The joys of dogspotting

In a world so full of hate, is Dogspotting the only pure thing left? Lauren discusses the Facebook group that’s going to become your latest obsession…

Firstly, hear me out. We all know that everything seemed to go wrong in 2016 and the current worldwide political climate is enough to make you want to stay huddled in your duvet for the rest of your life. But there’s perhaps one thing that might restore your will to live – even just a little bit – and that thing is Dogspotting.

What is Dogspotting, I hear you cry? Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re out and about, and you happen to come across a surprise dog (no known dogs are allowed in Dogspotting), then it’s a valid spot. Head over to the Dogspotting Facebook page, post your picture, and voila! The Facebook group, which currently contains over 400,000 members, defines Dogspotting first and foremost as a ‘sport and a lifestyle’. I’m in no position to disagree with this. As someone who has vehemently opposed most sports for much of my life, it’s almost a relief to find one that doesn’t require me to run for long periods of time or throw a ball. That is of course unless I’m running after a dog or throwing it a ball.

But the Dogspotting page is so much more than a place for people to collectively squeal of pictures of cute dogs; it’s an escape from the evils of the world, a little piece of paradise where nothing bad ever happens. Perhaps I’m being overdramatic, but as I lay in bed the other night, scrolling through Dogspotting, I realised (after an hour of doing so) that it’s impossible to be sad when you’re looking at dogs. Worried about the end of days under Donald Trump? No problem, just look at pictures of greyhounds in coats. Wishing that winter could be over already? A picture of some golden retriever puppies will warm your heart on these cold days.

Like most good things in this world, however, not everyone in the group plays by the rules. I’ve mentioned rules a few times now, and if you want to be a part of such an excellent group then it’s probably worth noting now that there are a lot of rules. As I’ve previously mentioned, you can’t post pictures of your own dog or a dog you know, but isn’t that just common sense? Additionally, human faces aren’t allowed in the photo, because who wants to see a human when we could be focusing on a dog? Another important one; no so-called ‘low-hanging fruit’. This means that pictures taken in places where dogs can be expected, such as at the vets or a dog park, are invalid spots. If you post any of these, beware of the wrath of fellow spotters, eager to point out your mistake, or the omnipresent admins who will turn off comments on your post without any consideration for your mental wellbeing.

In all seriousness though, just take a short read through the rules and you’ll be good to go. If ever there was a blinding light to brighten up even the darkest of days, then Dogspotting is it. We’re all so preoccupied with the big issues of the world. We’re all angry and resentful (with good reason I might add). But sometimes, just sometimes we need to take time away from those things and just think, ‘Hey, isn’t that a cute dog?’

Lauren Davies

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