THE ripple effect of emotion is extraordinarily powerful, particularly when the online world is mobilised.
In sharing the sad story of seeing a dog abandoned by the side of the road and then killed by an oncoming vehicle last week, I did not imagine so many people would feel its loss or my family's pain so sharply.
But thousands gathered figuratively together, sharing their thoughts, outrage and grief through links, posts and emails. The response was unprecedented, unexpected and enormously touching.
Web closing on dead dog's cruel owner
It became clear that we are united by a passion for our pets and a fierce desire to protect and care for animals.
It was as if the outrage about what happened to the dog that none of us knew strengthened our collective social boundaries and lines of tolerance.
The dog dumper had crossed them and many people, through tears, wanted him to get his comeuppance.
More information was called for. And while I do not have much more to give, I offer up some supplementary information.
The dog was a medium-sized pooch, resembling a border collie in build and stature. He was grey, with black and light parts. He was young and healthy-looking. He was not wearing a collar. I did not see the dumper's face and, as it was dark, I only saw that the car was a sedan and a dark colour. I will always regret not taking down the registration plate details, but I did not realise the significance of them at the time. There were no security cameras along that stretch of road.
My family could not take the dog's body to a vet for a microchip check because he was too damaged and bloody. We were also too distraught.
If I had my time again, I still would have tried to help that poor, abandoned dog, even though I continue to be haunted by the events around that intervention.
But, if I had my time again, I would do something differently: I would have called in the cavalry, even though the dog died on the roadside. I have learnt that it would have been the right thing to do.
The RSPCA's chief inspector Mick Pecic says a report of an animal abandonment, whether it ends up uninjured, hurt or dead, leads to an investigation. An inspector would have come to where the dead dog lay, and then tried to find its owner. I did not know that and wish I did.
While I understand people wanting to find the person whose actions led to the dog's death and make them pay for that, I feel tired of the horror and pain. I wish a lot was different about the night the dog was dumped and died dreadfully, but wishing will not bring him back.
In the aftermath, and in honour of that beautiful dog that died, I feel an overwhelming need to look forward and to do better for those who might face a similar fate.
Apart from being immoral and reprehensible, animal abandonment (which includes leaving an animal behind when going on holidays or moving house, or deliberately dumping it by the roadside or in the bush) is illegal under the Animal Care and Protection Act. But while the outcome of the dumping I witnessed was particularly graphic, the act that led to it is disturbingly common, increasingly so because of financial pressures.
Animal cruelty and neglect are good indicators of how a society is travelling, and it seems we are not travelling so well. Animals cost money to keep - sometimes far more than an owner expects or can afford. Vet fees become luxuries. Leaving a dog alone at home when an owner goes away avoids the expense of kennel fees.
But that means animals wander, bark, are lonely and hungry, or get sick. The effects on the animal, the neighbourhood and the community at large are disastrous. People stressed by a dog that barks all night or wanders repeatedly into their yard have done some terrible, out-of-character things.
Everyone is responsible for animal welfare. More people need to take their responsibilities seriously, to be nosy about others and to speak up for the voiceless. The RSPCA rescues about 13,000 neglected or abandoned animals each year.
Their busy period is just beginning, with heat, fire and rain causing spikes in demand. Environmental and financial conditions mean summer is expected to be a bad season.
To admit you cannot look after a much-loved pet is the hardest call of all. But while an owner might worry about what will happen to their pet if they surrender it, too many are not properly cared for because their owners do not admit this.
RSPCA assistant chief inspector Tracey Jackson says shame should never be put before an animal's needs.
More than 15,000 cats and kittens and 18,000 dogs and puppies were brought into the RSPCA in Queensland in the last financial year. Pets taken in at shelters are properly cared for, given affection, have a chance at finding a new family and, in the worst case, given a humane and dignified death.
No animal deserves to be neglected, abused or dumped.
As I witnessed last week, there are some things worse than death.