I’m not crazy about New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I’m not so great at following through with them. I don’t know about you, but my resolutions tend to be pretty self-centered, growing out of a desire to improve my quality of life. In any given year this has involved yoga, diet, exercise, meditation, reading, or whatever else I decide is missing from my already too full calendar when January rolls around each year.

The lack of follow through could be because the commitment I make is only to me, so it is easy to chuck it about the time that the first obstacle presents itself. It occurs to me that a focus on self may not provide sufficient motivation so I’ve been pondering a strategy for making my resolution stick this year.

When I make a commitment to someone else I feel more compelled to follow through. A sincere desire to help others may be the best motivation of all, especially when it helps me too. That’s why my resolution this year is to participate in a Paws Humane Society program called Dogs’ Day Out.

To participate, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. After you complete a short application you can select one of our available dogs. The rest is up to you. You can take him home to snuggle on the couch and watch Netflix; or take him to the Chattahoochee River Walk, Calloway Gardens, Roosevelt State Park, or wherever you like, as long as you have him back an hour before we close for the day.

You get your dog fix and a Paws dog gets a much needed break from the routine of the shelter. Even better, our dogs get seen by the public which can help them get adopted faster. Maddie’s Fund, a national animal welfare organization, believes in this program so much that we have been chosen to participate in a study to measure the impact of Dog’s Day Out on the stress levels experienced by our dogs.

We will be expanding our Dog’s Day Out program to include more dogs and we hope we can find partners in the community to make a day happen for each of them. A dog undergoing treatment for heartworm would love the opportunity to snuggle on your couch on a rainy day to watch a movie, or sit on a park bench on the River Walk. A high-energy dog would be thrilled with a hike in the woods. In the process you will learn things about your dog that can help us match him with the perfect home.

Check us out at www.pawshumane.org to find out more about Dog’s Day Out as well as our many volunteer opportunities. H. Jackson Brown Jr., the author of Life’s Little Instruction Book, said, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”