Meeting Animal Lovers OnlinePublished September 27, 2010
The evening my husband arrived home, carrying a small black leather case containing a black and white Dell notebook, my life would never be the same. Since I was completely computer illiterate, I was skeptical about this contraption sitting on our dining room table. But after looking over Marty's shoulder and watching him dial up onto the Internet, my fascination began to grow. Soon I was exploring cyber-space, discovering lots of animal lovers eager to communicate with like-minded others, to exchange information, resources and support. In no time at all, I ran across an old cat-breeder friend with whom I had no contact with in many years. It was delightful to catch up. The sound bite, "You've got mail" was music to my ears. Shortly we purchased our first upgrade to a more powerful and faster computer with a color monitor and all the necessary bells and whistles. As friendships developed, using Instant messages, message boards and email, getting to know the folks with intriguing screen names often led to chatting on the phone. Sometimes even real-life meetings ensued. In fact, we wouldn't have moved to central Florida, if I hadn't met my friend Rani online. Rani is a super talented artist, low-carb cook extraordinaire and naturally an avid cat lover. So when the opportunity arose, it made perfect sense to share a delightful visit with her during our Florida vacation, 10 years ago. About four years ago, shortly after Barbaro, the late great racehorse, was fatally injured - I posted a prayer for his recovery. Vicki, a passionate dog lover and avid horse-racing enthusiast responded by extending a gracious welcome. Soon we were chatting online and the phone for hours, sharing our love for horses, cats and dogs. We became best friends, even though we had not yet met. For years we longed to get together, and just a few weeks ago we made it happen! Vicki invited us to spend a few days at their lovely Tennessee home. Meeting her family, her beautiful horses and the dogs I heard barking in the background during our almost daily phone calls finally became a reality. Vicki and her family treated us like royalty for our all-too-short stay. Their form of southern hospitality must be infectious because even Ellie Mae, their affectionate and comical three year-old St. Bernard, slept in front of our bedroom door each night, guarding us from any possible danger. My online life has brought me gifts that I will treasure forever. Have you had any online encounters that are special to you? Tell us by leaving a comment.