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.

Just Plain Vicki Goes Facebooking

Social media is one of an introverts favorite ways to socialize.  The usual stressors which are present when spending physical time with people are greatly diminished in the social media world … but that doesn’t mean it’s completely stress free.

Social media offers its own unique brand of stress, leaving the sensitive introvert with enough stress to cause her (or him) to feel like a social experience has been had, without having to leave the house or see anybody!

Let me demonstrate by taking you along with me for a condensed tour of a fairly typical Facebook session.

My internal monologue is in blue italics.

(Opens Google Chrome.  Clicks on Facebook shortcut.)

Oh my goodness!  33 notifications! 

I think I’ll do a quick scroll-through before checking my notifications. 

(Scrolls through newsfeed)

Oh, look!  Jane’s in a relationship … for the third time this year … and we’re just in the first week of March. 

Should I congratulate her or wait until next week when men are dogs and she’ll never waste her time on another one again? 

I think I’ll wait. Maybe I’ll just pretend I never saw it.  She could be single again by lunch time.

At least when I say I’m through with love, I tend to wait for three to eight years before I embarrass myself again. 

(Scrolls through newsfeed)

(Scrolls through newsfeed)

Why do people have to be so mean?  I don’t like Trump one single bit, but I don’t go around insulting people who do.  I simply hide their posts  so I don’t have to see them.

How did we end up here?

How were our only two choices Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

When are people going to realize his character has never been honorable? Even when he was featured in the media back in the 80s he was arrogant … and he’s always been a braggart.

And when are people going to realize that defending his behavior isn’t winning any converts?

(Sighs)

Why do people have to be so mean?  Why can’t people just be nice?

I’m glad my mother’s not having to live through this. Character meant everything to her.

I can’t believe she’s been gone for 25 years now!

I wonder what she would think of me today. I wonder if she’d be…

I need a tissue.

(Blows nose. Scrolls through newsfeed)

Oh, cool!  Somebody started a share-your-favorite-childhood-photo thread.  I think I’ll post one.

Scott was so much cuter than I was.  

Aww, Shadow was such a good cat.  I still can’t believe he dragged a 22-pound turkey from the kitchen to the front door!

I sure loved those overalls.

(Scrolls through photos)

Hmmm…  I don’t really know these people but there are some really cool photos here.

I think I’ll like this one …

and this one and…

THIS one’s so cool!  I’d bet it  was taken between 1948 and 1952.

Let’s see if I’m right. …

What?  Why didn’t they post a date? 

History needs to be documented!

(Sighs. Continues scrolling through photos.)

Oh my gosh!  What an ugly kid!  I’ll bet she wasn’t very popular in school.  She was probably teased and bullied and came home crying every day and felt worthless and ugly and…

Poor thing!!!  I sure hope she grew into herself … or at least developed a good sense of humor!

(Gasps audibly.)

Nobody has even bothered to like her snapshot!  Some of the others have 15 and 20 likes.

(Clicks “Like”)

There!  I hope that makes her feel better.  I need to go back through and like the other ugly kids.

(Reviews photos again, liking all of the ugly kids or those who haven’t received any likes yet.  Continues scrolling through newsfeed.)

Sandra just posted a video – says it’s hilarious.  I guess I’ll check it out.

(Watches clip of kittens being cute and acrobatic…)

Aww!  It’s not hilarious but it’s cute!

(The next clip on the video shows a man sledding down a hill and is stopped suddenly when he accidentally scissors a tree)

“NOOOO!  NOT FUNNY!  No! No! No!  That’s awful!”

(Stops video one-third of the way through.)

Oh my gosh!  Poor guy!  I wonder if he’s okay.  How can people think people getting hurt is hilarious?  He could have died!

I need another tissue.

(Scrolls through newsfeed)

Nope!

Nope!

Nope!

Nope!

If they didn’t turn these images into dares by adding “Share if”  I might just share some of them, but I’ll be a fire hydrant in Dogland before I let some meme tell me I don’t love God because I didn’t share.

When did one’s loyalties start being defined this way?  It’s like a 21st century digital chain letter that uses guilt and bandwagon techniques to get you to prove love, loyalty or memory simply by clicking a five-letter word.

How did we prove that we loved God before Facebook?  It’s not like we sent postcards to all our friends twice a week reminding them that we love God!

How absurd!

God knows how I feel without having to…

(Scrolls through newsfeed)

Oh, look!  Laura just posted in our introvert group.  Let’s see what she has to say…

What the ****?

Somebody just insulted her!  Her comment wasn’t even offensive!

That’s not fair!

That’s just wrong!

I better say something to this bully before Laura has to read this crap!

(Leaves comment for bully.  Firmly puts her in her place, without being unnecessarily mean – but just enough so she should feel ashamed of herself.)

I sure hope Laura doesn’t get her feelings too awfully hurt.  Poor Laura!  She didn’t deserve that!  Why do people have to be so mean?

I’m so mad I’m shaking!

I can’t do this!  I’ll check my notifications later.

I need to go on a bike ride or something.

(Logs out of Facebook. Spends next two hours obsessing over the troubling Facebook posts. Decides to post the experience on blog and returns home to write.)

The end.