With my first-year exams over, I am on holiday for the next three months. I’ve decided to use this time to find out if some of my Virtual Friends really exist. One of them is a dog called Shadow. (Another is a spider called Dicey, but he lives in Australia, which is a bit of a hike.)
Shadow lives in England, and I follow him on a site called Plurk. The wide-ranging topics of his one-liners has earned him the nickname “the philosidoggy”. His wisdom brings us gems such as: “It’s been a funny old day in a funny old life in a funny old world. What a lark, eh?” – Or else: “I just went wild & threw myself at the window”.
He likes to perforate mail and bound around the garden and steal tomatoes and sniff other dogs’ bums. I felt as though I’d got to know him pretty well online, but obviously, being a dog, he couldn’t possibly have known anything about me. Still, he’s a charmer and I wanted to meet him in person. So, on Tuesday, I did.
He greeted me at the door with a polite bounce, as though he had seen me just yesterday. He gave me a moment to introduce myself to his human Raj, then led me through to meet his other human Andavane. His human family were very obliging – they too are Virtual Friends of mine, and it turns out they are perfectly real as well. My hand didn’t go through them when I touched them, or anything.
Once the introductions were out of the way, Shadow presented me with a blue teddy. He tugged at the other end for several minutes, growling in an obliging tone of voice.
The family had already eaten, but Raj fed me a delicious pilaf anyway, and Shadow lay near me, like a true host, until I had finished. Then he led me through to the bedroom and scrambled onto Andavane’s bed. I followed suit, and we spent the afternoon lolling around until it was time for me to go.