I can’t believe 2007 is gone! At the beginning of this year, I made a mental list of things I wanted to accomplish. This list included things I already did but wanted to do better, and also a lot of things I wanted to start doing on a regular basis. In reality, I am sure I did some of the things on the list, but all I can think of now is the things on the list I failed at miserably.

Like many people, I had vowed to get into better shape by exercising regularly and to eating healthier. If I was going to grade myself in this area, I would get an F-. My last article was in regards to feeding our pets just a healthy dry dog food and cutting out the treats. I believe the title of the article was, “Quit it, you are killing you dog!” During the holiday season it is easy to remember how unhealthy I eat. When I already am full and feeling kind of nauseous, you would think I wouldn’t eat four more cookies or those three pieces of fudge. Nope! I eat them anyway and surprisingly feel even worse. I wish I had an owner to limit what I eat.

As far as exercising goes, I really intended to try to be more active with my dogs last year. I have a ten year old Golden Retriever who is in pretty good shape, but I really wanted to walk him regularly to help keep him in shape and also to get myself up and moving more. I have to give myself another F- on that one. On my list I really wanted to get up in the morning and get outside with my dog and start the day with a nice brisk walk, but I just couldn’t break that habit of getting up, lounging in the recliner, drinking coffee, and watching Sportscenter. Most of the people on Sportscenter look pretty fit though.

I also had intended to spend more time reading and less time watching television. I have fallen hopelessly behind reading my veterinary journals. They are stacked everywhere in my office. At this point, they might be considered a fire hazard. Like so many people these days, when I need information I immediately go to the internet because it is so much quicker to find information. I subscribe to a veterinary site where I can contact veterinarians from all over the world for information and opinions on topics such as patient care, newer medications, and even ideas on ways to better run my business. This site also links to some of the journal articles that are stacked all over my office. It is so much easier to just search the web than to try to wade through the stacks of journals. I would like to spend more time reading books just for pleasure. It is pretty sad when my favorite author has written his next book before I finish the previous one.

Finally, after another busy year of being allowed to care for the pets of some incredibly caring pet owners, I look back and wish I had done a better job of expressing my thanks for the opportunity they have given me to care for their pets. Many people consider their pets as integral parts of their family, and allowing me to help them care for their pets is a huge honor. I am especially reminded of this at this time of year. As a veterinarian, the onset of winter often brings on an increase of euthanasias. Those old, arthritic dogs hobbling around all summer get hit pretty hard when the cold weather hits. Even with the arthritis drugs we have now, many older dogs end up being put down with the onset of frigid weather. Many of these dogs I have been seeing for many years and it is almost as difficult for me as it is for the owners. But in spite of the difficulty, I am honored these pet owners allow me to help with these difficult life and death decisions.

Hopefully, this year I will do a better job of thanking my clients. Hey! Wait a minute! I have a message for any of my clients reading this article—THANK YOU!!! Hopefully I can show this appreciation throughout the year. Well, that is one thing checked off this year’s list. Somehow I think getting into shape won’t be that easy.

Dr. Chad Higgins is a small animal practitioner at Amanda Animal Hospital outside of Spencerville. He is a 1989 graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.