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Under the Dog Spell

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Dogs are social liberators.

My colleague Olga chats up anybody on the boardwalk who’s walking their dog.

My friend Rich takes his pug to Happy Hour.

A woman strolls past me, walking her poodle. I sit in my car, convertible top down, waiting for the light to change. The woman tosses me a smile.

I think to myself, she wouldn’t have smiled if she wasn’t with her poodle.

I could be wrong, of course.

People with dogs take greater social risks than people who are without. Most of us take more social risks when we encounter a stranger with dog.

I am not a dog parent, but I marvel at dog culture. The social connecting at the dog park. The instant permission to engage. Shy people become chatty. Boisterous people become tender. Social-connection-nirvana.

A dog is the conduit for social contact.

A dog invites transgressive behavior.

A dog liberates the inhibited self.

Here’s my invitation to you:

If you’re a dog parent, stay under the spell. Of course, walk your dog when it’s dog-walking time. But the rest of the time, once you have ditched your dog, remain the person you become when walking your pup.

Available to engage with folks. Accessible when others approach. Fully present in your physical environment.

That’s how you behave when you’re under the dog spell. Why not behave that way the remainder of the time?

If you’re not a dog parent, act like you are. I don’t suggest you walk around with an imaginary dog on a leash. But observe and emulate the behavior of dog parents who easily and graciously engage with others.

Available to engage with folks. Accessible when others approach. Fully present in your physical environment.

A dog parent is the metaphor for your socially fearless self. This self is socially transgressive. Takes risks. Connects. Savors the act of connecting.

Work and life are more successful AND enjoyable when we channel the fearless self.

Remember your dog parent.

Stay under the spell.

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