Oct. 26 marked the end of an era on the Internet. Yahoo GeoCities shut down after 15 years of free — or inexpensive — Web hosting for people who wanted to publish their own Web pages. In the early years, personal Web pages on all sorts of subjects appeared by the hundreds of thousands. Among them were mine.

Oct. 26 marked the end of an era on the Internet. Yahoo GeoCities shut down after 15 years of free — or inexpensive — Web hosting for people who wanted to publish their own Web pages. In the early years, personal Web pages on all sorts of subjects appeared by the hundreds of thousands. Among them were mine.

My pages had their genesis in my decision to get a dog. In 1997, my husband was about to begin working a new schedule that would leave me alone at night. I thought a dog would be good company, and — more importantly — be a deterrent to denizens of the night who might have designs on our 12-inch color TV or the Mr. Coffee machine.

I knew about dogs from having lived with a few when I was a kid. We had — not simultaneously — a couple of Chihuahuas (one mean as hell, the other an angel); a German shepherd named Toby (who, one day in unattended boredom, destroyed my father’s new recliner); a German shorthaired pointer named Satan; and a porky little pug named Corky.

Except for “Hell Dog” (aka Buffy), they were agreeable animals. But they smelled, slobbered, snorted, licked and barked in varying degrees, and a couple of them shed at least half their hair every time the sun came out.

All things considered, I would have preferred a cat. Alas, burglars are not intimidated by small, furry animals that rub against their legs and purr. Then there’s that whole independence thing — cats really don’t care about you unless you’re holding a can opener. No, it had to be a dog.

Serendipity practically dropped a 10-week-old female basenji into my lap. Native to the Congo region of Africa, the breed is smallish in size, elegant, clean, doesn’t require a major investment in grooming, doesn’t slobber, and isn’t compelled to bark more than once or twice a year. A cat in dog’s clothing, we fell in love with Ruby at first sight.

Shortly after she joined us, we got our first computer and I soon discovered on the Internet an international community of basenji fanciers. There were numerous Web sites about the history of the breed, health issues, breeders, competition events, basenji rescue, and of course, pages about basenjis from all around the world.

I experience the same sense of amazement I felt then when I think about it now: Most of those GeoCities pages were created by people who barely knew computer basics, and anyone with a computer could view them. My first page soon became 20-plus, covering not only Ruby and related topics, but gardens and art as well.

I could have — but didn’t — learn mapping or cascading style sheets or scripting, but in spite of the lack of sophistication, the pages conveyed a lot of information and ideas, not to mention great photos and links. And it was a lot of fun to build! (Want to learn how? Check out Virtual University at www.vu.org. — four courses for $20.)

GeoCities account owners were notified in April that the site was going to be shut down at the end of October, so I had plenty of time to move my files to another host. Instead, after a 10-year presence on the World Wide Web, I decided to let them go. The “Page does not exist” message that appears at my old URL is oddly unsettling — it’s almost as if I have disappeared.

Messenger Post contributor and Macedon, N.Y., resident Cheryl Miller enjoys reading, writing, gardening, painting, photography, and her pets. E-mail her at Fortuna_reilly@yahoo.com