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Go ahead. Just try and find at least one unbreakable resolution. Most of the standard ones are impossible to continue after a week or two. They are on everybody’s list, the same-old, same-olds, such as losing weight, exercising more, complaining less. It is hard to believe that it is almost time for this annual ritual, isn’t it? Each year, it feels like we just broke our last resolution before it is time to make new ones.
Recently, Library Director Mike Bartlett clued me in to one local surefire stress reducer. I decided to put it at the top of my list, if you can call a single item a list. I plan to follow the lead of a great number of Meeker Public Library’s patrons, and pet the library cat, Books, each time I visit. Bartlett reports that he has noticed the friendly feline has a calming effect on most everyone.
I have to admit that I have always been aware of the health benefits of having a pet around the house, and stopping for a moment or two to pet the cat is a great way to slow down. I’m not surprised that even the most hyperactive among us are calm after spending time petting “Books.” There are lots of studies out there that support the consensus that taking a few moments to care for a pet can be calming, and it has been said as well, that simply sitting and watching fish swim round and round in a fishbowl or aquarium will lower one’s blood pressure. One additional benefit for some of us is that we could to re-add the annual “get more exercise” item by walking to the library each day.
Of course, it helps that I happen to like cats, and sorely miss having one around the house. After writing the picture book, “All Around Cats,” I always answered the elementary kids’ question about my own cats at home, by saying I was “between cats.” I always planned on welcoming one or more into our home, but lest I mislead anyone, be aware that our 90-pound Labrador thinks he is a cat himself, and will fight for his rightful place on a lap. Also, my spouse never fully appreciated the cats who shared our life for 20 years or so. He is allergic to the thought of cats joining our household once again.
Think about it. Petting someone else’s cat could be the No. 1 resolution and stress reducer in the community in the coming year. Have a happy, healthy, 2009!