Hi Dash-welcome to DC!! Yes it is real, and the people really do care. I've been in and out of lots of these sites, and DC is the only one I come back to!
The funny thing is, even though I got involved because of my interest in cooking, I rarely find myself talking about cooking!! Its funny that you mention my post about my dog, Bailey, because after the initial shock, the first people I thought of to pour my heart out to were the folks here at DC. I have never met any of them, but I knew they would help "prop" me up after this heartbreaking tragedy, and I was right. The outpouring of support I received, and am still receiving, has been a great comfort to me. And thanks to all of them, I am slowly getting back on my feet.
Dash, You have stumbled across a very good site indeed. Welcome-its good to have you here.