21 April 2021
It’s an influencer world, and we’re just living in it. Influencers inspire envy and disdain in equal measure; I would know, I live in Bondi. They’re young. They’re vapid. They’re popular. They’re fake. They’re sexy. They’re slobbery?
Meet Louie, a different kind of influencer. He’s rotund where others have thigh gaps. He’s hairy while others swear by brazilians. He naps eight hours a day as others rail coke at Bondi Icebergs. (What a Good Boy).
I’m not an influencer girlfriend. I’m an influencer dog mum.
I never anticipated ending up this way. When I considered getting a dog around three years ago, I saw myself with a scruffy, wretched little thing that only a mother could love. I thought I’d prove my charitable nature by opening my heart to a rat-faced little woofer, possibly a blind Poodle or elderly Bulldog. Instead, I fell for a baby Jug (that’s a Jack Russell cross Pug for the uninitiated) who grew up to be a total glamour. A chad. A certified babe. His chiselled jaw and incredibly round eyes (they’ve affectionately been deemed “crazy eyes” on occasion) were made for Instagram. But I don’t need to tell you that.
Canine sniffluencers are a bone-a fide phenomenon. The top five most followed dogs of Instagram boast an insane (or should I say “barking mad”? No, I definitely should not) 16.1 million combined followers. For context, that’s almost 4 million more than Hollywood supermodel and human Miranda Kerr.
Coming in at number one is Jiff Pom, a certified blue-ticked ginger Pomeranian with a penchant for onesies. He (or she, it’s difficult to tell) has a totally different aesthetic to Louie. As his momager, I’m not sure what to make of this. More encouraging is number two, Doug the Pug. Doug is my personal favourite of the super influencers and not just because of his resemblance to a certain Aussie up and comer. As well as flogging his line of merchandise, Doug uses his fame for good, founding his own charitable foundation and advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement. What a time to be alive.
Louie, or jugdog_louie as his followers know him, hasn’t quite reached the heights of Jiff Pom or Doug. But for a humble Newcastle kid, he does alright. Brands have slid into Louie’s DMs offering free products in exchange for sponsored posts, and more importantly, he has Instagram friends he’s never met- a total sign that you’ve made it in the influencer world. He hasn’t yet entered into an influencer fauxmance (a fake relationship formed to gain followers a la infamous Youtubers Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau) but ladies, he’s open to offers.
I’ll always support my boy. But I’d be lying if I said that his hunger for Insta fame (as well as chicken) hasn’t changed our relationship. For one, there’s the unavoidable jealousy. Louie has way, way more followers than me and it’s frustrating as hell to constantly feel like the ugly duckling. When I’m feeling particularly mean spirited I’ll compare myself to him and bitterly wonder what he’s got that I don’t – I have the belly and the rolls, I pant profusely after short walks, and my forehead is getting wrinklier by the day!
Then there’s the constant posing. Every influencer girlfriend will know what I mean; every outing is an opportunity for a photoshoot. And if a shot is deemed unflattering you better believe you’ll be snapping away for as long as it takes to capture your significant other’s perfect angle.
I suppose all a mother can do is raise her child to understand that some things are more important than popularity, sex appeal, and social media clout. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “I hope you have lost your good looks, for while they last any fool can adore you, and the adoration of fools is bad for the soul.” And what is the influencing game if not the adoration of fools?
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