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Support Relay for Life of Second Life!

posted Mar 30, 2012, 10:50 AM by Rosanna Himmel   [ updated Feb 21, 2013, 10:10 AM ]
RFL Great Dane from the Virtual Kennel Club
Between now and the Relay for Life of Second Life (RFL of SL) main event on July 14-15, you can adopt a Special Edition RFL Great Dane in the VKC Dog Parks. When you adopt this dog, you can feel good about supporting the search for a cure for cancer as well has giving a home to a lively and intelligent virtual dog.

About the Special Edition Great Dane

The RFL Great Dane is a lovable black Great Dane who sports a purple bandana with stars (the RFL color) instead of the usual VKC collar. When you adopt this Special Edition dog, a portion of the adoption fee* will be donated to RFL of SL in support of the Relay for Life and cancer research in the real world.

If you don't care for this bandana, you can change its color and the pattern with a simple click on the bandana or by chatting a command to your dog. There are 40 textures built in and practically endless ways to color them. If you don't like the changes you made, you can reset the bandana back to its original color and pattern with a single command.

There is a petting animation unique to the RFL Great Dane. Improvements to the friend command make it easier than ever to share your dog with someone special.

Interview with Enrico Genosse, the creator of the VKC Dogs

Q. Relay for Life has been a movement in SL since 2004. Why is the VKC just now getting involved?

Enrico Genosse. The theme this year is "Time for a Cure." My staff and I have discussed this and we feel that it is high time that the VKC lends a hand to this important effort. I won't go into details, but I can say that we all have direct or very close experience with this dreadful disease and want to live in a world free of the threat of cancer.

The VKC has a history of supporting dog-related charities. We were a major participant in Project Fur Japan, the effort to search for and rescue companion animals who were the victims of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. We also have our mixed-breed dog, the Widget, who is our regular charitable dog. Part of the fees for adopting a Widget are routinely donated to a dog-related charity.

Q. What is the connection between Relay for Life and the VKC Dogs?

Enrico Genosse. As dog lovers, we feel that it is important to honor the caregiving provided by canine companions and their role in the fight against cancer. This is why I created a Special Edition dog instead of making a simple monetary contribution.

Q. If you feel so strongly about supporting RFL of SL, why don't you donate all the proceeds from adoptions of your Special Edition RFL Great Dane?

Enrico Genosse. The VKC Dogs represent a long-term commitment not only for the owners but for the VKC as well. The first adoptions of VKC Dogs date back to 2006, and my team and I continue to support those dogs with the same degree of service and enthusiasm as the newest releases. At no additional cost to the owner, I provide a steady stream of updates to improve the functioning of the dogs. I also support a team of VKC Proven Trainers to provide high quality customer support, assist in dog adoptions, and help dog owners in any way help is needed, including solving problems and training dogs. There also is the upkeep and maintenance on the VKC Dog Owner's Manual and website. And it is very important to mention the VKC Dog Registry, the behind-the-scenes database that allows our dogs to learn and remember and that allows us to receive our same dog when we go to the Dog Clinic to claim a dog who has been lost or become sick. All of this represents our ongoing commitment to you and your dogs, but it also incurs a certain amount of expense.

Q. Do the VKC Dogs require the owner to purchase food, water, toys, or anything else? You mentioned that they can become sick, does the owner have to purchase medicine, healing spells, or anything of that nature? What about new tricks — must the owner purchase these?

Enrico Genosse. The VKC Dogs, including the RFL Great Dane, do not require that the owner purchase anything else. When the dogs are new, they know everything they need to know to be a fun and loving companion animal. If you want the dog to know more than his instincts, you can teach him something new. There is no cost associated with teaching your dog new tricks. Indeed, some of my staff offer free classes to help you fully enjoy your VKC Dog and to learn how to teach new tricks. VKC Dogs are much like our avatars in that they are able to eat and drink, but they do not require any sort of sustenance.

Toys and accessories can be fun, but they also are optional. I have developed the Registered Accessory Creator program to assure you that the accessories you purchase for your VKC Dog are the highest quality and will not harm your dog in any way. Sometimes SL can be hard on us and on the dogs. For this reason, I have placed Dog Clinics that can heal your dog in every VKC Dog Park. The clinics also provide updates for your dog and a lost and found service. There is never any charge for the clinic services.

Q. If I want to adopt a RFL Great Dane, what would I have to do?

Enrico Genosse. Adopting a dog is simple. Go to one of our VKC Dog Parks. There you will see the RFL Great Danes roaming the parks with the other VKC Dogs. Right-click on the RFL Great Dane and select "Pay." Fifty percent of this adoption fee will go to Relay for Life of Second Life. In a few moments, you will receive a dog in your inventory. Rez this dog, give it a name, and immediately you can begin enjoying your new companion. When you are ready to go home, put the dog in your inventory and teleport. There is a helpful "Getting Started" page on the VKC website to initiate you to living with and enjoying your VKC Dog. I also recommend that new owners visit the Information Kiosks near the Dog Clinics for helpful information and some very nice freebies made for new owners by some of the premier creators of accessories for the dogs.

Q. Can I get one as a gift for someone else?

Enrico Genosse. The RFL Great Danes are not transferable, but you will be able to find a gift vendor in the Dog Park to give the dog as a gift. The vendor is easy to use and delivers the dog directly to your friend. Alternately, you may send one as a gift from our Marketplace store.

Q. Is there a group for owners of VKC Dogs?

Enrico Genosse. The Virtual Kennel Club Group is a warm, supportive collection of diverse people who share one thing in common — love their dogs, both in world and out. This means that adopting a VKC Dog can also be an excellent way to expand or create your circle of friends. I know how lonely a place SL can be sometimes, so I am pleased to see how the VKC Group has grown into a community. Members are also the first people to get word of updates, events, parties, contests, and the release of a new dog. There is no cost to join the group.

Q. Do you have anything to add, something that people unfamiliar with the VKC Dogs should know?

Enrico Genosse. Over the years, I have worked to make the VKC Dogs as natural and life-like as possible in SL. VKC Dogs are curious and move about on their own, plus they learn from their experience, like actual dogs. You can teach them tricks and routines specific to your life and home. Each VKC dog develops an individual personality and memory. The more you play with your dog and teach things to him or her, the more special your dog becomes. This active, adaptive behavior of the dogs is unlike anything else in SL.

People respond to the VKC Dogs as they would to a RL dog and quickly become emotionally attached to their dogs. Many owners worry about their dog’s feelings and treat them in every way as they might a real dog. Some have purchased SL land specifically to have a place for their dogs to live and play. It is possible to play with a VKC Dog every day and have a different experience with the dog each time. One person told me that having a VKC Dog is like have a real dog logged into SL with him.

Q. I know how closely you protect your time in SL so that it is all about creating new dogs and improving the existing ones, so I really thank you for your time.

Enrico Genosse. It has been a pleasure for me to take a break from designing, scripting, sculpting, and texturing to talk with you about the things that the VKC is doing in support of the Relay for Life in Second Life. Thank you for this opportunity.

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* When Mr. Genosse and his staff conceived this plan, all agreed that half the adoption fee of this special edition dog would be donated to RFL of SL. While we remain steadfast in this decision, organizers of this worthy charitable event cannot reveal the amount of the VKC donation without violating ethical considerations and the SL Terms of Service. As a result, advertising the actual amount creates an accountability issue for them. Instead of naming the amount of the intended VKC donation, the VKC has agreed to announce that we will offer a "portion of the proceeds from each adoption of the RFL Great Dane" to RFL of SL. The VKC encourages everyone to give generously to support cancer research.