By Janet McAfee

This week, dog lovers and their 4-legged companions ring in the New Year 2021.  In 2020, we made great strides in reducing the plight of homeless dogs and cats. “Rescue” is becoming the favored route to adopt a dog, as the public becomes more aware of the problems with puppy mills, backyard breeders, and online pet sales.  The new California law banning the commercial sale of dogs and cats at pet stores went into effect at the beginning of the year with the aim of encouraging shelter adoptions.

Pictured here, ready to celebrate, is adorable Petunia.  This Chihuahua girl was once a stray and frightened dog at the San Bernardino County Shelter in Devore.  Rescued by Loving All Animals, this little pup would not let anyone touch her when she arrived at Quannah Combs’ foster home.  Gradually she began to sit next to him, moving closer each day.  With her next foster mom, Jan Cooksley, she continued to trust and love humans.  Now named Sammy, this sweet pup celebrates New Year’s Eve 2020 in her loving forever home with Linda Smith and Kurt Hanft.  She will play happily with her Dachshund sister, Peanut.

While our canine companions provide affection and companionship, there is a special love bestowed from rescued dogs in their “second chance” home.  These animals will not only bring us increased health and happiness, but they can also be part of our New Year’s Resolutions.  Here are some ideas for 2021 resolutions.


GET HEALTHY – Having a dog will improve your physical health, including reducing your blood pressure.  If you decide to quit smoking this year, your pet will give you another reason because a smoke filled environment also jeopardizes their health.

REDUCE STRESS & DEPRESSION – Holding and petting a dog immediately makes you relax.  Their loving companionship reduces stress, depression and anxiety.  Dogs help reduce post- traumatic stress for combat veterans.  They work daily miracles for all of us humans, bringing joy to our lives.

LOSE WEIGHT – Obesity decreases life expectancy of up to 14 years in humans and up to 2.5 years in their animals.  As you select healthier foods, make sure to provide better nutrition for Fido.  Avoid serving harmful human foods to pets.  However, fresh carrots, cooked green beans, steamed broccoli, banana slices, and apple slices are healthy options for you and your dog.

EXERCISE & GET FIT – Walking a dog keeps you both healthy and happy.  If you are athletic, enjoy the outdoors even more hiking and jogging with Fido.

MEET NEW PEOPLE – Dogs are natural ice breakers, and that adorable pup you walk down the street can result in new friends or even a new love interest.  You score extra points with them when they learn your dog is a rescue.

VOLUNTEER IN THE NEW YEAR – If you resolve to help people in the New Year, dogs may also play a role.  If your dog is calm and likes strangers, consider getting him certified as a therapy dog and bring joy to hospital patients and nursing home residents.  Volunteer at a public shelter or private animal welfare organization.  Walk a dog for sick or elderly neighbors.

ADOPT A RESCUE PET – The New Year is always the time for new beginnings and second chances.  If you are still “dogless”, go visit the thousands of animals waiting at shelters and rescue organizations.

Visit the Coachella Valley’s largest county shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, at 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms.  View their adoptable animals at and call (760) 343-3644 for more information.  Visit the Devore San Bernardino County shelter at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino or call (909) 386-9820.  View Devore’s adoptable animals at  Contact Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 or to see their available animals.

Happy New Year 2021 to you and your 4-legged family members!