The Hidden Message


There is a commercial out there in TV land that is just plain annoying me. OK. If I stop to think about it, there’s a lot more than one but I will unburden myself upon you with only one.


This particular commercial is about an aging dog and a product that allegedly helps keep her mind and energy levels more like that of when she was young. Her guardian is concerned she is growing older, she is not like she was, doesn’t have the interest in things she did, doesn’t respond like she used to and other issues that become apparent when aging occurs in most animals. Mind you, the guardian’s not getting any younger either, but I’ll put a pin in that for now.


Of course the superficial message is one of guardians wanting to ensure their senior dogs are getting every bit of the quality of life that they deserve, which one can do buy feeding the product and there certainly is nothing wrong with those aspirations. It is the underlying idea with which I have an objection.


It is the idea of being unsatisfied with a senior dog.


Few people can look at that graying face and not want to turn back the clock, to change the inevitable outcome; to fool the mind into believing it doesn’t have to end. But that is very different than wanting to change her because she is not what she was, which is what the commercial’s statement alludes to as the guardian admits to wanting her to ‘be her old self’.


My question is: why can he not accept her as she is? Has she not displayed throughout her life her unconditional love by acceptance of all this guy’s faults, moods and shortcomings? I’m sure she never once considered her guardian anything less than perfect. The center of the universe. That is what we love about them; they look at us as we want to be seen and not as we are.


I would like to think the dog in the commercial has earned the right to just be, to lie about the house enjoying the sun, travel when the opportunity presents itself and paddle over to the treat cabinet when the mood strikes her. After all the years of showing her guardian what it means to accept and love someone for who they are, with all their faults, one would think the guardian would have ‘understood’ the lesson being taught. But nope. He missed it by a mile.


There is nothing wrong with the wanting of having our dogs in our life as long as we can but there is something wrong when we want them to be something else. That is why senior dogs fill the shelters and rescues. (Though a case can be made I suppose of not wanting to recognize the coming transition, not wanting to witness the event and I suspect the theory is something like ‘out of sight, out of mind’. My personal experience tells me that such an idea is a bunch of nonsense. Once the heart has been touched, it is touched. It cannot be undone.)


Anyway, that is what I do not like about this commercial. It completely missed the message our animal companions try to teach us everyday by being the living examples of acceptance, tolerance and unconditional love.


Sometimes the student is slow to grasp the obvious. Lucky for the Human race, our dogs are patient teachers.


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