Do as Dogs Do: Smile more!
By Leslie Phelan
One should always smile at cute animals and let their cuteness make you happy, if only for the moment while you pass them in the busy hustle of your life. You should probably smile at people’s babies as well, but mostly, you should smile at people’s pets.
Why? Because smiling is good for your face. And it subtly yet effectively reinforces with the dog’s owners that they have something worth smiling about on the ends of their leashes, making life generally more satisfying for everyone involved. Without exception, a genuine smile makes you more approachable, more personable, and just more attractive over all. So why not smile at every cute thing you see? If you’re able to pay some attention to the furrier creatures that surround you, you might have the opportunity to see and be beauty in more ways than you’d think.
If it is happiness that you seek, (and I do believe we are all seeking it, at least in theory), then teach yourself to smile at things. Decide right now to remember to let external factors trigger an energetic chain reaction in you, sending signals of happiness to every cell that makes you. You’ll be better for it; we all will.
Honestly, I think there’s something wrong with people who don’t smile at cute animals. Maybe not something wrong per se, but failure to react adoringly when in the presence of tail-wagging fluffy things definitely signals that there is some kind of deficiency afoot. With so many different kinds of ‘dog’ in the world, there has to be at least one breed or type that tickles your fancy. You don’t have to want to own one; you just have to smile at your favorite ones to look at. And if you were to tell me that there is not a single type that you find even marginally appealing, then I would have to say that I’m terribly sorry, I think you’re missing vital chunks of what should be your beating heart.
Just kidding. I probably wouldn’t say that . . . but I would definitely think it and it would definitely count against you if ever it comes to the point that I need to tally up the pluses and minuses of having you in my life. I don’t mean to make snap judgments, but like I recently did when I discovered that a person I was dating “doesn’t really like” dogs, I realized I can’t help but feel repelled by those who haven’t got the animal magnetism. I actually feel bad for you that the animals you could be loving hold no appeal for you. It’s a sorry state of affairs; like not having a tongue for chocolate or eyes that can’t appreciate a sunrise.
In the case of the guy I was dating, I did notice early that he didn’t smile at cute animals. But I noticed it more as an absence—I was lacking that joyful and uplifted feeling of being with someone who loves all living things. I really should have known. When I tell a guy I have pugs and he doesn’t immediately beam and ask when he can meet them–that should be my cue to walk.
I liked him though, and was convinced there was still hope. Maybe he wasn’t crazy about dogs because he hadn’t had the chance to get close to any. Could I blame his parents? Probably, usually, yeah; and I was comfortable with that . . . until I overheard him telling his friend that her new dog would have to stay out in the yard while she visited because he was “allergic.”
LIES! We’d already had the allergy talk and dogs hadn’t made the list. In that moment, his stock plummeted to the basement: I personally find claims like this to be the exact same kind of annoying control-Nazi stuff as people who fake gluten allergies at restaurants but then totally murk second helpings of your birthday cake. Sooner or later when you fail to die from your so-called “allergies,” we all find out you’re just a dramatic little fibber. Don’t be that guy; no one likes that guy.
Some people can’t smile at cute animals because they’re scared of them, and I get that. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience and now live their lives afraid. But all is not lost; there is therapy for that. Seriously, one should never feel shame in seeking help for a problem like that, when people go to therapy all the time for all kinds of irrational fears that they don’t have to face literally every time their feet hit a sidewalk. If you live in fear of dogs, you are missing out on how much fun it is to love them. I implore you, get help and come back to us.
And once you’re back, smile please. At dogs, at kids and babies, at artful architecture, at people who are dressed daringly and marching to the beat of their own drum, at people who are so regular Joe their mellow averageness lends a certain comfort. If you aren’t that ‘smiley’ to begin with, remember that just because your friends and family know, love, and tolerate your sad panda, Eeyore-looking mug most of the time, doesn’t mean your face should be long and uninspiring around the rest of us when we are just out there trying to make you smile with the cuteness of our prized pooches.