Glee, our golden retriever, is a social media influencer with over 315,000 followers. She’s on a mission to make the world joyful, to change how we live and love. When Glee first came home, we expected to love her to the depths of our souls.
Then we met her and she blew away our expectations. Her deep empathy and ability to seemingly peer into the souls of everyone she encountered gave us insight that she in particular, and dogs in general, could be a major force for good in combating the stress, anxiety, and isolation we all encounter individually and the antipathy and discontent we encounter societally.
Campaign for happiness
So we set out with Glee to make people more joyful through our “What Makes You Gleeful” campaign. We brought her around New York City to meet strangers and asked them what makes them gleeful. She made it easier to ignite conversations about how we are all more similar than we think we are and allowed people to see each other’s humanity, to realize that there is more that unites us than divides us.
In August 2019, we decided we needed to spread this message beyond her social media account and the people she meets in NYC. So we set out across the country to help heal a broken nation. We traversed 4,800 miles, stopping in 13 cities, and launched a digital happiness routine via text message to help people to live happier, purpose-filled lives by connecting more deeply with the lessons that their dogs can teach them and being better dog parents.
A universal theme we encountered is that modern life is hard; we’re increasingly inundated with work, Instagram models, stress, and a million things pulling us in different directions. Life feels scary with the amount of discontent nationally and the dire warnings of the end of the planet as we know it.
It can feel impossible to feel happy, to live a life of meaning, to feel calm. We think our dogs can help us fight this fight. If we focus on our relationship with our dogs, pay attention to how they live their lives, attend acutely to what we can control – the quality of the time and care we provide for our dogs – we can learn how to better triumph over our human struggles. In caring for our dogs, we will learn how to handle our own feelings, make the right choices for our own health, and open ourselves to experiencing the world.