The amount of coverage of Rocco’s untimely death — including that in the Post-Gazette — was mentioned almost everywhere I went last week. No one called the coverage unseemly exactly, but it was often called excessive. Even PG political cartoonist Rob Rogers, who can reliably be counted on to offer a contrarian view on almost everything, penned a genuinely sentimental cartoon in honor of Rocco.
One of my colleagues, a fellow dog lover, said that the Rocco story struck a chord because whatever one’s view of police and their tactics in any given neighborhood, it is difficult to find people who don’t like dogs. YouTube probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our tendency to anthropomorphize our pets’ behavior. A cat playing a piano is one of the most viewed videos in history.
Heartwarming videos of dogs going bonkers greeting their masters returning from stints in Iraq and Afghanistan garner millions of hits, “likes” and tweets on social media. It is impossible to witness such deep cross-species friendship in these videos without shedding a tear if you’re a dog lover.