By 2021 the Internet belongs to animals. From Instagram-starred dogs in pajamas to mud-covered sheep being shorn on farms, There’s an unending supply of animal content spotted on social media each day. While these photos are certainly adorable but there’s more to our fascination with animals owned by other people.
Jessica Maddox, Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Alabama and the author of the forthcoming publication “The Internet has been designed for Cats Attention, Affect animals and Digital Sociality(Rutgers University Press 2022) explores animal and pet accounts in the wider world of our digital activities.
“One of the most important arguments in my novel is that the web despite its desire to bring people together and to be social, is actually a rubbish space,” she said, but it’s the animal content that helps her avoid despair. “For all the flaws that the web has, when people connect animals and pets with one another online, it gives me an opportunity to feel optimistic. It shows that we’re willing to look after one another. Through sharing our delight and sweetness, makes me smile and I’m eager to share that with you because I believe it’ll make you smile. This is a good thing to hold on to in the midst of all the other troubles of this world and the internet.”
Maddox mentions that the increased demand for positive digital connections in the isolation physical of the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated many of the things we did with our pets and animals that were online.”
Think of Rebecca Shore in Jacksonville, Florida The woman who discovered the Golden Ratio’s group of golden retrievers (and the one lapdog) in the year 2020. “I can’t even tell how much this story is meant to me over the time of the pandemic,”” she wrote. “The dogs are so sweet and GR Mom and Gr Dad are so sweet and hilarious with their dogs. I enjoy watching the Daily Snaps each evening to wind down because it’s such an upbeat relaxed and relaxing experience.”
As Rebecca, Lorie Kinler in Fort Worth, Texas relied on her beloved internet pet Crouton The cow to lift her spirit when COVID-19 kept her from her family and friends. “During the time that everyone was home, they would share an evening video known as”the Nightly Crouton,” she stated. “I used to watch every night before going to bed. It was a joy to watch and brought me such happiness during a stressful and frightening moment. I’m sure it was the same for numerous people.”
Kindler even had the chance to meet Crouton IRL at Squirrelwood Sanctuary during her visit to New York this fall, which she found to be particularly significant. “I was so glad to be able to meet Crouton and the other animals who assisted me during a difficult time. It was among the most memorable experiences of my lifetime!” she said.
Professor Maddox states that the most appropriate pet accounts have the capability to pop up at times at the time we need them most. In 2017 Fiona The Cincinnati Zoo’s premature newborn hippo, was an inspiration and source of motivation for many when she battled to live after she was born six weeks prematurely at only 28 pounds. Alicia Mountain, a poet living in Brooklyn, NY was one of those. “In January 2017 , I was in my first one year after completing getting my Ph.D. and Trump had just been inaugurated — I’ll just say that waking up every day was difficult,” she told me. “I kept track of her struggles and triumphs on the Zoo’s Instagram accounts. The meaning was quite evident, but it was not a change in how it helped me. If this tiny, fragile hippopotamus can remain in the world, I could too.”
As Alicia, Nancy Allen in Sacramento, CA felt a special bond with the hippopotamus at the beginning of 2017 as Trump became president and her father was diagnosed with an end-of-life cancer diagnosis. “I remember being in the hospital and watching a short video about this tiny hippo who was created within Cincinnati,” she said. “I began watching this Zoo through Facebook as well as Instagram and being able to share her tiny achievements provided me with something to be happy and hopeful over.” The two Nancy and Alicia are still following Fiona’s adorable posts on social media almost five years after her death.
If Fiona was the animal metaphor for 2017, Noodle the Pug is the animal metaphor for 2021. For those who aren’t aware, Noodle is an elderly pug who gained TikTok popularity thanks to his owner Jonathan Granziano’s fantastic Bones and No Bones day videos where Noodle is an oracle for the kind of day we’ll experience. There are no bones Days (aka an occasion when the pug who is 13 years old doesn’t sit up in his dog’s bed) are now a sign that it’s okay to have the day off for mental health.
Professor Maddox knows why the videos of Noodle stand out in the sea of online pet breeds. “People are being called back to their workplaces to finish work, so the work routine is on the go, but with the pandemic and the stress of all other kinds,” she said. “With Noodle it’s like, “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel right now. It’s as if this is a no-brainer day, because life is tough, and this dog recognizes that I am tapping into the stressors of life.”
Sharing the No Bones Day video with your loved ones is similar to saying “Phew there’s no one else but me that’s exhausted” in a moment when we all struggle to adapt to an ever-changing post-vaccinated world.
He also gives joy to his dad, Jonathan Graziano, who was interviewed by The Spruce Pets in an interview earlier this month.
“Being at home for more than two years He’s always been my best friend But he’s actually my current companion,” Graziano said. “He’s the person whom keeps me focused for my daily tasks. He’s the one that keeps me from slipping into anxiety about the world around me. The dogs are completely in a state of numbness There’s something comforting about the fact that they’re completely unaware.”
The love we have for others’ pets make the internet more enjoyable. Take a chance, and be a part of your passion.