Dogs Make Us Look Positive
|Dogs Make Us Look Positive|
In any given moment, much of how we feel is subjective. There is no objective way to measure our mood, just a tendency to pay attention to certain indicators. Paradoxically, one important contributor to how we feel is how others think we feel. If they conclude that we’re happy, we’re more likely to be happy. Among their other effects, dogs dramatically increase the likelihood that others will think we’re happy.
WINSTON IS A TYPICAL Jack Russell terrier. He’s all energy all the time. “He’s not the kind of dog you feel comfortable leaving at home for long stretches at a time,” says his owner Brent. There might not be much home left when you return. So Brent, a concert promoter in Denver, started taking Winston to work with him. Winston has now met Paul Simon, the Who, and a host of other famous musicians. With some obedience school training, Brent was able to at least channel Winston’s energy into things like chasing Frisbees. In fact, Winston embraced Frisbees so much that “now we can’t even say the word,” Brent says. “We have to spell it around him or he goes nuts.” With more training, Winston proved an ace at an array of dog tricks. When a member of the front office for Denver’s hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche, spotted Winston jumping through hoops, he spoke to Brent about making Winston the team’s mascot.
Winston took to the job immediately. Wearing a cape in the team colors, Winston has appeared at games and charity events and in team commercials. Everywhere he goes, he gets a huge reaction. Brent says Winston loves it. “He’s always wanted to be in the center of attention.” And Brent doesn’t mind either. “Everybody likes the guy with the most popular dog in town.”
When evaluating others, we are 42 percent more likely to think they are happy if they have a dog with them. (Rossbach and Wilson 1992)