the mysterious case of the dead dog
An insane man have placed poison around Oslo, hidden in little piles of sawdust, to murder dogs.
I woke up yesterday, to a flood of warnings on facebook, telling me about this deeply disturbed individual, and that several dogs had already died. Even in my grumpy pre-coffee morning haze, something smelled a little off.
A few hours later the media backtracked, and the mystery was solved. It turned out it was the commendable tradition of Oslo Hash House Harriers, beer-drinkers with a running problem. A very british ex-pat invention, the Hash House Harriers have a hare that leaves a trail, the hounds follow, and beer is consumed at the end. This, incidentaly, is maybe the only kind of fitness group I could see myself join and enjoy. The trail is environmentally friendly sawdust or flour. Figures.
But here is the mystery… how, HOW does this happen? How does the connection of “my dog sniffed some sawdust” go to “my dog sniffed some sawdust and then got diarrhea”, and then to “dogs sniffed sawdust and diiiiied!” then further to “INSANE MAN poisons dogs!” HOW does this happen? Who add that crucial sentence, “man (because that was what it said) poisons dogs, dogs have died”?!
Apparently a pet-shop had a sign up, saying this. But where did it start?! There must be a single human that added drama to the “dog sniffs stuff”, and others who escalates.
The papers contacted the local humane-societies, the veterinary institute, the food safety authority and the police. The society for prevention of cruelty to animals says they have had several reports of sick dogs. The canines are apparently listless, have diarrhea and do not eat well. A far cry from being dead, and certainly not an uncommon malady, partics with the gunky weather here now.
A dog sniffs and licks a million things outside, and some of them enjoy rolling around in dog poo. But how, oh, mystery, hooow did this canard happen?
Facebook is practically untrackable. The information there is nearly impossible to source, and one feather turns into five hens, as the saying goes. People are sentimental, they see a status warning of this terribly disturbed man, and dare not not share it. It is about social conscience. The thing is, if you do not share it, it does not mean that you want dogs killed, but it plays on our love for animals, our conscience, a social responsibility to warn others of possible misfortune. And so it generates, escalates and goes haywire. And viral.
And then the newspapers pick it up, and parrots random facebookers who cannot even spell instead of doing a little research.
Use your heads, people. If you wanted to poison dogs. Would sawdust be the first thing that springs to mind? If dogs have died, do you not think the teary face of the owner of some mutt would be all over the media within 30 seconds of said mutts demise? Dead cats? Birds? Rats? And not the least. Facebook updates with a million exclamation marks after it does not inspire confidence.
I would really like to know how this works: the gears of this process is not easily figured out; the “social media” is a messy tangle with lots of dead ends. A curious similarity to the aim of the hares of the Hash House Harriers.
Will someone please do some solid research on this?
Note. I said solid.
..and the top pic is of highly-alive Grainne (look up the irish pronounciation), my Aussie dog-friend.