I'm a busy Mom with a full time job, a household to run and animals to care for, yet every day I find myself more and more drawn to the oh so amazing Internet and all it has to offer.
It is such a challenge to find that balance between communication and safety, education and propaganda, real life and the cyber world. I certainly understand the differences but it is a balancing act.
My first love is horses. At the age of 2, I was set up on a horse my father was riding in New York State. I think his name was Nicky. My mother says it was one of the biggest mistakes of her life because from that point on all I talked about was horse. Nicky's owner passed a Shetland pony named Snowflake on to me when I was 6 and the rest is history.
Now I go on line, and on Facebook, I'm connecting with other horse owners from past and present. I learn what is going on in the horse community from shows, to trail rides, to trade shows, meet ups, horse products, accidents, injuries and the fight to keep all horses and ponies in safe and loving homes. The Internet can keep everyone who loves and owns equines in close connection.
My second love is dogs. I worked at a boarding kennel for 10 years and a Veterinarian before changing in to my current field. In my twenties I owned a German Shepherd and went to dog training classes, met many dog breeders and went to shows and even visited the Westminster Dog show once upon a time. Now through social networking I keep in touch with my dog show friends. Share pictures of my beloved dog, learn about product recalls and safety. Help to spread information about missing dogs and the importance of micro-chipping.
Now my new love is my baby girl. I hope to share with her my love of horses and dogs and all creatures great and small. I can use the Internet to find out about baby foods, and product recalls, tips and tricks to raising a child. How to introduce a young one to horseback riding, or to swimming lessons or just how to keep them safe and healthy in a household of pets.
The oh so amazing internet is such a wealth of information. I can keep in touch with cousins in Maine, Texas, California and even Canada. I have a closer connection to my own siblings who I otherwise don't get to talk with. I can even share photos on the same day they are taken so that family members and old friends know exactly what is going on in my life and how my daughter and all my pets are doing.
Yet at the same time, so much out there is false. Every day there is a photo of some ill child or injured animal, with a brief caption and no real information. Anyone can write anything and you have to weed through what is truth and what is not. I have to be careful not to believe everything I see and read, and at the same time, not to let my heart get too torn over all those people and animal that do need help.
A photo comes across the screen of a very ill child. The caption reads that if the image is shared by 1000 people the child will get a heart transplant. But if you search far and wide in the intranet, you learn that this is false, and this poor child passed away in 2008.
Another image comes across my screen of a dog on a shelter floor that appears to have bled out its nose and the floor is covered with blood. No caption but the image is being shared to "stop animal abuse". All I can find for information elsewhere is that the photo was taken years ago in Istanbul. I don't know what happened. Maybe the dog cut his mouth int he night trying to chew through bars. Maybe the dog, unknowingly to its captors, got into slow acting rat poison 10 days earlier. I can't spread that kind of questionable information.
These kind of things are running rampant. I still have to live in the world of reality, where the house needs cleaning and the yard needs to be picked up, and we all need to go outside and go for a walk and talk to people in person. I have to take care to spend the time with the animals I HAVE, and stop dwelling so much on the plight of those I can't save.
I learned recently, that if you take a photo of your child with a smart phone, and share it on the Internet, predators can track you down to your house or the child's school. I'm certain the same is true of animals. I will keep my Basic phone, thank you.
I'll be safe. I wont believe everything I see nor share every sad photo that comes across my screen. Yet I will still, take great enjoyment in the oh so amazing internet.