So Your New Dog Doesn’t Fit Your Post-Pandemic Aesthetic. Now What?

Well, this is awkward. The designer pooch (that you pretend is a rescue) is totally f*cking up your vibe. You bought little Buddy last March, and now it’s almost July and is back, baby! Suddenly, having to leave brunch early to put kibble in a bowl is just not the move, you know what I mean? Who could have predicted this, aside from your mom who rattled off a list of all the hobbies and projects you abandoned as a child, experts who warned against people returning pandemic pups, your roommate who refused from the get-go to feed your teacup Yorkie Pomsky mix,and the lady at the pet store who asked, “are you sure”? Nobody told you that a dog is much more than an accessory to quell your boredom and help you rake in Instagram likes. Okay, so maybe your mom did say exactly those words to you before you signed the papers, but what does she know? She called flip-flops “thongs” for the better part of your childhood, after all.

No denying it—this sucks. But just like any undesirable life event, you can use this to your advantage to increase engagement and build your brand. Here’s how.

Change Your Aesthetic

Any good influencer marketer will tell you that maintaining your brand is of the utmost importance. So before you do anything drastic with the dog, like archive the pictures you posted on IG (they’re getting such good engagement), ask yourself: what exactly is your brand, and why doesn’t little Miss Fluffikins fit into it? From there, you can make tweaks as necessary. It’s crucial to know your audience and be specific. Like, maybe your brand is alcoholism going on all-day drinking benders, and having to dip out early so your dog doesn’t starve is messing with your party-all-day-and-night aesthetic. If it’s starting to feel like a buzzkill, no worries! Do you know how many bars are dog friendly these days? Literally all of them, depending on your level of ethics.

On the other hand, is your brand DIY home improvement projects and generally being a hermit, but you got an Australian shepherd? (Those eyes are just so cute, I get it.) It’s time for a rebrand—you’re really into running now. Sorry!

Is your brand unapproachable bitches with a penchant for destroying household objects? You really should have gotten a cat.

Overshare, Overshare, Overshare

It’s not 2016 anymore, and Instagram doesn’t need to just be a highlight reel. If you don’t know that vulnerability does wonders for engagement, you’re probably still using the filters that come in the Instagram app. (Valencia? What are you, 12?) Everyone knows dogs are cute and cuddly, but do they also know that dogs love to destroy personal belongings, especially shoes, if left unattended? Okay, so that’s also a common generalization—particularly the shoe thing. But, whatever, use it! Of course posting pics of your dog as a puppy is cute, but posting pics of him making puppy dog eyes in front of your chewed-up Golden Gooses is just as cute, in a “oh, you little rascal—do you people see what I’m dealing with? I’m such a saint for putting up with it” kind of way. (Nobody has to know whether or not your dog actually has a penchant for chewing up shoes, or if those tears were actually made by a pair of scissors. Let’s be honest, those shoes are hideous anyway.)

The caption here is even more important than the photo, so it’s time to flex your exaggeration writing skills. Make sure you write a meandering personal essay detailing the trials and tribulations of being a dog owner. Of course, when he looks up at you with those big, brown/blue/two different colored eyes and you know this tiny furry creature depends on you to live, that’s how you know it’s all worth it. (Feel free to steal that line; I’m not using it.) Other vulnerable posts that are sure to rack up the likes: no-makeup (minus mascara, BB cream, highlighter, and a swipe of lipgloss) selfie with imaginary under-eye circles because “this one won’t stop barking all night!”; a puddle of yellow liquid on your plush white rug (said liquid may or may not be the bottle of sauvignon blanc you knocked over); lacing up your sneakers at 6am for your early morning walk (you went back to bed after you took the picture).

Stop Posting

So you’ve milked your mild inconvenience new best friend for all it’s worth, and your dog is still, like, an animal that requires care and not a barely sentient stuffed animal, as you anticipated when you adopted bought him. Bummer! Once you’ve used up all your sympathy cards, the only course of action left is to build up a sense of mystique. This means it’s time for Little Miss Princess Pupper to go on a vacation—literal or figurative, that part is up to you, and only you will know. This part is important! You can never discuss where the dog is going, or even acknowledge it went anywhere, leaving your followers to wonder, “wait a second, what happened to that dog she was constantly posting about?” Having all those people coming back to your profile, day after day, to see if you’ll acknowledge the case of the missing canine will be great for your engagement! So would the “what happened to the dog?? What r u hiding???” comments, if you could keep them up without ruining your brand. On the upside, deleting comments will only fuel more comments asking why you’re deleting comments.

Now, you might be asking, “but if I didn’t send the dog on a literal vacation, how is this helping me at all?” It’s simple: if someone or something isn’t being shared on social media, it doesn’t exist.

Return It

If there’s anything influencers have taught us in 2020, it’s that anything can be returnable—even children. If this creature with feelings and emotions just isn’t working for you, get rid of it, girl! Time to stop setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm—and yes, having to cancel a dinner reservation in the Hamptons that you’ve had for months to keep another living thing alive is basically setting yourself on literal, actual fire. It’s time to start prioritizing yourself, and only yourself. Self-care.

Images: Alexandra Tran / Unsplash

How To Ask For Money Instead of Gifts This Holiday Season

If you’ve ever read a story by yours truly, you know that the holidays give me all the life I’ll ever need. Even now, as a 26-year-old jaded New Yorker who is impressed by nothing, I tear open a perfectly-wrapped gift with the same energy that most people save for fighting strangers at Target on Black Friday. However, sometimes I’ll rip off the wrapping paper, lift the cardboard lid, and find a disappointing gift. Honestly, the last time I got excited over a gift that came in a box was in 2004, and guess what was in the box? A puppy.

Unless you’re gifting someone the eternal happiness that comes with a dog, wrapped gifts just aren’t as exciting as they used to be. Maybe it’s just a downside of being an adult, but my favorite kind of gift is a monetary one. Like, want to give me a gift I’ll truly cherish? Pay for my gym membership for a month! Just kidding, but like, not really. If all you and your loved ones want for Christmas is some cheddar, listen up, because etiquette expert Elaine Swann will clue you in how to give money as a gift seeming like you put zero thought into your present, and on the flip side, how to ask for money without looking like an entitled douchecanoe.

The only time I’ve ever witnessed people asking for money instead of presents was at my brother and his wife’s wedding. Yes, you read that right. These two asked their guests to donate to a honeymoon fund instead of losing their sanity on a wedding registry. At first, I thought it was the tackiest thing I’d ever heard, but then I saw the photos of them gallivanting around the Ritz in Paris and realized they didn’t drop a damn cent on this. And that’s when I realized that asking for money in lieu of gifts is, honestly, the move.

So if you’re just looking to give cash this holiday season, Swann suggests, “Make sure you personalize this gift. Give some thought to how this person may use the money. Then, in the note, you can add in a line about something that is a hobby of theirs or something they may enjoy doing with the money.” So, for example, if you’re giving me money, tell me a little tale about a thirsty girl who’s strapped for cash and loves white wine. Cute, right?

If you’ve been raised to exhibit classiness in your day-to-day life and don’t want to stop now by asking for money, worry not because there are ways to do it without looking like Mona Lisa Saperstein.

Swann says, “Be honest! Let them know that you have your heart set on a ski trip, a spa treatment, paying off your student loans, or any other kind of experience you’re interested in. By stating this, you can encourage them to give the gift of money that can go toward this experience.” For an added bonus, she advises, “Keep it towards an experience that people can see and feel a part of when you share stories or photos through social media.” Because the only thing better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they open a gift is being publicly thanked (and tagged) on Instagram stories once they actually use your gift.

Look, if anyone is actually giving you a holiday gift, chances are they know you pretty well, so they’re not going to judge you for asking for money (they probably know you well enough to judge you for your choice in exes/Seamless orders/generally destructive life choices instead). 

If you do want money, don’t wring out your generous friends by asking for a fortune. That’s actually why putting this money towards something specific, like a trip or a facial, is the way to go, and it will actually give them an idea of how much they should give you without you having to awkwardly name a number. At the end of the day, everyone loves getting money as a present! I’ve never heard any of my rich friends who work in finance or advertising open an envelope of cash and be like, “Ugh, I wish it was bath salts!” So, if you love your friends and family, get them something they really want, like a crisp Benjamin. 

Images: NBC; Giphy (2)

A Frozen Frisbee Treat Recipe To Show Your Doggo He’s A Good Boy

Summer is a time when you and your furry friends are feeling the struggle. You want to enjoy the bitchin’ weather, but Spot or Rover may get a lil too warm/drooly/fucking rancid if he or she stays outside more than 15 minutes in 85+ degree heat. Obviously, keeping your doggo cool is right up there with chugging frozen summer dranks and making sure you look hella skinny in your bathing suit. Why not let Fido enjoy his or her own special frozen pupper treat?

Yes, you can make special frozen desserts to please your doggo on the hottest summer days. So grab a beach chair, toss your pup this treat, and relax. He should be entertained with this shit we adapted from Rover.com for at least 5 minutes.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup peanut butter
– 1 cup water
– ¼ cup flax seeds
– ¼ cup frozen sliced strawberries

Grab a silicon bundt cake pan and spray with a bit of nonstick spray. In a blender, combine the peanut butter and water. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan, then sprinkle in the flax seeds and berries.

Freeze this shit for about 2 hours or until it’s totally set. Remove from the bundt pan and throw to your doggo for minutes of fun. It depends how fast they eat it/when they ignore it/if it melts in the heat.

PSA: I Do Not F*cking Care That Your Dog Died

I’ve seen a disturbing trend on my timeline recently, and it’s not just because I only became Facebook friends with my dad a few months ago: people posting Facebook eulogies about their dead dogs. I know it’s 2017 and there are a lot more offensive things going on, especially on Facebook, than people posting about their dead dogs. But you know what? I don’t care. Call the Special Victims Unit, because this social media crime is especially heinous.

Yeah, I’m that monster who doesn’t care about your dead dog, and I don’t care who knows it. I mean, I sort of care because I’m writing from a semi-anonymous pseudonym as opposed to my real name. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m here to tell you why I don’t give a shit about your dead dog, and I’m willing to bet nobody else does either.

First I would like to say that I am not a cat person, nor am I a soulless robot who has never felt joy. On the contrary—I have had three dogs in my lifetime thus far, two of whom are now dead. So yes, I understand your pain and I know what you’re going through. But there are acceptable ways to express your grief and unacceptable ways. Uploading a photo of your deceased dog is fine. So is changing your profile picture to one of you and your late pup. Posting one—ONE—short status is also acceptable, with the key word being short. The world is certainly a darker place with one less dog in it, so it’s fine to let us know. You know what’s not fine? Posting a 1,000 word eulogy to your dog that sounds like it was actually written for a close family member, only for me to find out at the end after reading your entire essay that it was eulogizing your 17-year-old dog who’s had cancer for the last 4 years of its life. Stop it. You’re not a eugoogolizer. That shit is melodramatic. Dogs die. You knew going into it that your dog would age seven times faster than you. You can’t really be surprised.

Kim There's People That Are Dying

“Today I lost my companion, my best friend, someone who’s been there for me through thick and thin for the past 11 years” — No I’m not copying and pasting from my timeline (I’m not that savage); I’ve just read so many of these and they all start the same fucking way. Like, first of all, your dog has not actually been “there for you.” Your dog wasn’t like, giving you advice and taking you out to the bars when your ex dumped you—they were just physically present. Also, and I’m not afraid to say it, if your parents took care of the dog while you were away at college and for most of your adult life and you hardly ever even walked this dog or picked up its shit, that hardly fucking counts. Like, you didn’t even do any of the heavy lifting and now you want to reap the sympathy points? Nah. I see you. 

As if it weren’t bad enough to put more thought into your dog’s memorial than your grandma’s, where this shit really gets extra is when you have the people who just won’t fucking get over it. The people who are posting daily updates on their grief and flashback photos every chance they get. Your dog died two years ago AND you got a new puppy a week later, give it a rest, Catherine! You are allowed one sympathy post. ONE. After that, you’re just fishing for attention and it’s sad and annoying. Not to mention, where’s your new dog in all of this? Why is Fluffers being neglected because Mr. Peanutbutter (may he rest in peace) passed away two years ago? We’d all much rather see photos of your new, alive dog.

And you can tell everyone else is sick of it too because the flood of “Thinking of you!” “Sorry for your loss!” comments and likes dwindle from a solid 100 to like, just your aunt Judy and the girl in your international relations class who’s afraid you’ll botch your half of the group project without constant reassurance. Dogs are like babies: I can guarantee you that nobody else thinks your dog was as cute or friendly or lovable as you did. 

Nobody Cares

To be clear, I’m not telling you that you can’t be sad when your dog dies—just stop fucking posting about it. Honestly, just stop posting about most things. Is the common denominator me? Am I the problem? …Probably. On that note, I’ll see myself out.