12/31/2010 11:11 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

New Year's Eve

While most everyone I know is out and about ringing in the New Year with friends and family, I am quite content spending it this year without much fanfare. In fact, I feel pretty lucky to be spending my New Years Eve the same way I spent this past Christmas Eve, just me and Junior.

Junior doesn't ask for much, and he's one of the most gentle, loving companions you could ever ask for.

Whenever I come home to Massachusetts, it's pretty safe to say my most eager greeting comes from him. And even though he's almost a hundred in dog years, he still sprints like a puppy whenever he sees me for the first time.

The unconditional love we get from our pets is extraordinary. They are here to teach us some pretty simple things, things we tend to forget as we set out to conquer the world in our busy lives.

Every time I look into Junior's eyes, I hear Thoreau whispering "Simplify, simplify"

And so, who better than Junior to ring in this New Year?

This year I checked out of all things social to ring in the New Year quietly, with a dog. And when the clock strikes twelve, I'll have Junior by my side to remind me that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. I checked out so I could check in. And in this quiet space, I am able to reflect on the ups and downs of this past year without any hype or exaggeration. After all, Junior isn't impressed with stories of where I've been or who I've met. When it's just the two of us, it's pretty easy for me to see how and why things unfolded the way they did this past year.

As I get ready to embrace the gift of 2011, I am happy and sad all at once. Sad for the friends who are no longer here, happy for the new ones who appeared.

And through all the good and bad, happy and sad of it, there's Junior. Unwavering, unaffected by any of the comings and goings, and as joyful and true as the day he was born on June 17th, 1995.

This year, there's no fancy party for me, just a quiet New Years Eve. Just me and a little dog named Junior. And I've never been happier.

Click below to see him......