I grew up in a small New England town, surrounded by what by today’s standards would be considered ‘nosey’ neighbors. To this day I remember their names, the Kerrys and Kellys and Jeffreys and their parents who had no problems doling out discipline, dinner, and hugs in equal measure.
I’ve lived in many places since then. I can’t tell you what my neighbors’ names were; I’m not sure I knew it even then. When I was in vet school, a five year old boy down the street drowned in his pool. When a similar event happened in my childhood, the community swallowed the family up and kept them close during their grief. Contrast that to my later experience; this boy, who lived maybe 6 doors away, I read about in the paper. Community has, in a lot of places, simply eroded in the face of our transient lifestyle.
Or, perhaps, it’s just transformed. The address I call home may have changed many times over the years, but the community that has embraced me online has been a constant since I first started an online journal 11 years ago. I don’t think people have given up on community at all, so much as they have simply transcended geographical lines, giving us the freedom to define our own borders. Our world is simultaneously expanded tremendously and compacted intensely.
We all have a role to play in our community.
I almost didn’t make it to BlogPaws this year, for various reasons that aren’t all that interesting, but I was very fortunate that my friends at Purina were generous enough to sponsor my attendance and make it possible. I put names to faces and met new friends from AAHA as well as the leadership at pet360, both committed to the pet community. I caught up with old friends from BlogPaws past (and this time no one crashed the pool after hours.) I went home, happy and tired in equal measure.
Then a tornado hit Oklahoma.
Ideas are like wildfire. They can sputter and die on the ground, or, with enough kindling and wind, they can take the countryside by storm. As they have done in the past, BlogPaws mobilized the Blogger Disaster Response Network and supported the World Vets effort to send aid where it is needed most in the community. They planted the spark, and waited. And others joined in, AAHA and pet360 and all the individual community members so instrumental in spreading the idea through this, our amazing online community.
Disaster Response Recipients
Today is the last day of the World Vets fundraiser, and we are all so grateful for the support of this entire community in making it a success. Truly, we are a community that helps when it is needed.
World Vets has spoken with our members, our network, and the people at NARSC coordinating the national disaster response. We will be passing on 100% of the donations received in support of three tornado disaster response funds covering a wide variety of animal relief needs:
- Central Oklahoma Humane Society, one of the leading FEMA recommended local groups providing comprehensive support to displaced animals and getting them back to their owners;
- OSU Animal Relief Fund, providing veterinary care free of charge to the many injured animals both large and small;
- and Pampered Pets Veterinary Clinic Tornado Disaster Relief Fund, an AAHA member in Oklahoma who is donating needed supplies directly to affected individuals and smaller organizations in need.
We are tied not by our neighborhood borders but by something bigger. We are a global community. And I am so very proud to be a member of this wonderful group of people. Thank you everyone for your generous donations and your efforts to get the word out. It matters.