Friday, March 19, 2010
Rat Dogs and Trolls
How many people did I offend by using the phrase "rat dog" in the title? Probably anyone who owns or has ever owned a small dog.
[Let's not even get into how many might take offense at the thought of pet "ownership" rather than "guardianship." Here's hoping none of those people are reading because, folks, that's just plain cuckoo.]
[Oh, great, did I just offend people with the use of "cuckoo" as a euphemism for "crazy." This could go on all day.]
Mother Susan has been assistant rector for several years and now, since Fr. Phil's retirement about a month ago, is the interim rector at the church I attend. For more than three years, she has been bringing her dog Gabbie to church and to the office. I don't believe I have ever seen M. Susan without the dog.
When I was counting money at the church on Monday, I received a call from the head of the vestry. Gabbie had been killed on Sunday by another dog. She had been in her yard with M. Susan's husband when a couple walking a very large dog on a leash happened by. Gabbie ran up to the big dog. The big dog grabbed her with her mouth and pretty near instantly killed her.
I have a great deal of sympathy for M. Susan. She adored that dog. It had to have been horrific to experience. It was made worse, I'm sure, by the fact that the couple with the other dog just left. Left. No offers of assistance beyond helping to pry their dog's jaw open. No offers of condolences. No offers of their names or the dog's name or where they live.
To add insult to injury, the trolls and hate-filled folks who bide their time leaving nasty comments on news stories have had a field day with this one. My guess is that many people who are going to come to read that story online are ones who know M. Susan and knew her dog. They'll click on the comments and expect to see offers of condolences and, perhaps, outrage that the people whose dog mauled Gabbie to death just beat a hasty retreat.
But anyone who reads news stories online or who reads blogs or visits chat rooms and forums knows better. Nasty people gravitate to news of people in pain or suffering or in the throes of a personal tragedy. They can't help themselves. It makes me sad to think of all the lovely churchgoers coming into virtual contact with those people.
Gabbie was a rat dog, a little bundle of white fur who was pampered and loved by her owners and all the kids at the church, including my own youngest children. She didn't deserve her death. And she certainly doesn't deserve trolls parading on her grave.
[Photo courtesy Marin Independent Journal.]
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