A couple of weeks ago Loren Feldmen put on the Audience Conference in New York. We supported the conferece, first announcing it and then writing more posts and tweets to help with ticket sales. I also committed to speaking at the event. About a week before the event I was asked if I could foster care for a very sick dog named Buddy. Buddy is a two year old yellow lab who was having some trouble finding a new owner because of hip dysplasia affecting his back legs and two deformed elbows messing up his front legs. He likely needs four leg surgery to be able to walk at all later in life, which may cost $30,000 or more. And the elbow surgery is tricky and may actually make things worse.
Buddy was living in a kennel at a vet’s office when I picked him up. He now lives with me and my chocolate lab Laguna and with the help of two pain killer medications he seems happy enough. He just can’t move very well, and need help getting on/off couches and beds. Buddy also had a nasty ear infection when I got him, but that’s all cleared up now.
The timing wasn’t good because I was supposed to fly to New York and attend the conference. But I couldn’t find anyone to take care of Buddy for the trip on short notice. So I couldn’t attend the event.
I tried to arrange for someone to take him right up until the day before the event, then gave up and called organizer Loren Feldman to tell him I couldn’t attend.
He didn’t take it very well, and kept saying sarcastically that he understands, my dog is sick and so I can’t come. The whole conversation was odd given that we’ve been friends for years and I went out of my way to promote his event. Now, I realize, he was recording his side of the conversation and has posted it, making me look rather dumb.
This is just what Loren does, and I can’t fault him for it. It was the eve of his first big event and he was nervous about how it would turn out. All he probably heard me say was “I don’t care about your event, I’m blowing it off.” But that isn’ what I said, I really did want to attend to support a friend. But I also had a small creature depending on me and I couldn’t leave him without someone responsible to take care of him.
The conference was clearly a success, and I’m glad we were able to promote it on TechCrunch, Twitter and Facebook, and help hook him up with at least one sponsor. Good luck to Loren in the future.
But there is fallout from this. This isn’t the first time Loren has made me look dumb to create content on his site. I really thought of him as a good friend, someone who may be a friend for the rest of my life. That’s why when he comes to California I open my house to him and give him my second car to drive. But friends don’t take advantage of others just to give themselves a cool blog post. At this point, I’m forced to protect myself around Loren and not give him any further fodder for his blog.
What I realize out of all of this is simple – Loren values my friendship less than he values the opportunity to post a short piece of content making me look dumb.
If you live in the bay area and want to adopt a lab, this lab rescue organization is amazing. They take these dogs in when abandoned by owners and care for them and find good homes. There are always a lot more dogs than homes, though. So before you go to a breeder or a pet store, think about taking a rescue dog instead. You’ll be taking a very loving dog out of a kennel, and I guarantee you’ll get back more than you give.