First published in Portsmouth News, 11th February 2014
You may recall from a previous column that my family and I are the owners of many pets, one of which is Dolly the dog. Dolly is a Shih Tzu (try getting your five year old to say that in polite society), and enjoys many a long walk.
Recently, Dolly and I have been partaking of our longer sojourns with my friend, Leanne, and her dog, Cooper. Dolly and Cooper race off into the distance, ears flapping, paws scampering in wanton abandonment. They experience the purest joy in the smallest things: a walk, some sunshine if they’re lucky, a friend to share it with, and a sniff of one another’s bottoms.
Leaving the latter firmly aside, it is also what Leanne and I gain from these walks. Which led to us discussing the marvelous concept that O2 have recently taken advantage of in their marketing campaigns; be more dog.
As humans, we tend to spend our days wishing half of them away. Even my daughters have cottoned on to the concept of the weekend, and question how many sleeps it is until various events. We lose track of the little things, like showing enjoyment when we see friends, and playing.
As Leanne and I watched our doggies bound across the hill on Castle Field, furry silhouettes of joy with the wind in their ears, it seemed as though this is what life should really be about. Seize the little moments; take pleasure in them. Run or skip if the urge takes you. Show your friends (in an appropriate manner that doesn’t lead to arrest) that you’re happy to see them. Greet your spouse with enthusiasm when they arrive home in the evening, and make your loved ones feel appreciated.
Have a power nap on the rug if the need takes you, and take pleasure in your meals. Drink more water and indulge in occasional treats without guilt. Be demonstrative with your emotions. Jump up and down with glee and, when the situation calls for it, smile so hard that you look slightly demented. Equally, when necessary, do as you’re told and take it on the chin. Explore nature and take a minute to simply adore the world around you.
I urge you, this week, to make the effort. I advise drawing a line at the eat, regurgitate, repeat action that some canines indulge in with both food and bodily expulsions, but, in general, grab your life by the furry bits and don’t let go: Be more dog!