A new year feels like a time for new beginnings, but it’s hard to be hopeful. After a long nine months of fighting COVID-fatigue, we’re now also entering the dreariest part of the year.

We’re seeing short tempers at our workplaces, road rage in the street, and conflicts between friends and family. Countless businesses are posting signs at reception saying “RUDE AND ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED”.

It’s unmistakable: we’re burned out by unending grief. We’re grieving the loss of travel plans and weddings. We’re grieving for hugs, smiles, and normalcy. In many cases, we’re feeling the very real grief of loved ones that we’ve lost. We’re all hurting differently, but it’s grief nonetheless.

I wish I could call this article, “Top five ways our pets can help us through the January Blues”. I’d say to walk your dog during daylight hours to boost serotonin, or to cuddle with your cat to release feel-good chemicals. We’re drowning in a global riptide, though, and no amount of tips-and-tricks will get us to dry land when we’re just trying to catch a next breath between the waves.

Setting new year’s resolutions seems impossible when the future feels so uncertain. How can I resolve to eat healthier myself when I’m already exhausted from worrying about my family’s health? How can I set goals for the future when I can’t see past the latest lockdown?

Let’s take a lesson from our furry family members on this one; let’s just focus one day at a time. Dogs and cats live in the moment and don’t worry about tomorrow. This can be a great comfort when we don’t know what tomorrow may hold.

Let’s try to grant a dog-like forgiveness to each other, and most importantly, ourselves. Perhaps the laundry gets put away unfolded, or the dishwasher runs twice. May we be kind enough to ask for help for ourselves, and to offer a hand to others who are drowning.

The only comfort of knowing that everyone is grieving is just that – knowing everyone is grieving. As a society, we are currently so divided and isolated that it’s easy to get lost in our own struggles. Grief has a way of pulling us under, and that’s okay.

When the shore seems unreachable, let’s stand on the next best thing: common ground.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com.  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.