New Year, New Goals 

Making A List Another new year is upon us, which brings about a desire in many people to improve their lives in some way. A starting over of sorts. It’s no surprise that among the most popular resolutions are things like losing weight, eating healthier, saving more money, and quitting unhealthy habits. These are all great aims that contribute to a person’s well-being. These are fine goals that, statistically, about 38.5% of adults set and only 9% successfully maintain. Why is this? What causes someone who truly desires change to give up and fall back into their old habits?  

Several factors come into play. According to one researcher, New Year’s resolutions fail primarily due to timing. It makes total sense, for instance, that after eating all the holiday foods, losing weight would be a priority. However, wanting to meet a goal and having a solid plan to do so are two very different things. Motivation alone is generally not enough to get most of us over the finish line. Since we aren’t experts in the realm of how to set and keep resolutions, the best we can do is encourage you, as you make your new year’s resolutions this year, to design a plan of action that will lead you to your goals.   

As you’re looking back over the past year and looking ahead to the positive change you’d like to see, we at America's VetDogs encourage you to consider adding a less popular goal to your list of personal goals this year – volunteering. What are you passionate about? Is there something that pulls on your heart strings? A cause that is personal to you because you or a friend or family member has been affected in a certain way? These are all perfect reasons to get involved in promoting or helping to further the cause that is important to you!  
Volunteering is beneficial to your health. 
Research studies show that volunteering is good for your health, touting greater life satisfaction, lower risk of hospitalization, and higher self-esteem. In addition, one study shows people who volunteer at least 200 hours per year decrease their risk of developing high blood pressure by 40%!  

It connects you with like-minded people. 
Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet new people and connect with those who share your interests. Working together towards a common goal creates a unique bond. This can also contribute to a greater sense of purpose, which is directly tied to mental health. In donating your time, you never know what new connections you’ll make. Take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen your ties to your community and broaden your support network. 

Volunteer as a family.  
Though it may be a challenge to coordinate everyone’s schedules, volunteering as a family has incredible benefits. By giving back to a meaningful cause, your children, who watch everything you do, are learning how important it is (and how good it feels) to serve others.  

Ways to volunteer. black lab puppy
Now that we’ve hopefully piqued your interest and motivated you to begin giving back, you might be wondering how to get started. Thankfully, in the age of information at our fingertips, it’s easy to find volunteer opportunities near you. Start with a simple internet search like “places to volunteer near me” if you’re not sure exactly what cause you want to serve. If you have a specific conviction (like helping foster families), search something like “help foster families near me” and you should be met with search results that can get you started.  

America's VetDogs has several ways for individuals and families to volunteer. From sewing at home, to fundraising to community outreach, there is something for everyone! Our greatest volunteer need right now is weekend puppy raising. Our VetDogs puppy raisers provide loving weekend homes for our service dogs in training. This allows them to gain the socialization experiences not found in their weekly environment. Weekend puppy raisers bring the pup everywhere they go - to as many environments as possible, in order to prepare the dog for its training. A well-socialized puppy has fewer adjustments to make when it comes back to VetDogs for its formal training. Our sister program, Guide Dog Foundation has full-time (not just weekend) puppy raising opportunities if you're interested. 

We currently have a need for weekend puppy raisers in several areas in the U.S., including Maryland, Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Click here to learn more and apply!

We hope that this new year presents many opportunities for any positive change that you would like to see in your life! We also hope volunteering for a cause that matters to you becomes part of your norm.  

Happy New Year!