I am a fan of Boo, a Pomeranian dog with cute fur-cut makeover dubbed as “world’s cutest dog” on the internet. Boo’s Facebook page has over 4-million likes (yeah, million). Not so long ago, Virgin America, a US-based airline, introduced Boo as its pet ambassador to highlight the company’s pet friendly policy.
From Felis catus family, I adore Maru; a Scottish fold cat owned by someone in Japan and garnered popularity in YouTube for its silly, cute, adorable videos. Since then, Maru has starred several commercials.
Boo and Maru are two examples on the phenomenon of star animals. Long ago we have “Lassie” the dog (I put quotation marks there to note that Lassie is actually fictional character, played by several dogs, the most famous one named Pal), rose to popularity because of its appearance on screen. In the internet age, both Boo and Maru become world sensation due to viral spread of their profiles.
Apart from their current popularity, it is interesting to note that unlike “Lassie”, Boo and Maru were not trained to be star animals. They are a “mere” pet, loved so much by their owner who then put their pictures and videos on the net. It is not just about how cute they are, but how their owners take care of them. I notice from the video that Maru has a lot of playing toys, including card boxes. Maru really loves to slide into any card box, and its owner knows it well that she often teases Maru to slide into any size of card box. I will laugh to see how the big burly Maru tries to slide into tiny card box. It is always lovely to know that the owner really loves Maru, loves playing with him.
Boo has similar story. A Pomeranian dog which fur was knotted, the pet salon decided to give him a haircut. It was the famous haircut that made Boo so ‘handsome’ and cute. The Facebook page was said to be “started as a joke” by its owner, the mysterious J.H. Lee (she wants to remain anonymous); but then it went viral. Now Boo has millions of fans, starred several commercials, and has its own book! J.H. Lee is certainly as loving as Maru’s owner, gives Boo proper care, takes him to walk, keeps track of Boo’s (and Buddy’s, another dog she owns) health, takes them to pet salon, etcetera.
It is not about popularity (and then money). It is about loving animals and taking proper care of them. I often meet people who take pets only for the sake of their cuteness but refuse to give them loving family and barely pay attention to their health. Some then throw the pets once they grow up because there is no space anymore or because the owner feels bored. Having a pet is a big responsibility. It is not just about giving a dog its meal, for example. It is also about giving the dog its playing time: walking in open space, playing Frisbee. Many of my friends here in Taiwan have pets, and it is joyful to know how they love their pets. Sometimes they take their pets to campus because we have a small field with grass to play. Pets are also allowed to be carried in subway trains and buses as long as they are put in an animal box.
Cute is one thing. Pets can be cute yet unattractive if the owners don’t love then enough. Cute and loved, with help from Facebook and YouTube, you get cute, loved, and adored. And some serious money too, after that, not as priority.
So, do you have pets? If yes, do you love them?