I love this recent post from Mel Freer where she longs for the good old days before we were overinundated with information about pet food recalls, puppy mill abuses, and terrible people who do awful things to animals. I agree. On the one hand, the internet has made the dissemination of information so much easier, and that is a very good thing in a lot of ways. On the other hand, it kind of makes information hard to escape. There is a constant barrage of it, and unless you just flat out disengage, it’s always there. Maybe that is why I keep making plans to go to Africa.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m glad we have access to information and news in a way we never have before. It’s amazing to me that breaking news takes place on Twitter, of all places, and Facebook. Do you remember having to look things up in your family’s Encyclopedia Britannica? Or go to the library and look up subjects on those little cards? It’s nuts. Now I can research stuff while standing in line at Starbucks, or look up a recipe while my kids are at tae kwon do. It’s fantastic.
But all of this comes with a price. With the world at our fingertips, the bar’s been raised for everyone. On every topic. There’s no excuse for not knowing everything, at every time, and acting accordingly, because Google is here and we are expected to use it.
Ever had a conversation with a know it all? They’re just insufferable.
“So I was having breakfast the other day with Mom-”
“Well, you told me you met up at 10:30, technically that’s brunch.”
“OK, well, anyway, she said she wanted poached eggs-”
“You can’t eat eggs! Didn’t you hear about the massive Salmonella outbreak last week?” etc etc.
Sometimes I feel like the internet is like this grand sinkhole of knowitallness. There is just so much information out there, as in vast quantities of unlimited data, that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation without someone, somewhere interjecting some fact that may or may not be relevant, helpful, or even correct.
Adopting a cat? Well, you better not adopt from that place, because they had an FIP spike in 2006, so maybe adopt from this place. But don’t get one from THAT rescue, because they had a bad review on Yelp. Have a baby? Oh, don’t even bother then, you’ll get Toxo.
Running to the store for some dog food? Did you know that X brand is poison/ raw food is the only way to go/ raw food will kill your dog/ you must home cook/ you must never home cook?
Thinking of getting a new dog? Well, I hope you’re planning on adopting a senior dog or some sort of mutt from a reputable rescue, because anything else is totally irresponsible. Here’s a Sarah Mclachlan video to really drive it home.
Posting a picture of a dog with some stuff on his head? OFF WITH YOUR HEAD! Your dog must spend their waking hours at your feet, attending approved positive-reinforcement classes, eating internet approved high end food, or hiking (on lead, of course). Any superfluous activities meant solely for our own amusement, like dressing your dog up in humiliating costumes, is abusive.
There are so many things to remember, so much we expect of each other, that trying to just kind of muddle along and do the best you can isn’t good enough anymore. That is the downside of the internet. At some point, the information overload overwhelms your brain’s ability to assimilate it, and you just kind of shut down. For the record, I do about as well with the animals as I do with my kids, which is to say, there’s plenty to be desired, and I’m OK with that. Keep expectations low, I say.
And that is why I avoid internet message boards, which are like little crucibles of arguments just waiting to explode. People suffering from Internet Knowitallitis gravitate to those boards like a moth to flame. I’ve determined what’s important in my life and my family’s life, do my best to keep on top of important news that affects their health, and if every once in a while the dependents need to suffer through the indignity of a stupid costume in order to keep me happy, well, there’s worse things that can happen to a dog or a kid.
I don’t want to know the latest study about the long term effects of putting a wig on my dog. He’ll live. And so will all those dogs on YouTube whose owners are using their muzzles for Jenga practice.
And with that, I have to go look for more pictures of tortured dogs wearing Death Star e-collars.