Cyber bullying and trolling are on the increase and we often hear statistics quoted about how people are more depressed after going on Facebook because it triggers feelings of insecurity and jealousy in the majority of users. Well I can tell you, that's not the case for me! You see, I shut down my Facebook account a couple of years ago, and I have instead, a doggy Facebook page. My Vizsla is the author, and most of her friends are dogs that we have met through our doggy circles. In fact there are very few humans, or "hoomins" as we call them, among our friends, as many of my acquaintances would rather not be "friends" with a dog. Fine by me!
Our doggy friends tend to post photos of themselves in which hoomins rarely feature. All posts are made in a "doggy" voice. This seems to remove a lot of what is wrong with social media, the dreadful self-absorbed "selfies" and the showing off. It promotes a spirit of fun and caring. My hoomin friends who are "friends" of my dog tell me they love our page as it always makes them smile. More than that though, the support on doggy Facebook is phenomenal. Whatever is going on, they are there to offer laughs, support and help, whether giving advice on how to cope with a dog with a bee sting, to recommending walks and even supplying old garden furniture! There is no bitchiness as it's not the doggy style (excuse the puns).
Among our doggy friends though, the most special is the "Vizz Whizz" crowd. These are Hungarian Vizsla (a breed of pointer dog) owners, across the country, who meet for monthly walks with other Vizsla owners, raising money for Vizsla charities in the process. This was all started by Otty the Vizsla's hoomin mum. The Vizz Whizz crowd have helped me with coursework, alerted me to food deals, events, given advice with feeding and behaviour, they have been so kind when one of my dogs has been ill, they are my doggy family. This month though, they've blown me away...
When Otty the Vizsla, at seven years old, and having just won Best Veteran at Windsor, became seriously ill and was diagnosed with "Polymyostitis", a terrible muscle wasting disease that affects Vizslas, the Facebook doggies came into their own. Otty's mum had reached her insurance limit and the vet costs were spiralling, so her Vizsla friends quickly decided something needed to be done and launched a Facebook auction to run over one weekend. Everyone wanted to help. Otty and his mum have done so much to raise money for Vizslas in need, and now in their hour of need, everyone stepped forward. Unbelivably, enough was raised to cover Otty's vet bills. Truly inspiring.
The Facebook doggies are our best selves. They are supportive and funny and loving and kind. Always there for one another, owners are carried through terrible doggy grief as doggy best friends are lost, and love sharing stories and pictures and the enjoyment of each other's puppies and dogs. It's a happy place that provides a huge amount of practical help, and though Facebook discourages animal profiles, they bring a great deal more joy and positivity than the vast majority of hoomin ones, plus there isn't really much that Facebook can do, because all those animals have hoomins who can use whatever name they like.