February 10th, 2010

Why Dogs Are the World's Greatest Connectors

by Jacqueline Whitmore


Have you ever wondered what it feels like to live in a perfect world? A world where everyone is kind to you, smiles and talks to you and doesn’t judge you? If so, try traveling with your dog.

Last summer, I took my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Oliver on his first airplane ride to Chicago. Oliver was very popular to say the least. As I walked through the airport people would smile, laugh, and go out of their way to pet and shower him with love and attention. Who knew that this cute and cuddly creature could melt the hearts of those who might otherwise be stressed, irritated and anxious?

Like many, I generally mind my own business and rarely go out of my way to talk to strangers. I might make brief chit-chat with my seat mate before I open a book or put on my iPod. But when I travel with Oliver, there’s no time to read, sleep or do much of anything else as everyone wants to talk and ask questions like, “What is his name?” “ How old is he?” “What is a therapy dog?”

As Oliver and I were flying home from Chicago, we sat next to a young soldier who appeared to be about 19 years old.

“Where are you headed?” I asked the soldier. “Afghanistan,” he replied solemnly.

Be it fate or luck, I have a feeling that we were meant to sit next to this young man. During the two-hour flight, the soldier took comfort in gently stroking Oliver’s little head without saying a word. No words were necessary. For a brief period of time, he too was in a perfect world.

As you go about your daily life I challenge you to find ways to leave a positive imprint on others – just like our pets do. There’s nothing tough about saying a pleasant hello with a smile to the people with whom you work. Not to do so is considered rude, and in this service-oriented economy in which we live, you have a much better chance of being treated nicely and well if you extend a kind greeting.

Look people in the eyes. It’s been said that your eyes are a mirror to your soul. Learn their names. This takes a little effort, but when you address someone by name, it makes them feel special. “Good morning, Michelle,” is much more impactful than simply saying, “Good morning.” “You did an outstanding job, Vick,” sounds better than “You did an outstanding job.”

Your world is what you make it. When you give kindness, it comes back to you in double doses. Make it a perfectly beautiful world by making others feel special!

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4 Responses to “Why Dogs Are the World's Greatest Connectors”

  1. Karen Hickman on February 11th, 2010 1:10 pm

    Jacqueline, a great story…

    Best, Karen (another dog lover)

  2. Karen Hickman on February 11th, 2010 1:13 pm


    Great story and good advice.

    Karen Hickman
    ( a fellow dog lover)

  3. Janet Spurr on February 17th, 2010 6:33 pm

    I Love Oliver and your story is wonderful. I hope you were able to watch the dog show this week too. One of my good friends has a male Cavalier King Charles, but I can’t stop calling him, Elizabeth Taylor, after Charlotte’s dog in Sex in the City.
    Maybe I’ll have to get one and hopefully, I’ll be able to share her with a solider too.

  4. Jenn on February 27th, 2010 12:05 am

    What a lovely story about Oliver, you, and the young solider. If only the whole world would follow you, the world would be a much better happier world.

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