(Submitted by reader Jenny)
I work as a dogsitter part time, and for the past month, I’ve been taking two pugs, Tristan and Phinneas, to the Culver City dog park about twice a week.
Today I was browsing BuzzFeed articles and came across this one about excited dogs:
I was scrolling through, and at #17 saw the picture of a pug playing with a corgi. The pug, his harness, and the background looked like Tristan at the dog park, so I zoomed in and saw that he had the same (distinctive) pattern on his collar as Tristan!
After seeing the collar, I was sure that the picture was of Tristan, but there are other people who take those pugs to the park, so I didn’t know if I had been there that day. I went to an email I had sent to their owner a few weeks ago and saw that the video I’d attached was of Tristan playing with that same corgi! You can even see the girl with the camera walk into it in the last few frames!
As a sub-coincidence, that same day at the park, Tristan was bitten by a pit bull puppy (he was fine), and a few days later when I went to turn in some paperwork into an office at my school, the form-acceptance girl recognized me as the one whose pug got attacked, and it turns out she was the corgi’s owner, and the one who took the picture I later saw on buzzfeed!
I see this as a quintuple coincidence, composed of the following occurrences:
– I randomly came across a photo on the internet of a dog I know.
– The photo was taken on one of the 9 times I was with him.
– I am able to verify having been there by having taped the same encounter between the dogs.
– The person who took the photo happens to appear in my one 9 second video.
– The photographer works at my school, though neither of us recognized each other at the time.
As far as numbers, there are usually about 30 dogs at the park. I’ve been there 9 times, and have only seen a couple of people or dogs I recognized from prior visits. I have only taken pictures/videos of the pugs twice, so my collection consists of two photos and two videos. Aside from the pugs, I sit for other pets about twice a month, but the pugs go to the dog park.
I am a student at the UCLA School of Dentistry, and my school only has about 400 students and a similarly-sized staff. The dog park is one of two within 20 minutes of UCLA (and is the further of the two). Unfortunately, no data yet on the number of dog photos or buzzfeed articles I encounter per day!
Below are notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher. Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, visit Barbara’s blog.
Let’s address the items that the author is excited about:
“- I randomly came across a photo on the internet of a dog I know.”
The author did not come across this photo “randomly”. Buzzfeed is an extremely popular site. In fact, I’m not even sure that it’s a coincidence that I saw this very post just last week, even though it was posted in March and it is now September. It’s a hilarious post, by the way. I highly recommend clicking that link; you won’t be sorry!
It also stands to reason that many of the content providers for Buzzfeed live in the LA area, given that it remains a large market for those working in entertainment.
“- The photo was taken on one of the 9 times I was with him.”
This is a bit of a coincidence, but not as much as the author probably thinks. It feels personal because it happened to her, but someone had to have been walking that dog when its picture was taken and the author is a dog sitter.
“- I am able to verify having been there by having taped the same encounter between the dogs.
– The person who took the photo happens to appear in my one 9 second video.”
Although there is some coincidence here, there is also the fact that the dogs were acting in a matter that made two people pull out their cameras. I know that if I’d seen that cuteness, I’d have been shooting it, too.
“- The photographer works at my school, though neither of us recognized each other at the time.”
Keeping in mind that geography accounts for a lot of what looks like random chance, this is still probably the most interesting coincidence on the list, statistically speaking.
[EDITOR: I’m with Barb on this – dog lovers, click on that link! – Wendy]