A Dog’s Guide to Happiness

It’s really not that complicated

Bev Potter
Published in
4 min readFeb 11, 2020
Hershey Potter. Photos: Bev Potter

I’ve been struggling lately, which isn’t unusual. The normal state of modern humans is to struggle. Not against nature, or wild animals, or a neighboring village, but against ourselves. The hamster wheel of living in the 21st century.

The nature of time is such that we are always living in the future.

But Buck Rogers never mentioned social media. He didn’t have his eyes glued to a cellphone 24/7, or worry about his lack of access to health care. Buck Rogers didn’t work in a cubicle farm where he was screamed at by irate customers eight hours a day with 30 minutes off for lunch, which he ate at his desk while inhaling benzene fumes from the new carpet.

I feel like we were probably a lot happier in the past, when we were hunting and gathering, focused on one thing and one thing only— survival. The ultimate mindfulness.

We lived closely with friends and family that didn’t tag us in photos where we had one eye mostly closed and spinach in our teeth. We didn’t need to do yoga or buy a Peloton, because we walked tens of miles every day just to stay alive.

We lived from minute to minute, not paycheck to paycheck.

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Sometimes I’m… OK. Not happy, but not desperately unhappy.

During those moments when I am un-unhappy, I’m usually with my dog, a rescue with a dark, unknowable past named Hershey.

But I’m not just with her. I’m watching her. Enjoying her happiness, observing her delight in something small but enormously meaningful to her.

Just catching up on my reading.

The secret to happiness seems obvious:

Be a dog.

1. A cookie is a big deal.

Enjoy it. Savor it. Let pieces fall out of your mouth. Lick the crumbs off the table so you don’t miss any. Ignore the stares of the other customers at the coffee shop —…



Bev Potter

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. Ally. BA, MA. Humor, pop culture, and things that make you think. My weekly-ish newsletter is bevpotter.substack.com