Now, it seems, everybody and their pet is on it too.
By creating a profile of your dog (there's Catbook for cats), you get to show him off with pictures and video, along with a description of his favourite activities and a bio. You also make "friends" for your dog so you get to see their pictures and read about their lives too. There are currently about 35,000 dogs on Dogbook and Chef now has over 200 friends, way more than I do, from all over the world.
There's also a search option where you can locate dogs who live nearby and maybe make plans with their owners to meet up at the dogpark. And there's the Arf Alert button which announces that your dog is lost so that other Facebook members can watch out for him.
Obviously, Dogbook is just a way of making contact with other people who obsess over their pets as much as you do. It's fun tapping out messages to each other and keeping up-to-date on their dogs' lives, and in some cases, their owners' lives too. There is a noticeably strong bond between people who own the same breed of dog, in general, and for me specifically, it's interesting to see how other Boxer owners are raising their dogs, handling problems unique to Boxers, and sharing stories of common interest with them.
For instance, Solo, a beautiful seven-year-old Boxer in Halifax has befriended Chef. She is currently undergoing tests for a thyroid problem. She also recently had gum surgery during which the vet may have punctured her eardrum. She's been dizzy and falling ever since. Her owner, Bev, is beside herself with worry and I've been giving her moral support through Dogbook's messaging function. And there's Sara, a two-year-old Boxer living in Lasalle who Chef hooked up with on Dogbook. Her owner, Carol, and I were happy to discover that we live near eachother and set up a "playdate" for Chef and Sara at Angrignon Park last week. Unfortuantely, Sara ate a marrow bone and was rushed to the vet because of a bleeding stomache. So I've been exchanging messages with Carol too. Sara is on the mend and I'm waiting to hear from Bev about Solo.
There's a lot of knowledge to be gained from other people's experiences with their pets, so in this way, Dogbook actually serves an important purpose. Otherwise, it's just fun to put your pet out there and show him off, and watch other people do the same. And I have to admit, it's very flattering when Chef's friends send messages saying how handsome he is and want to marry him, or that their moms think he's a great-looking dog ! Of course, in some cases, it's pure etiquette to gush over someone else's pet. I've done it too. But I like to believe that in other cases, they're simply stating the obvious !
To see Chef's Dogbook profile, click on the link above, dated November 10/ 07.