The Just Love Project 028: Obie’s Selective Attention

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Sometimes the difference between good days and bad days comes down to what you pay attention to. Some small things aren’t worth sweating. Others hold the best stuff life has to offer. Obie, a one-year-old Norwich Terrier in Chicago, has a good sense for sniffing out both – much to the delight of his humans and fellow Roscoe Village roommates, Janine & Connor.

Janine & Connor first brought Obie home just under a year ago, and he wasted no time in weaving himself into the family. He also made a resounding impression at neighborhood dog parks, demonstrating early on what he was or wasn’t focused on.

“He has no idea how tiny he is,” Janine says.

Tiny? Who, me?

Even when he’s playing with a big dog and is whipped around in the air with a rope toy and shown how small he is, Obie doesn’t let it phase him. Chicago winters aren’t a nuisance, but rather a chance to play in the snow. He even helps Janine, who works from home, savor in the little breaks to take him outside and not allow the stresses of the day creep too far in. Obie’s too jolly a pup to let anything bring him down. He’s got a neighborhood to run, after all.

Winter Schminter

“We call him the Mayor of Roscoe Village because he loves greeting his constituents everywhere he goes. He’ll pull me across the street to kiss babies,” Janine says.

Janine, who admits new social situations aren’t her forte, says Obie’s vivacious nature has even made her more outgoing and confident in where she places her attention when meeting someone new.

“I can always talk about Obie,” she says, “which is a huge relief when you have anxiety about what to say next.”

The talk of the town

Of all the things Obie chooses whether or not to pay attention to, his humans are always on the right side of that list. Especially when they need it most. Janine’s struggles with anxiety can bring panic attacks that leave her feeling debilitated and relatively helpless. The first time Obie saw it happen, at less than a year old, he did what great dogs do best.

“He walked over to me on the floor, licked the tears off my face, laid right at my feet and didn’t move until I was okay,” Janine remembers.

It’s safe to say Obie’s got his priorities in order. Our human minds are very good at letting too many things compete for our attention. If Obie is any indicator, maybe more of us just need to forget how small we are, enjoy the thrill of getting swung around like lassos, and savor the breeze as it goes by.  

Janine, Connor, & Obie’s story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at – we’d love to hear from you!