Dogs are man’s best friend. They accompany us everywhere, even on Instagram. Besides, dogs are cute, like cats and budgies. As are all animals, come to think of it. So it’s mighty practical that we can make money off our best friends by posting funny pet videos and they have no say in the matter.
By Susi Bumms
I’m a simple lady: When I see a Reel of a gigantic dog stuck in a garden fence, I click on it. Then I take a closer look:
Snoozing away | Illustration: © Susi Bumms Here are some search results under the hashtag #petfluencer:
A little dog placed in a hollowed-out watermelon that’s suspended like a swing.
A golden retriever puppy is placed in a drawer, then pulled out, and then looks at the camera.
A little doggie sporting a T-shirt with a famous café chain’s logo on it chewing on a coffee tumbler straw – hashtag #ad.
A dog decked out in a bee costume falling down.
A medium-sized dog wearing sunglasses sitting on an inflatable flamingo in a swimming pool.
A dog getting its hair curled with a curling iron.
Sniffing away at each other | Illustration: © Susi Bumms Most of the videos are captioned with the dogs’ imagined thoughts or remarks: “Linda,” says the dog getting its hair curled, “how dare you.”
I can’t tell how the dogs feel about all this funny business. But animal welfare organizations say you actually can tell if they’re anxious or panicky during the shoot. The “challenge” of filming a dog while its owners are playing dead in front of it, for example, is objectionable because this mise-en-scène elicits emotions like separation anxiety and grief – just for fun.
What I can see for myself, however, is that people seem to think they’re so great that they want to put their dogs in the most human situations possible.
But what if we turned it all around: What if dogs were like humans and had social media accounts of their own – would they force humans to sniff each other’s butts? Or to nibble at their own butts? Would they film us standing around stupidly or snoozing away with spittle hanging out of our mouths? Or when we’re anxious, panicky or ill? How much money could they make off us?
Biting your own butt | Illustration: © Susi Bumms Now those would be funny videos.
On an alternating basis each week, our “Frankly ...” column series is written by Susi Bumms, Maximilian Buddenbohm, and Sineb El Masrar and Marie Leão. In the “Frankly…visual” column, Susi Bumms observes pop culture and politics, commenting on what she sees through cartoons and pictures.