Going to the Dogs: a Lesson from Olly and the Crufts Dog Show

Recently, a friend and I were talking about the phrase “going to the dogs.” Humans’ relationship with dogs have changed in the last few centuries, and how we think of dogs as great companions. How can something “going to the dogs” still be a bad thing?

And if anyone can teach us about how to deal with the bad things, it’s dogs. Example: Olly the Terrier.

Olly didn’t have a great showing at the recent Crufts dog show–major fail right away, face plant right into the ground.

But Olly didn’t care.

He was “all over the place” after that and ran the wrong way through one of the challenges, but, as the announcer said, he was “having a ball.”

Olly knows a thing or two about how to handle failure.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we don’t have the show we wanted. But that doesn’t mean getting upset or mad at ourselves or quitting. Instead, maybe that means we should find the joy in what we’re doing and go after that. Maybe we’re not going to win the dog show this year, but we’re going to have some fun while we’re there.

Failure is hard. Disappointment is hard. But no one can take that Olly-ish joy away from you when you’re doing something you love.

From now on, if something’s “going to the dogs,” respond like Olly the dog. Find your enthusiasm, find your confidence, and keep at it.

3 thoughts on “Going to the Dogs: a Lesson from Olly and the Crufts Dog Show

  1. statomattic says:

    I have a Dictionary of Cliches at home which details the origin of all sorts of figures of speech. I am going to try and remember to look up “Going to the Dogs” tonight and will report back if I find anything about its history.

      • statomattic says:

        Okay, here we go!

        The dictionary of cliches does contain an entry for “going to the dogs,” but it’s only half-satisfying. Definition is “to be ruined.” It credits George Bernard Shaw for using the phrase in 1917 (“Augustus Does His Bit”) but also says the phrase was commonly used prior to that time. The dictionary claims the saying dates to the 17th century and assumes dogs are inferior creatures, similarly to other sayings like “a dog’s life, sick as a dog,” etc…

        So, you’re right. The saying does date from an era where dogs were viewed as more lowly than they are today. I disagree. I love dogs.

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