Cats may dominate the world of memes, what with their agility, misplaced dignity and general inherent absurdity, but if you really want to grab a person by the heartstrings and just yank ‘em until they cry, you need a dog. And as it’s the holiday season and I am in an appropriately maudlin mood (and I know I’m not the only one) I hope you’re prepared for some syrupy sweet social media dog stories. It’s Kleenex and Bailey’s time, people.
Most New Yorkers probably already know the story of Orlando, the black Labrador guide dog whose 60-year-old blind owner, Cecil Williams, fainted and fell on the subway tracks earlier this week. In full canine hero mode, Orlando jumped on to the tracks in an attempt to pull Williams out of the path of an oncoming train, then remained by his side as several train cars passed over them. Amazingly both man and dog survived the incident with only minor scrapes and bruises.
Pretty sweet, right? We haven’t even got to the heartwarming part! It turns out that Orlando, who is 11 years old, is about to age out of service and retire, at which point Williams’ insurance will no longer pay for the dog’s upkeep, meaning the pair will have to part ways. But thanks to the power of social media, crowd-funding efforts on Indiegogo and GoFundMe have raised more than $100,000 to enable Williams to keep Orlando as a pet, while also getting a new, younger guide dog to make the whole situation even more adorable. Now is an appropriate time to snuffle noisily and pour another snifter of Bailey’s.
Then there’s the story of Trooper, a puppy rescued by the Humane Society of Missouri after nearly being dragged to death behind a pickup on I-55. The battered but adorable pup captured the imagination of thousands of people on social media (including over 17,000 “Team Trooper” Facebook fans) who helped raise money for seven surgeries, as well as laser therapy treatments, rehab, training, and foster care. This week the HSM announced that they have found a “forever home” for Trooper -- a term they know full well will cause thousands of people to dissolve into blubbering blobs of gooey sentiment. Trooper’s new owner, Greg, works from home and is thus able to devote the necessary time to Trooper’s continuing medical treatments and the general cause of adorableness. By the way Trooper is also the subject of a children’s book. Go ahead, take a swig right out of the bottle.
Last but not least adorably, there’s the story of Ziggy, a 6-year-old boxer who ran away from his home in Kettering, Ohio, two weeks ago, disappearing amid snowstorms and freezing temperatures, leading his distraught family to fear the worst. However a Good Samaritan named Gail Pretzinger saw Ziggy and posted a description of the dog on the lost and found pets Facebook page for the Dayton area. Ziggy’s family saw the post and was reunited with their dog, a bit worse for wear but basically unharmed. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to make another Bailey’s run.