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It’s A Dog’s Life.

17 Oct

Dog Lover

Today in the large dog area of the Vondel Park (the big open space furthest away from Leidseplien) I counted no less than 26 dogs all running around and playing, swimming, chasing, jumping, rolling, licking, sniffing, walking, sitting, and generally having fun. It got me on to thinking about it being a dogs life and how us humans can benefit from our four legged friends and how they can make us more creative.

Now I never used to be a dog lover, I was never anti dogs, but I just never had one growing up, my Granddad had the most gorgeous guide dog because he was blind, my Granddad not the dog, his name was Harry and we bonded. But he was a working dog and we were taught to understand that Harry was my Granddad’s eyes and highly trained and had a lot of jobs to do for my Granddad seven days a week. So therefore there was no stick chasing, fetching and cuddles from a dog that most children got to grow up with. There was no creativity from Harry he was a very serious practical dog. It did though spark something in me and Harry never left my heart.

Then one day whilst my 30th birthday approached I decided I wanted to treat myself to something special, something that would stay with me for a very long time and that would mark the BIG 30 with something about me and who I am.  I decided that I wanted to bring unconditional love into my love and that was in the form of Mr Parker Bond Ives International Dog of Mystery. I fell in love with him on the Internet and before I knew it I had hired a car with a friend and we were driving to Antwerp to pick up my new 4 x legged friend.  He is more than my four-legged friend, he is my best friend. Mr Parker is five now and he has been through so many life-changing events with me, he has helped me emotionally, mentally and creatively. He has always been there with me in the last five years, and for me it has become a dog’s life.

So how can dogs help you be more creative?

Sorry to mislead you but dogs cannot make you into Damian Hirst or a Banksy over night. But they can definitely bring many health and happiness qualities into your life that can help you with your creativity.

Dogs are relaxing – Many offices, studios and agencies are becoming more and more tolerant to dogs in the office. They relax people, via petting, attention, and distraction. Having a four-legged friend around the office can help colleagues to bond, discuss, or take a break over the unison of be friending the office dog. Taking short five-minute breaks from computer screens, space to think or recharge brings many added benefits to creativity in the work place. Do always ask and check everyone is happy about the arrangement, not every one loves dogs and as I found out in one agency I worked in where I took Parker in with me, that someone was allergic to dogs, not helping their creativity at all. So always be considerate and ask around before taking a dog into the work place.

If you cannot take your dog to work, there is nothing more rewarding or letting go of a stressful day of work than returning home to you’re your four-legged friend. Whenever I return home, I see the tail wagging, I get greeted with fond affection and all my worries disappear, and even positively if it’s been a great day I have someone to talk to about it.

Walks – small, medium or large dogs need exercise which means that us dog owners get exercise, and exercise increases blood flow, heart rate, oxygen to your brain and therefore increases your mental thinking and capacity and opens up the flood gates for creative thinking. Exercise detoxes the brain from negative thoughts and emotions that build up in our daily lives. Walking our four legged friends help us to be fitter, and take time out from our busy lives. If you have a creative block or you are staring blankly at a computer screen or a sketchpad with no ideas what so ever, take a break with your dog and get some brain space.

Routine and structure– Creativity can sometimes be ad –hoc, a moment of inspiration, madness, and idea’s at 3am. Most creative’s have quite hectic working and personal lives. But we all need a bit of structures and help especially when working on several projects or needing to meet creative deadlines. Mr Parker helps me with routine and structure. He is walked, fed and played with at certain times of the day that bring balance and routine to my life. This helps me put order into my days and helps me creatively work in an ordered manner.

Networking – Often as a freelancer or as a creative networker sometimes it is hard to get out there and meet and greet and talk to people. Maybe you just don’t have those skills, you are nervous, or you are having a bad day. But cross-pollination and meeting as many creative people as possible to increase your network is really important. Dogs can help with this, either directly in the “dog world” and yes there is a whole separate dog world out there. There are more people than you may think that have dogs, it’s a great way to bond and to break the ice with someone and to be able to open up a means of communication by talking about your hounds. Alternatively you can develop and grown your networking skills by walking and being out with your dog. Even in cafes, or walking to the store, many people if you let them are interested in your dog and it can be a very useful tool in gaining the courage and confidence in striking up a conversation with someone.

Fresh Ideas – Dogs, pets, animals are great subject matter. Their actions can make you laugh, annoyed, happy or they can do something that can spark an idea. Or literally using dogs or animals as subject matter can increase your creativity. Right now I’m writing a blog post about dogs and creativity. If you have a creative block and you are a photographer, take some photographs of your dog, an artist can paint their friend, even marketeers and advertisers have used animals as a way to sell a product.


If you are short on inspiration and need some ideas on how you and your dog can em-BARK (sorry) on a creative adventure together. You can get some great ideas from this blog I stumbled across http://fourandsons.com, which was set up by creative dog loving like-minded people. Covering art, design, fashion, music and lifestyle, four brings together an eclectic mix of inspiring ‘dog-centric’ content to dog-lovers passionate about culture and creativity. Like most, we love fresh new content yet, Four is committed to bring you the best insight into everything dog-related, and that sometimes means looking a bit further back. Four is curated with a strong editorial approach and is written by people who find dogs fascinating and almost human.

Rent a Friend

And remember you don’t even need to own a dog to find some inspiration. You can borrow or walk a dog for a friend. Go on try some doggie action and get some creative inspiration.

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