Column: Old dog, new tweets
Our dog has gone viral.
Not in the rabies sense, more in a birdie sense — as in Twitter. Over 200,000 likes later, I am wondering about this phenomenon. It is, perhaps without saying, the most exciting thing that has happened in our household since COVID-19 hit. OK, perhaps it is the most exciting thing in our household ever. (No judgment, please.)
Our next-door neighbors who operate an Airbnb have installed a treat dish for our dog, Josie, as an amenity. You see, Josie’s best friend used to live next door, and Josie would go visiting daily. Since “Aunt Janine” moved away a few years ago, Josie still wanders back to see if her friend has returned. Dogs are loyal that way. I am guessing she also travels next door to check out who is visiting and whether they have found her treat dish. Inside the frequently rented home, the new neighbors have posted a picture of Josie next to a container of dog biscuits. The owners have let their visitors know they might get a four-legged visitor.
The missive says Josie is old and sweet and that visitors should feel free to toss her a treat if she ventures over. The recent Airbnb occupants obliged and captured the story in pictures, promptly sent into cyberspace. The likes started coming. Then came a call from our daughter’s roommate in New York asking for a picture of our dog “asap.” She wanted to confirm our Josie was indeed the famous, or maybe infamous, mooching pooch now trending on Twitter.
Our daughter was on Twitter in two seconds (kids are amazing that way), and lo and behold, there was Josie poised to snag her biscuit. Below her picture were nearly 90,000 likes with 10,000 retweets. We all did a double take. My husband immediately started considering whether this could be the start of a lucrative partnership with our dog — wondering how people, or dogs, actually make money on Twitter.
But it was the comments that struck me: all overwhelmingly positive. Testaments about the importance of being neighborly. People, it seemed, were on the hunt for a place to pour out love. Out it came, landing smack-dab on the craggily, graying face of our old mutt. Perhaps she looked like she could use it.
But really, regardless of our age or where we are from, we all could use it. In a world where every day can seem more challenging than the last, there was our dog, and kindness poured out in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing,” to steal a description from one of my favorite books. And from what I could glean from the names and pictures, the comments came from folks from every walk of life. It was a testament that we all have the capacity to love and that we are willing, indeed perhaps wanting, to tap into it. To that, I say, “amen.”
By the next morning, old Jo had more than 200,000 likes. Sure, she can be a sweetheart, but like all dogs, she has her temperamental side. She is fiercely loyal and barks at anyone who speaks a casual hello when we are out walking. In short, she’s only human — for a dog. But then again, aren’t we all? So to everyone who showed our old, imperfect and unknowing Josie their loving, sweet and sentimental side, thank you. We sure needed it. It is clear we do remember how to care, and when we express that kindness, we all might do a double take at the number of likes, or even loves, we find posted in the accounts of our heart.
And if anyone has insight on Twitter accounts for dogs, you know where to find us.
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