It’s the start of a new year, so I suppose it’s natural to walk that edge between introspection of what has passed and expectation of what’s to come. Rejoice, regret and the inevitable resolutions. Some are broken almost immediately. Others are abandoned gradually. But a precious few manage to stay afloat in the current as one year flows into the next.

But as I get older I see less and less worth in such trivial pronouncements as losing weight or drinking less. They never worked for me, anyway. Instead, I’ve tried to concentrate on what I should continue doing rather than what I should start doing. And here’s what I resolve to continue doing, as it relates to hunting and dogs:

I resolve to never, ever, take my dogs for granted and assume they’ll always be there, because one day they won’t. Your time with them is short enough. Don’t let meaningless distractions make it shorter.

I resolve to continue being absolutely awestruck in their abilities, their presence and their perfect melding of form, function and desire. I cannot help but stop and marvel as I watch a dog work a field, lock up on a point or hit the water. And if I ever lose this feeling I resolve to give up bird and duck hunting forever, for without dogs there is no essence and therefore no meaning.

I resolve to continue learning from my dogs and trying to hear what they’re telling me. People talk a helluva lot, but don’t say much. Dogs don’t talk at all but say a helluva lot, provided we’re smart enough to stop yelling and watch for what they’re trying to tell us. That’s what truly gifted trainers do, and what we mere mortals need to strive for.

And finally, I resolve to continue simply having fun with my dogs and making them a part of my family’s life, whether it’s training, hunting, hopping in the truck for a ride into town or just playing fetch in the yard or walking in the park. Man’s Best Friend? Find one better and I’ll kiss your…shoe. Dogs are one of this world’s greatest gifts. Treasure them.