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).
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.
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