complaints, dogs, social media

People love to dump on a good story.

Last night, as we were about to tuck into take out Thai food, Bill noticed he got a call from the vet. He also got an email. I was immediately thinking the worst, since I figured no news is good news when it comes to medical or veterinary stuff. But no… it turns out the vet who did Arran’s surgery on Monday was contacting us to let us know that the mast cell tumor she removed was low grade (a two, but a low two) and had excellent margins. She also wrote that she would call us today.

Naturally, we were glad to know this. I’m not surprised it was a low grade tumor. Arran had one in 2015 on his head that was graded 1.5, which meant it had very well differentiated cells. A 2 is not as good as a 1.5, but the grading system is kind of subjective anyway, since it involves individual pathologist’s opinions. Arran’s tumor was in the skin and we got him in to the vet the day after I discovered it. So I would have been surprised if it was deemed high grade.

Nevertheless, I was marveling that the vet called us on a Friday night AND sent an email. When we lived near Stuttgart, both of our dogs, Arran and the late Zane, had mast cell tumors. I remember getting the news for both of them at the next appointment. The one time that didn’t happen, Bill had to call for the results. I liked our vets down there, but they were a lot more conservative and not quite as high tech as the ones up here are.

So… feeling kind of happy about this news and wanting to share our good experience, I went off to the Pets of Wiesbaden group. I know a lot of people in there are looking for vets. Many of them are military folks who are finding out that the vet on post isn’t the best option for anything but the most basic of care. Really, it’s best to have a local vet, even though it may mean dealing with language issues.

I posted about Arran’s good news and that we’re happy with our vet, who happens to have a great reputation anyway. Then, along comes some lady who wants to write about how great Tierklinik Hofheim is. I inwardly groaned, because this happens all the time. Someone posts about something with a specific idea in mind. Someone else comes along and craps on it. I fought the urge to post a bitchy response. Instead, I wrote that I know Tierklinik Hofheim is excellent, but I wouldn’t want to trouble them for a mast cell tumor removal, which is a pretty run of the mill procedure.

Tierklinik Hofheim is a very highly regarded veterinary specialty clinic in Germany. In fact, when we lived near Stuttgart, our vet down there even recommended them over the more advanced facilities in Stuttgart. Tierklinik Hofheim is a good three hour drive from where we lived at the time, but if it came down to it and I needed state of the art experts, I would go there. In fact, now that we only live twenty minutes away from it, we have used Tierklinik Hofheim for emergencies. Arran hasn’t been there yet, but Zane went a few times before he died. They really are outstanding, but they had nothing to do with my original post. I wanted to post about my happiness with our vet. If someone asked for a specialty vet or an emergency vet, then yes, I would absolutely want to post about Tierklinik Hofheim.

This is a pretty common phenomenon, I guess. We all like to chime in on things, and sometimes in the course of doing that, we lead things astray. Sometimes, we take things in an unappreciated direction. I remember one time, a woman got upset with me for pointing out that men can be victims of domestic violence. She wanted to paint the narrative that domestic violence is strictly a women’s issue. While I don’t think I was wrong to point that out, she was upset that I was kind of changing the subject she had introduced. I remember she gave me a ration of shit over it. Now that I think about it, maybe she was right… although as someone whose husband was a victim of domestic violence, I kind of bristle when someone tries to paint women as the only victims.

The musician Janis Ian recently posted an article about “conversational narcissism“. I just recently started following her again after unfollowing her for awhile. She had written about the Holocaust and a bunch of people were engaging in “whataboutism”. Like, they brought up slavery in the United States, or other cases of genocide. Janis rightfully got annoyed about it and dished out some shame.

I have to admit, Janis has a point. People can become thoughtless and self-centered when it comes to social media. We’re probably all guilty of it sometimes.

I’ve found myself changing the way I post… most of the time, anyway. For one thing, I make a conscious effort to try not to post anything but positive stuff on other people’s pages. It’s just not worth it to me to post my real thoughts about some subjects and get into drama with people. Most people aren’t interested in having a real discussion. They just want to post their opinions and aren’t interested in being challenged or arguing about them. Since I have pretty strong opinions, I try to only share them on my space. That way, if people get upset, it’s their own fault. Most people who know me, know I don’t mince words very often. In fact, just the other day, I noticed in my memories that four former friends had posted…. they are former friends because they got offended and blocked me. Three were Trumpers who were upset because I compared him to Hitler, and one was a lesbian who was upset because I expressed appreciation for Mike Pence. At least three of them were on my page when they got offended. Go figure.

For another thing, I try to stop myself from going off topic when someone posts. Like, for instance, this morning I read a post from a woman who rescues dogs from countries like Romania, Cyprus, and the like. There are very serious stray dog problems down there, and the dogs don’t get the best care before they get rescued. Basically, the woman’s post was about how some dogs end up with fleas or parasites that don’t get properly treated before they come to Germany to their new homes.

I was about to post about how our new dog, Noyzi, came from Kosovo and is completely healthy. But I stopped myself and realized it wasn’t a relevant point. She was writing to those who adopt from her. Noyzi didn’t come from her rescue, so my comment that he was healthy when we got him is irrelevant. And, by the way, he’s damned lucky to be so healthy. Kosovo has the same kinds of issues Romania, Cyprus, and other stray heavy areas have. Even the lady who brought him to us advised us to have him tested for diseases like heartworm infestation, leishmaniasis, and hepatitis. Noyzi lived in a big pen with lots of other dogs. He got basic vet care, but the care down there doesn’t compare to what’s available up here.

After reading about the plight of rescue dogs in Romania, I moved on to the Washington Post, where I read what many considered to be a “cute” story about a woman whose obese cat was stolen, along with her rental car, and returned with the help of a self-proclaimed pet psychic. I was kind of amused by the story. Back in the early 00s, I used to watch Sonya Fitzpatrick’s show, The Pet Psychic, on Animal Planet. I even read her book. I don’t know how much I believe in pet psychics. I suppose it’s possible one can communicate with animals in such a way… but like a lot of people, I’m a little skeptical. Or maybe I’m just cynical.

Anyway, I could tell the story was meant to be “feel good”. Many people were reacting to it in such a way. I had a little trouble not shaking my head when I read that the woman’s car was stolen while the cat was in it because she’d left the motor running while she went to take a quick pee. She thought she’d locked the door, but hadn’t. So naturally, some shithead came along and stole the car, along with the cat and all of the woman’s belongings. But I didn’t leave a comment, because clearly other people did. No need to crap on the story myself.

Then I looked at the comments, and there were all sorts left that were not really the point of the story. Like, for instance, one person was upset about the cat’s weight… a hefty 19 pounds, because she eats fresh fish every day instead of dry food. Others wanted to add their two cents about traveling during a pandemic. Incidentally, I also noticed in the story, the reporter was so careful to mention the COVID-19 precautions that were taken for the trip. Why is this? Because you just KNOW that if she hadn’t mentioned face masks and COVID-19 tests, people would be bringing that shit up in the comment section. So few people can’t simply read something and not make it about virtue signaling, shaming, or showing everyone else how smart, considerate, or how “above you” they are.

I was kind of tickled to see that the pet psychic in this case, name of Nancy Mello, was actively commenting. She even left her contact information. I’ve got no quarrel with that. Maybe she really can speak “cat” fluently. And if she helped get the cat home, that’s all that really matters, anyway. I’m glad the story had a happy ending. Hopefully, the lady learned her lesson about leaving a car running, especially when your furry friend is in there. But I sure don’t need to say that, since so many other people are saying it. It was a fun read, anyway, and that’s what matters.

I guess my main point is, nine times out of ten, it’s best to start your own thread if you have something to say that isn’t on topic. Having said that, I admit it’s something I work on every day. Sometimes I fail. My other point is, it’s probably best to keep criticism and negativity off other people’s pages. I think of my Internet spaces as my homes. I wouldn’t go to someone else’s house and be rude. At least I wouldn’t do that intentionally… and at least I wouldn’t do that today, now that I’ve kind of left the id somewhat. I might have done it when I was younger… like, when I was 46.

Anyway… I’m glad Arran’s tumor wasn’t so bad. He still has a huge gash on his leg where the tumor was removed. The vet up here was a lot more aggressive than the one in Stuttgart was. That’s basically the way mast cell tumors are supposed to be dealt with. Unfortunately, if they don’t get removed completely, they can recur with a vengeance. Hopefully, he won’t have any more of them. And I’ll try not to be annoyed by those who want to pimp their vets on threads I start about pimping mine.

condescending twatbags

Feel better, Papa Smurf junior?

Do you ever run into Internet crusaders who feel it’s their duty to shame other people for the things they post? I do. For some reason, I have an uncanny knack for attracting overbearing older men who feel perfectly fine giving me shit for being irreverent. On my old blog, I used to post a lot about “Papa Smurf”, a guy I met on I used to think he was nice enough, but then we became Facebook friends and I became the subject of his fondness for preaching. I finally got rid of him after I endured one too many Catholic tinged “daddy” lectures from him about being “inappropriate”, “irresponsible”, “hateful”, or “rude”. I believe my last two words to Papa Smurf were “fuck off”.

Tonight, as I sit here digesting the chemical laden Kraft Macaroni & Cheese I had for dinner, I am also ruminating on an encounter I had with some guy named Mike who follows Janis Ian’s Facebook page. Earlier today, she posted this. It made me laugh, and my immediate reaction was to post a comment…

I swear I’m not a violent person… although sometimes I say violent things.
Thanks for keeping me straight, Mike. I need guys like you around to keep me in check.

Now… keep in mind, I am certainly not the only one who responded to that photo, nor am I the only one who suggested a hammer. However, I noticed Mike didn’t comment on the first person’s “hammer” comment. That person was evidently a man and he wrote “Hammer time!” complete with a hammer emoji. Here I am a grey/blonde woman with blue eyes and I get Papa Smurf junior, a complete stranger, chastising me for expressing myself in a way he feels is “inappropriate”.

I will admit, there have been a couple of times when I have responded with mock outrage when people have celebrated depictions of violence. Like, for instance, I once annoyed some people on Cake Wrecks because they posted a picture of a wedding/divorce cake with a bride and groom cake topper, and the bride was holding the groom’s severed head as strawberry sauce flowed, simulating blood. My comment was that if the groom was holding the bride’s severed head, people probably wouldn’t find it so funny. For that, someone told me I should “rent a sense of humor”. Boy, if she only knew! It’s not so often people accuse me of being humorless. I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but lacking a sense of humor is definitely not one of them.

It was not so much that the wedding/divorce cake offended me as much as I just don’t like double standards. I doubt people would be amused at the sight of a divorce cake photo showing a groom cake topper holding a bride’s severed head. And really, if you think about it, it is kind of a gruesome and disturbing image… although perhaps it’s understandable, under some circumstances. If you’re having a party with your besties and your ex husband was truly a bastard, maybe it is appropriate to have a cake topper flowing simulated blood from a headless groom. I don’t know. My comment was just an immediate reaction. I had a feeling people would think I was being “overly sensitive”. Perhaps I was.

But maybe Mike has a point. Maybe I shouldn’t have blurted out, off the cuff, that someone should bash the slut shaming person in Janis Ian’s post over the head with a hammer. I guess I posted that because it’s frustrating to read and hear shaming and victim blaming comments from other people. In Trump’s era, it’s getting worse and worse, even though Trump is himself a crass, vile, disgusting pervert who grabs women by the pussy. Mike reminds me that people are watching and reading and some feel fine about correcting others– perfect strangers, even. He thinks I’m “hateful”. Ironically, if I’m feeling hateful, it’s not toward the person in Ian’s post. It’s toward condescending assholes like Mike. I know… one of many issues I need to work on.

Mike’s comment really annoyed me. It still does, mainly because I didn’t see him leaving chastising comments for other people. I have a feeling that if I were a guy, he wouldn’t have said anything. I note that he’s a pretty old dude… graduated college the year before I was born… and figures I need schoolin’. Why do I keep running into these people, and what can I do to discourage them from communicating with me? I would have happily told Mike to “fuck off”, but I know Janis Ian doesn’t like swearing on her page. I respect Janis Ian more than I do Mike, who seems to have a “Papa Smurf” complex.

I don’t often comment on things, mainly because of people like Mike… and other people who feel it’s okay to PM me with hate mail inviting me to “go die”. It’s almost always men who do this. It’s like they can’t stand it when a woman posts something “offensive” to their senses. I want to ask him if it makes him feel better to shame other people. And then I would like to tell him to fuck off. But, because I’m a “lady” and not actually that hateful, I usually refrain… the first time, anyway.

Edited to add: This morning, I saw that I got responses from Mike and Janis Ian herself. I decided not to read them, because it’s just too early in the day and it’s likely they would only annoy me and cause me to blog again. Instead, I’m going to write about something else. Sometimes, I think we should all practice the art of scrolling by… Stay tuned.