What has Social Media ever done for us (dogs)?

We’re going to have to suspend the imagination for just a moment.

Clearly @chukkabennett isn’t actually the dog himself typing away.  Though I’ve suspected for a long time that he can read, he clearly doesn’t actually type his own tweets.  And anyway, if he could, they’d be in Welsh.

This dog has over 3,000 followers on Twitter. That’s more than an organisation I recently worked for.  It’s 2,900 more than I have on my human twitter profile. One of his other doggy friends on Twitter nearly has 10,000 followers.  Is the world insane? What is going on!?

We’re human, we’re dog-lovers and giving “voice” to the animals we so dearly love isn’t anything new.  Consider Scooby Doo, Muttley, Sweep… We have always anthropomorphised our canine companions, but perhaps before, it was on a more private scale.  Social media has just gone and made the whole thing way more public.  And I for one, think it’s a good thing.

We bring joy to others.  So many comments on Chuck’s posts have been about how his photos and videos (sometimes bordering on the indecent) have brought a smile to the face of a stranger hundreds of miles away.  If that one photograph I posted has brought a chuckle for someone who really needed a laugh at that moment, then my job is done.

We educate.  Chuck is a pet.  Chuck is also a show dog.  An industry which, in some very loud corners, is absolutely despised as the pit of all wrongdoing and abuse.  If being a show dog means Chuck is abused, then all hope is lost for the dogs who really need your help.  Sharing his daily stories is my little way of giving a bit of insight into the life of a show dog.  Along the way, I’ve offered tips on grooming, feeding, training and all sorts.  For free, by the way.  Sharing is caring.  As a community, we share information on missing dogs, news updates on diseases and tragic events.  And together we raise money for all sorts of causes which might otherwise not have got quite as much screen time!

We nurture relationships.  In a world where making new friends, and I mean REAL friends, is probably getting harder and harder, Chuck and his twitter profile has afforded me the opportunity to meet real, human friends.  People who by virtue of also having profiles for their dogs, have a shared interest in all of the above.  We laugh, we cry and we meet up from time to time, with and without our dogs.  If I hadn’t created @chukkabennett, I would never have met these wonderful individuals.

We’re participating in fancy dress on the internet, basically.   A love letter to our dearest companions, and it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I bloody well hope Chuck is flattered! It’s a cathartic way to express our thoughts which perhaps as our human selves we wouldn’t otherwise do.  We can let ourselves go just a little bit.  And that’s liberating.

Crufts is nearly here.  Crufts is an important date in my diary for obvious and not so obvious reasons.  Yes, it’s all about Chuck and his show career, but secretly I’m actually more excited that it’s the anniversary of our twitter meet-up.  Having chatted to each other and met individually here and there for a year, at Crufts 2018, nearly all of us came together for the first time.  Our little group of terrierists has grown since then, but that core group – without Twitter I wouldn’t have you.  I am certain there are other stories out there just like mine.  Liberated by their twitter dog profile.

Some people might find all of this ridiculous and pathetic.  Well, do you know what? @chukkabennett is a dog.  He doesn’t care!

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