Internationally famous counselor and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer is famous for saying “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – his reminder to remain soft and open in how you view the world and to be open to changing your mindset.
This immediately came to my mind in relation the story of the well-loved dog that travels with his owners to the Stampede – a family that raises and shows draft horses. The horses are hitched up in a team of eight to parade at the Calgary Stampede each year. It’s a busy time with a lot of activity. This dog, like others, likes to nap. Like most dogs, he has a favorite spot. His favorite spot happens to be in a quiet stall atop fresh woodchips, undoubtedly scenting his slumbers with the woodsy smell of days spent romping through the trees on the ranch that is his home. Pretty darn good life for anyone – man or beast, wouldn’t you think?
The Calgary Stampede posted an image of this napping dog to its Facebook page on a cold Monday morning this January, with the caption “Hit like if this is how you feel this morning.”
What I see when I look at this image: a well-cared-for dog, wearing a bright and clean coat with a clean collar, who has found himself a quiet spot and a bed a fresh wood chips to snuggle up on and have a snooze. The door to this bright, clean stall is open. It’s obviously a horse stall (and an immaculate stall, at that!) The dog is free to come and go, but has found this to be a sweet quiet secret spot for a nap.
Hundreds of people clicked “like”. However, I was surprised to see this image elicited a few critical comments, a sad reminder there are people who may see the world through rage-coloured glasses that do, indeed, change the things they look at.
I ask myself who could imagine this image depicts animal abuse or neglect anymore than a snapshot of solo dog napping on grass? Where is the basis for statements this depicts “a helpless animal confined from family and nature”? What reasonable person would shout “shame on the Stampede” “this photo is just sad” and say “this picture is just wrong”?
At the risk of being accused of wearing rose-coloured glasses, I am baffled at how anyone could choose to view this image that way. I choose to recognize the wisdom in Wayne Dyer’s words and pause to consider before jumping to conclusions. And I will dream wistfully of the smell of woodchips and a soft nap on a cold January morning.