016. After losing our long-time mascot, Croaker, earlier that year, we learned of a young Quaker parrot available for adoption at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and decided she might be a good fit for the clinic. Lucy quickly made herself at home and before long, she was showing the staff who was really in charge. She is generally pretty friendly, so you will often see the staff holding her. ...
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    Daisy & Duke

    Staff Meeting Coordinators

    Daisy and Duke joined the GAH team in June of 2009. They were stray kittens that needed a home, and Squeaks was in need of a brother or sister. After some convincing, we were able to keep both. If you haven’t seen our kittens roaming the clinic, it’s because they are still learning their way around. For now, they are great morale boosters that keep us entertained during our staff meetings.
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