"Resolve" image

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, it often happens that friends will ask each other, “Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?”

Whether the answer is yes or no, the astute will be aware that the resolution tradition has ancient beginnings. It is commonly accepted that as early as 1,700 B.C., the Babylonians were in the practice of reaffirming their loyalty to their reigning king during the winter festival Akitu as well as swearing oaths to return borrowed items and repay debts. Other historical claims abound, such as the one that has ancient Romans making promises to the god Janus for the new year to come, and even European medieval knights making a “peacock vow” of continued chivalry at Christmas feasts, although in that case it is closer to the truth to imagine them each outdoing the last in unlikely boasts about future achievements over the roasted bird, as the spirits flowed ever more freely.

We imagine that Portlanders are also well in the resolution-making spirit with flowing spirits this week, and that some readers have resolved, among other things, to spend some time in 2018 doing volunteer work.

A noble choice, and for animal lovers, one whose avenues are well marked and ready for forward-looking travelers with the time and ability to follow through.

Case in point: Three local animal shelters have need of volunteers to perform a wide range of tasks and duties, from morning cat-room cleaning and socializing to transporting shelter animals to facilities that need new adoption candidates, to everyday administrative functions in their offices. If you love to be around dogs and cats and can commit to a regular volunteer schedule, check out your local animal refuge league to sign up for orientations and trainings and begin the new year feeling like a pet-person that gives a little back:

And if your friend Sir Prance-a-lot thinks he’s outdone you with a monetary gift to your new animal shelter, just chuckle to yourself, knowing as you do that those little critters are going to get to know and love you up close and personal, the way it was meant to be.

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