Thursday, December 17, 2009

Virtual loss

Something has happened today which perhaps answers my question of yesterday's post regarding whether virtual relationships were as "real" as, well, real relationships (the kind where you actually get to sniff their butt).

Today's evidence says "yes"--at the very least, losing a virtual friend hurts just as much as losing a butt-sniffable one. Graham, a Greyhound who I never met, never sniffed, have never been in the same state fact I don't even know what state he is in...died today, and I am so sad. I am too sad to write about him--if you want to see pictures of Graham and his sister Sophie Brador, they are over at

But if this proves that virtual relationships can be emotionally real, it raises another question: is it worth it? This is not the first time this has happened--the Dogs With Blogs network is big enough that statistically speaking, friends are bound to go. Is it worth it? To set one's self up for loss? Would it be easier just to log out and stick with Dale, who is scheduled to live for another 50 years or so? Is virtual love, or friendship, enough to make up for real loss?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Virtual dogs

I know it has been over a year since I last posted, and I can't fathom that anyone has checked this page in the recent past or will in the near future. Which is fine, I just had a few things to say and since I worry that Dale might find my diary were I to write them on paper, I figure I would take advantage of her PRACTICALLY ABANDONING me (final exam week) and log on.

One of the main reasons I haven't posted in so long is a) Dale hogs the computer "working" (sure, "working" on online sudoku) and when I have a chance to use it, I spend all my time reading other dog blogs. A while back I lamented the absolutely pathetic literary/intellectual state of the dog blog, but since then I have found, through Dogs With Blogs, a network of thoughtful, witty, profound, and original canine bloggers. There's too many to name, but Wally the Corgador deserves a special mention, since his is the first blog I go to when Dale is out the door, and the portal through which I have met all my other online friends. It is a strange virtual universe we live in--here in the "real" world, there is no dog park, I exchange occasional sniffs with neighbors on the street, a bark in the elevator, but everyone is in a hurry, and it is hard to express ourselves with humans hovering over and leashes being pulled. Online, it is a different story--that is, there ARE stories, and pictures, and jokes, and, well, a community. I feel like I know Wally better than any of the dogs in this apartment building. I am more worried about his heart problems than I am about...well, I don't even know about anyone else's heart problems. (I think the guy on the 7th floor got neutered, but that's about it.)

Is this a problem? Is a virtual community inherently inferior to a "real" community?
Has something been lost? (There is still no online sniffing/scenting function, for example). Alas, I write these questions into the empty interspace, performing the very problem I am asking about. Wally, are you out there?