Status McAlpine

Helena McAlpine's musings on life as a member of the Facebook generation

Furry friends on Facebook

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Murphy's been roaming the neighbourhood. Photo / Helena McAlpine
Murphy's been roaming the neighbourhood. Photo / Helena McAlpine

Helena McAlpine's garden gate is broken and her dog has been roaming the neighbourhood.

Recently he's been bringing back presents like the odd sock, a tea towel, a dish washing brush, one jandal...

Last week a non Facebook-er had a wee rant at me about nonsensical updates regarding what people's pets get up to.

Hey look, I completely agree that not everyone wants to know about Mr Tiddles' new squeaky toy, but sometimes our four-legged friends get up to stuff that just HAS to be shared.

I conducted some careful research. This, admittedly, involved four hours of flicking between Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where I poked, commented, liked, Tweeted and lol'd myself silly. I don't care who you are; those I Can Haz Cheezeburger Cats are addictive.

Anyway, it really does seem that there is a strong pet presence on Facebook.

There are the pages that you would expect: PETA and the SPCA.

Then there are some that are a little more fuzzy and cute: Mr Tinkles was a finalist in NZ's Next Top Cat Model. LarryCat doesn't really qualify as a furry friend but still grabbed the nation's attention last year.

One group is campaigning for a Facebook just for animals. Obviously they haven't checked out DogBook and CatBook yet.

I kid you not - this genuinely exists. Pet owners interact with others on Catbook and Dogbook as if they were the pet speaking in first person. The pets will respond as if they are holding actual conversations with each other.

Cute? Only if you're the kind of person who wears sweaters that match those worn by both your human partner AND your dog and who includes a little paw print when signing Christmas cards so Rover doesn't get left out (after all, he IS part of the family).

While I've never used my pet as a profile picture and he doesn't have his own page, Murphy, the lab/mastiff cross, has certainly had his fair share of Facebook coverage (refer to status update above).

My friend Sarah in London read about Murphy's latest antics and PM'd me with a story that is straight out of a Jennifer Aniston rom-com.

Earlier this year, her cat was constantly wandering over to her neighbour's house to terrorise his little tabby and eat all its food. To add insult to feline injury, Tom The Terror would also leave his distinctive scent throughout the house. The last straw came when Timid Tabby was deflowered and produced a litter of four kittens.

The neighbour (being a gentleman who wished to protect the honour of his cat) went in search of kitty child support from my friend. An awkward confrontation led to a cup of conversational tea, which then led to a bottle of snuggly sauvignon and then... yes, you've guessed it... a litter of her very own kittens.

Well, not really. Sarah and her neighbour are just dating, but it goes to show that our furry friends are more than just lap warmers and shoe eaters.

Speaking of shoe eating, Murphy has - to date - consumed no less than three pairs of SJP style shoes, two bras, five pairs of knickers (not all mine), a car seatbelt, organic fertiliser and his own poo.

He's a bit of a nightmare at times, but I didn't rush into buying the first cute fluff-ball I saw. It took me three months of loitering around the Henderson SPCA to choose my new dog.

Murphy might be a bit of a chewer but he's responding well to training and I'm glad I got him.

Now, if only I could train him to bring me back some things I actually need. Advice and suggestions are welcome.

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