Hope has come in many ways in 2020 and continues to arrive in 2021. As we celebrate The Valley Reporter’s annual tribute to our canine companions, we are in awe of the fact that so many people lined up to adopt puppies, seniors, mothers, blind, three-legged and abandoned dogs from so many adoption agencies staffed by heroes who rescue, drive, vet applications and deliver dogs into the arms of their forever families.

What could be more indicative of hope than the willingness to give a creature a loving home and the confidence that you can make a better life for him or her?

What could be more humbling than winning the trust of a new dog who hopes and opens to your love?

And looking beyond our four-legged companions, here’s more hope for our Valley and our community. Mad River Valley Ambulance Service volunteers and ski patrollers at Sugarbush and Mad River Glen got their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine late last month and early this month.

How amazing to know that our first responders, both off and on the slopes, have this degree of protection with the promise of a second dose as soon as appropriate. These are the people who respond immediately whether it is a heart attack, a cut, a fall or a broken leg on the slopes. They respond and get up close and personal with all of us. What a relief to know that this critical part of our community is on its way to full protection.

There’s great hope in knowing that the vaccine has begun arriving in our community. Not everyone will get the vaccine this month and, mostly likely, not everyone will get it next month. But it is coming, and those who want it will get it.

Not all may agree with the state’s priority for vaccinating people in age bands, starting with those 75 and older after all EMS, medical workers, long-term care residents and employees have been vaccinated. But it’s hard to argue that the oldest and those with chronic health conditions are the most vulnerable which is the logic the Scott administration is using. But let’s be clear on this, the vaccine is on its way.

Take heart. Have hope. Hug your dog.