8/365 – Meditation Games #8 – The Therapeutic, Simple Dog Life

Developer: Lucas Guilbo

Launcher Quote:¬†“2015 was a bad year for me and I ended up in quite a dark place…

Back then I used to walk a lot in the forest with my mom and our dog to keep my head clear.

As our dog got older we could keep him under control and he was allowed to walk without a leash.

I always found it funny to just watch as he started running for no reason and barked at bushes that looked scary.

He is still with us and as crazy as ever!

Thank you for making my walks more memorable. <3″

As humans, we’re complex individuals in part because of our capacity for self-reflection and rational intelligence. The things that make the human race amazing in its achievements, inventions, works of art and more are in part because of the fact that the way the human brain and mind works provides a ton of possibilities and insights about who we are, how we exist and what we choose to do with our lives. But that same complexity can also sometimes sabotage us, either through experiencing¬† negative mentalities and conditions which may lead us to crushing self-doubt, dark and deep depressions, and anxiety that threatens to swallow us whole.

Maybe that’s why, as the developer mentions in the launcher quote, beloved pets provide a bit of memorable distraction, moments filled with contentment and love, and a bit of levity in an otherwise serious and sometimes scary world. In many ways, and especially with dogs, pets experience the world through simpler, less complicated lenses. The developer’s dog, like many pets that owners treat as precious family members, is cared for and lives a life filled with sights, sounds, smells, and straightforward reactions to things such as bushes that seem scary or birds taking flight. As someone who’s a pet owner I’m all too intimately familiar with pets reacting in random and often hilarious ways to the outside world and its wonders, not to mention the amusement at seeing pets approach things with such life and excitement – even if they misbehave.

Having the experience of playing the game Lucas submitted through the viewpoint of the dog, and having the mechanics be as simple as they are (left click to move, right click to bark) really depicts the kind of simplicity with which dogs often approach life. For many of them, the day is filled with understood experiences that are immensely obvious (bark at birds, rush at bushes, get love from owner) and don’t need much more explanation. When seeing our pets live such ease at boiling down the experience of life to these basic events, it’s no wonder that people espouse how therapeutic having and caring for pets can be. They remind us that not everything as to be overthought or worried about, or at the very least, that it doesn’t have to be as such right as this moment, when they’re enjoying their time with you. That value can’t be overstated in today’s constant exposure to the worst of the world.


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