We can all agree that this last year has been a whirlwind. Every year, I start a new planner (the old-school pen and paper kind). I was looking at the first page from January of last year, at the top of which I had drawn fireworks, a symbol of the New Years celebration and the excitement I felt for the upcoming year. Little did I know that it would be one of the most stress-inducing, fearful, and depressing years in recent history, not just for me but for people all over the globe. There were MANY challenges for me this year, but there were also a lot of lessons learned and time for reflection that I hope can help make my future brighter.
This year, I have felt hopeless and depressed because of many national and world events including the pandemic, racial injustice, dirty politics, small businesses and non-profits closing, and general isolation. On a personal level, the pet care industry was hit really hard and business slowed to less than 10% of pre-pandemic times; friends of mine lost their parents and grandparents to Covid-19; I have not seen my family in over a year; #TheMuttMobile got hit by an Amazon van (no injuries!). I also had to say goodbye to a lot of my clients who decided to move out of the area (mostly to the suburbs) because of the pandemic. This was a really hard thing for me because the animals I take care of really are a part of my family here in Boston, and I cherish the time I get to spend with them -- in some ways they were the only way I stayed sane this year!
So I made a list of positive outcomes that came about in 2020, and I wanted to share them with you and the rest of #TheMindfulMuttSquad.
I moved into a new apartment due to the pandemic... but I had a fabulous garden on my deck this year! I was able to grow my own tomatoes, eggplants, strawberries, cantaloupes, bell peppers, hot peppers, herbs, lettuce, spinach and bok choy!
I made a purposeful effort to shop at local small businesses and promoted my friends' businesses however I could.
Since I had so much free time due to the slowdown of business, I got to do some things I usually don't have the time to do:
I wrote literally hundreds of cards to isolated senior citizens and quarantined nursing home residents since the spring of 2020. I was inspired by the Facebook groups From the Heart and Forget Me Not, and eventually started a card drive for a local nursing home in Brighton!
Before the pandemic started until September 1st of this year, I volunteered with the Ed Markey campaign for re-election, which was a great way to stay busy.
I learned about the power of friends and social media, and that there are many good people in the world willing to help strangers in need:
After I lost 30 instagram followers for posting a photo of "Little Sammy" the dog next to the words Black Lives Matter, I decided to donate $30 to BLM Boston to represent those 30 people who unfollowed me. I posted about it on my personal Facebook page and Little Sammy's mom said she would match my donation, and more and more friends began to donate, leading to a total of $500 donated!
I requested any donations for care packages that I was making for senior citizens who were quarantined in nursing homes. My friends and clients all joined together and sent me donations, so we were able to make 90 care packages with 10-11 items in each!
I started a book drive for nursing home residents to add to their in-house libraries, and I was able to deliver two huge car loads of books donated from many local Brookline community members! (I posted about this in the Brookline Townwide Discussion Facebook Group.)
Friends and members of my card-writing group sent my step-dad tons of cards because he is elderly and having health problems, and I had to cancel my trip to go visit. This was SO sweet of everyone and it made him smile!
I spent a LOT of time with my pups, Nola and Memphis, taking them to new parks and exploring the outdoors more than we normally can. They were also able to come along to work with me a lot on the slow days, which they LOVED. Giving my pups extra attention always makes me happy.
In October, I adopted my senior kitty, Basil, from The Animal Rescue League who is undergoing treatment for pneumonia and hyperthyroidism. She is 15 years old and an absolute gem! Nola and Memphis also like her! She has been doing well so far but not in the clear yet!
Even though so many of the squad had to move out of my service area, I got to meet a bunch of new puppies (some are calling them pandemic puppies because they were all adopted)! While they don't replace the hole in my heart from so many of the OG squad moving away, they certainly brought a lot of joy to my life this year!
On to 2021...
Now that 2020 is behind us, I am hoping for a safe, healthy, and fun year for everyone I know. Our pets may have loved having us home every day this year, but I'm sure some of you are stir crazy! Let's get back to socializing once this vaccine gets rolled out. I can't wait to have a big doggy play-date and share some drinks with you all once we get passed this! Until then, continue to wear your masks and wash your hands! We can get through this together.
Happy New Year from The Mindful Mutt family to yours!