For those of you who live in the United Kingdom and watch TV on a fairly regular basis, I’m sure you’ll have seen the new O2 mobile advert featuring their new “be more dog” campaign. If you’ve managed to avoid it, I feel that I should take this chance to in fact congratulate you. I’ve seen it on youtube. On TV. On ads at railway stations and even on the screens attached to the treadmills at the gym. I know it almost word-for-word. As annoying as I find it, it actually has a point.
Not so long ago, somebody linked me to a post on a website that gives you sixteen small steps to happiness. It’s not that I was sad or particularly depressed, but I like these kinds of articles so I went ahead and clicked on it. I’m going to bring to your attention number eleven.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
I read this, and couldn’t help but think how true it was. I smiled and went on with my day, but this O2 advert got me thinking about it again. People really can learn some valuable life lessons from their dogs. And now I’m writing a blog entry about it.
The way dogs view the world is nothing short of amazing. Take my dog, Logan, for example. This is a photo of me and him. Before you make any smart-ass comments, I’m on the left.
He is quite possible the happiest dog in the world. Everything is incredible to this dog – he wakes up in the morning, and he can’t wait to see everybody. He often runs into my room, jumps onto my bed and licks my face until I give in and get up to give him attention. If he smells something exciting, it makes his day. God forbid anybody mentions going on a walk, at which point he acts as if he’s just snorted a line of cocaine. When he sees water, it’s like he’s never seen it before. Snow is exciting, and meeting new people is the be-all and end-all of life. All of this is fine, but not the thing I admire most about these animals. They will always forgive you, and will always be as loyal as anything. And most people – myself included – don’t have that trait.
I’m not saying that people should run and excitedly jump into streams as they pass them, nor am I suggesting we go and sniff the asses of our neighbours and friends. That would be a little weird, and you’d probably be removed from Tesco. But perhaps we shouldn’t take things for their face value. Maybe next time we see someone, we should give them a smile whether we know them or not. Maybe we should do things not because we were told to, but because we’re alive, and we can. More than anything else, maybe we should forgive people. I’m twenty, and unfortunately the bitchy, back-stabbing teenage drama phase of my life seems far from over. Every one of my friends has, at one point, complained about another one of my friends without them knowing. They’ve done things they were asked not to, they’ve screwed each other over, and huge situations have been made of it. Right now in fact, people which I won’t name but will refer to as ‘A’ and ‘B’ are in a ridiculously difficult situation because one of them began seeing the other’s ex without talking it over first. Something trivial that we’ll all forget about in a few months time (hopefully, because choosing sides is driving me crazy), but A overreacted and did something in revenge to annoy B. B then reacted, and so on so forth. It’s ridiculous. In this situation, a dog would perhaps be annoyed with you for a day, but as soon as they woke up the next day, they’d be running into your room and jumping on your bed licking your face. Humans aren’t like that. I’m guilty myself of not forgiving people. I’ve recently had a fight with one of my friends that I’ve known for years, and twice I apologised to be the bigger person, twice they showed me why I shouldn’t have done so. And I’m over trying to fix things. Even thinking about it annoys me, because it’s hard to let these things go. That’s the same for everyone. But imagine if we were like dogs, and imagine if we could move past these things and continue friendships and whatnot. Things would probably be much easier, much less drama-filled than they are right now.
Sure, occasionally everybody needs to take a break from certain friends and relationships. Sometimes they reform and grow stronger than before, sometimes people drift apart for good. But if we viewed things differently – whether it’s a friendship that’s falling apart, or stumbling upon that super exciting, life-making stream when you’re walking your dog – maybe everything would be easier.
So good on you, O2. Well done for telling people to be more dog. Because despite the fact that they chew up your shoes, shit in your garden and shoot you that soul-destroying look when you don’t share your slice of toast with them… dogs have kind of got the whole life philosophy thing sorted. Woof woof.