The Internet allows for true outpourings of attention and emotional resonance from time to time. Â You can see this in viral videos about cats or dictators, in books or movies that seem to suddenly spring from nothing into the zeitgeist, and in real-life dramas.
Two days ago, a well-known and respected dog-trainer was involved in a horrible accident that claimed the lives of two of her dogs, left her miraculously alive, and left one dog spending the night alone in the Arizona desert. Â Within moments of the news about the tragedy there were donation and FaceBook sites, crowd-funding and prayers, advice from animal rescue professionals, deep discussion and simple outpourings of support. Â Nearby members of the informal tribe of dog people leapt into providing on-the-groud real assistance. Â My family is part of the tribe of dog people, and we were instantly engaged, supporting and following and talking about the event. Â I spent part of a critical meeting yesterday surreptitiously checking to see if the dog had been found, we left each other notes with updates, and we talked about the conversations that happened on FaceBook. Â It simply became important to all of us, and to many others. Â When the dog was found alive and well, a lot of the posts were about tears of happiness.
Being fascinated by the stories of other’s great challenges is very human. Â I find it interesting how deeply this story of a person we have never met and dogs we have never met affected us for a day and a half. Â If nothing else, I now have a better understanding of why reality TV keeps generating ratings. I also have even more respect for the tribe of dog people that I am a small part of, and for the power of instant communication to mobilize support. Â Without so many searchers it is unlikely the dog would have been found alive.