For the last few years instead of making a set of resolutions, I have selected on a single word to sum up what I want to focus on for the year ahead. This year I even got a special bracelet where I could pound my word in and wear it all the time. I did get it on sale, so I’ll wear it as long as it doesn’t turn my wrist green.

I mentioned this idea to Archer, our terrier mix, and he decided he wanted his very own word. We sat down to discuss options.

Me: So the idea is to pick a word that represents something you want to work on.

Archer: Work? Do I have to work? I have a tie already. Does this mean I can get one of the clicky things to pounce on all the time?

Me: No, no you don’t have to work and you don’t get a keyboard. It’s a goal. Like something you want to do better. Something you want to improve.

Archer: Oh. Okay! I have my word!

Me (surprised): Already? Well, great! What is it?

Archer: My word is… (pausing for dramatic effect)

Me: Yes?

Archer: Escape!

Me: What? No! No, that can’t be your word!

Archer: Why not?

Me: Because that was your word last year.

Archer: Was it? I don’t remember picking it.

Me: You may not have picked it, but you definitely worked on it.

Archer: Oh. Okay. (Chews on paw thoughtfully, then brightens) I know! I’ve got one!

Me: Good. Let me hear it.

Archer: Run Away!

Me: No. First off, that’s two words…

Archer (excitedly): Or how about Open Gate? Or just Run? Or maybe Dig?

Me: I think we may need to talk about appropriate goals.

Archer: I like Dig. There’s this one spot over by the storage shed and the fence, if I spend a few minutes a day…

Me: Maybe you could work on Sit. Or Stay.

Archer: How about Loose? Or Flee? You know, with two Es?

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure Archer needs a word for the year. But I may need a few extra ones. Like fence and leash.

Winter Prosapio is a writer, a wife, and a working mom of two girls, two cats, and one ridiculously enthusiastic terrier mix.

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