Animal Lovers on Social Media

I just want to start this rant with the admission that I’m crazy about cats and can’t resist petting a friendly dog! I’m more of a cat lady than a dog lady, but I love animals of all sorts! The childhood nickname my parents bestowed upon me was Elly May, the teen or twenty-something animal-lover on The Beverly Hillbillies. I have spent a lifetime falling in love with one animal after another.

I have noticed, however, a particular online phenomenon among lovers of dogs and cats. I first observed the phenomenon early in my Facebook days, back in 2010 or 2011.

I’m sure the phenomenon isn’t restricted to dog and cat fanciers. It probably also carries over to fanciers of snakes, rats, birds, turtles, etc., but it’s very prevalent among those with a preference to felines and/or canines.

The phenomenon can be described as follows…

Somebody posts a photo of their dog. The dog is a St. Bernard with orange, black and white markings.

One third of the comments will be complimentary – people who think the dog is cute.

Another third will find fault in something related to the photo or video. Some people might have a problem with the toy the dog is playing with. Others may find fault in a brand of dog food if the bag or can is in the photo. Some find fault with the leash, the expression on the dog’s face (“he must be sad – he’s probably being abused!”) or some other form of abuse or neglect that they imagine because they consider themselves animal advocates and assume every animal on Facebook is being mistreated.

The final third will all say the dog in the photo looks just like their Fido, Snookie or Rex. Many of these people, after gushing over the dog’s resemblance to their own beloved canine pal, will post a photo of their dog so the world can compare the resemblance. The look-alike might be a St. Bernard, but he’s far more likely to be a boxer, beagle or chihuahua. The “perfect resemblance” might be in the markings, the color(s) or the shape of the left front paw.

Likewise, somebody can post a photo of Christian the Lion and a hundred people with house cats will say, “That looks just like my Fluffy!” The resemblance might be an orange coat, the shape of the ears, the number of whiskers both cats possess or the fact that they both have a proud posture.

When you read, “He/she looks just like my…”, it’s unlikely that anyone else in the world will be able to detect an identical resemblance.

What’s even funnier is when someone shares the “comparison photo” of their furry friend and says of the posted photo, “That looks just like my Ginger … If Ginger were black, and about five times smaller, and a dog – but if she were a black dog and five times smaller, they’d be twins!

I have known people who will see a photo of Lassie and two weeks later, a photo of Benji, and they’ll respond to both with, “He looks just like my Fifi!” … who happens to be a pink Poodle.

It’s okay to admire all of the online animal photos that get posted, but if you find an “exact resemblance” between your poodle and Lassie (a collie) or your gray tabby and the Cowardly Lion, I’m a little worried about you.

Perhaps you really do think your Beagle looks just like a Great Dane, but I sure hope your Beagle never goes missing. People might wonder about you if you lose Snoopy and return with Marmaduke, never realizing your dog is still missing and you’ve stolen somebody else’s dog.

For the totally clueless, I do offer this piece of advice: If Snoopy used to eat a cup or two of food every day and now requires a cow’s carcass to maintain his weight, you might have the wrong dog.

Donut’s School Days

I generally peek outside before exiting my house to ensure that the hillbilly neighbors aren’t outside so that I can sneak out in peace.

Extroverts who read this might not understand this habit of mine, but surely even extroverts can understand the need to dodge annoying people.

Recently I peeked out of three different windows to make sure I wouldn’t have to interact with the hillbillies when I went outside. Once I was finally satisfied they were either inside or elsewhere, I walked out and there was Donut! She was at the end of the driveway looking for someone or something, shielding the sun out of her eyes.

When she heard my door she turned around and greeted me. As usual, I feigned fidgety politeness. The politeness I feigned because one shouldn’t be unnecessarily rude. The fidgeting wasn’t exactly feigned, but it was slightly exaggerated in order to convey that I had other things to do.

We chatted a few minutes and she finally brought the conversation to an end by saying, “Well, I need to go in and do my homework”.

That’s all it took to pique my interest and spark the following conversation.

V – Homework?

D – Yeah, you didn’t know I was goin’ to school?

V – No, I had no idea! What are you studying?

D – I’m takin’ a computer class that teaches ya how to open Windows – that’s computer lingo – and I’m takin’ a business class.

V – Interesting! I didn’t realize you were interested in business.

D – I’m not. I hate that class! I wanted to take photography ’cause that’s where my heart is, but there wasn’t enough money left over from the grant after I paid off all my hot checks. I had to take a couple of cheap classes.

V – Oh, I see. So you’re going to school because you applied for a grant to pay off hot checks?

D – Yeah, but I had to take somethin’ ’cause if I kept the grant money without goin’ to school, they might put me in jail or somethin’. I was gettin’ ready to be arrested for the hot checks, so I had to do somethin’, and since the grant people give ya more money than ya need, I used most of it to pay off my checks.

V – Well, good luck!

D – If I go back next semester I’m gonna take photography. I like takin’ pictures! I take really good pictures. Every time we take family pictures I’m always the one holdin’ the camera ’cause everybody likes the way I take pictures.

So that’s the story. Donut is taking a couple of cheap classes at our local junior college to avoid going to jail over hot checks. I’m not sure if that makes her a scholar or a con, but she’s out of hot water for now.

Relaunching Blog on Tuesday! New format!

I had previously used this blog for a failed attempt at podcasting.  A friend, who enjoys my written stories, has since encouraged me to use this blog for that purpose, so starting Tuesday (July 7th, 2015) I will be posting my first weekly story, “My 46-Year Awkward Phase.”

Stories will be posted each Tuesday morning!  ~Vicki