Goodbye, Boo! The permanently smiling Pomeranian, known Internet-wide as the “world’s cutest dog,” passed away yesterday, at the age of 12. According to a statement on Facebook from his owners, Boo died “from a broken heart,” alluding to the canine’s heart problems and his sadness. They wrote, “Boo passed away in his sleep early this morning and has left us to join his best friend, Buddy. Our family is heartbroken, but we find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. We know that Buddy was the first to greet him on the other side of that rainbow bridge, and this is likely the most excited either of them have been in a long time….Boo brought joy to people all over the world. Boo is the happiest dog I’ve ever met. He was so easy going that we never had to bother with training. He made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality…Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us… They sure had a LOT of fun.” The post has racked up more than 37,000 comments from fans touched by the animal’s adorableness. We are unlikely to see a creature like Boo again. And not just because most dogs aren’t quite so cartoon-cute; Boo was the product of a different era of the Internet, one that is quickly coming to a close.
Boo, along with Grumpy Cat, Tuna the dog, and a handful of other quirky critters, rose to popularity when Facebook was the top place to share memes, most of which were written with that white block-letter font with a black border. And while these animals may have struck up the occasional sponsorship deal with, say, a brand of kibble, the main way their owners monetized them was through image licensing and products. There were books, plush stuffed toys, novelty games, and cards. That Grumpy Cat movie. Figurines. Calendars. Boo and his compatriots didn’t sell you products, they were products.
The rise of Instagram changed that. Sure, there are still plenty of Web-famous animals: domesticated foxes, quirky birds, cute bunnies. But the influencer economy that has taken over so much of social media is all about selling you a lifestyle and an experience…and a product to go with it. If you like Boo, you like Boo. But if you like, say, Kylie Jenner, you want to be like Kylie Jenner, so you buy her lipstick, her shoes, her highlighters and bronzers. And you get your cute animal fix from The Dodo or something. Why bother buying something with an animal’s face on it? The animal is on your phone, and you spend all day looking at your phone anyway.
Someday someone (or something) will replace the Kylies of the Web, and the world will spin onward, and so it goes, nothing gold can stay. We’re not knocking the hustle or mourning the loss of memes, though, of course, it’s always sad when a doggy dies! But let’s just take a minute to remember that, for one brief, shining moment, the most famous face online wasn’t one you lusted after or one that made you feel gross by comparison; it was just a happy little puppy there to brighten your day.
Boo, you’ll be missed.
The 19 Best Gift Ideas for Fashionable Dogs and Their Chic Owners
The Foggy Dog is a San Francisco company creating well-designed pup clothes and beds. We especially love that this business donates one squeaky toy to a Bay Area animal shelter for every product purchased. So she’ll look good in her new bandana, and you’ll feel good from helping out.
Buy now: The Foggy Dog bandanna, $26, etsy.com.
Scrub-a-dub your pooch with Aesop Animal, a lux shampoo that will leave him soft and shiny. (It’s even gentle enough for dogs with sensitive skin!)
Buy now: Aesop Animal, $39, barneys.com
For the puppy who is still in her tearing-things-to-pieces phase, keep her delighted and occupied with these cotton rope bone toys.
Buy now: Harry Barker red bone toy, $12, bedbathandbeyond.com
For the poshest of dogs, Louis Vuitton’s monogram collar is the only way to go. (Get the matching leather leash while you are at it!)
Buy now: Louis Vuitton ‘Baxter’ collar, $315, louisvuitton.com.
Dogs deserve the best, and every fashion devotee worth her weight knows the best often comes in packages from the Line. The shop carries this Redecker brush, which has two types of bristles. Detangle your dog’s coat with the long bristles, and smooth or use on short-hair breeds with the small bristles.
Buy now: Redecker brush, $28, theline.com.
Pop the champagne with your pup this holiday season. Haute Diggity Dog’s plush toy is a fabulous way to get your pooch in a festive mood.
Buy now: Haute Diggity Dog toy, $16, bloomingdales.com.
Now he can match mom and dad when he has to go out in the rain. Wag Wellies, fashioned after the famous English rain boot, are sure to keep your dog’s paws dry—and are much more environmentally friendly than the disposable kind. They come in all colors of the rainbow too.
Buy now: Wag Wellies, set of 4 boots, $64, amazon.com.
Ensure there are no enormous bags of food around for your dog to break into. Harry Barker’s Bon Chien (for “good dog”) collection of bins, scoops, and treat tins will do the job, and the bins make wherever you store your pup’s meals look chic.
Buy now: Harry Barker food container, $57, chewy.com
For the minimalist-fashion dog owner, Max Bone’s clothing, bowties, and blankets are must-haves. Cozy up together in this charcoal gray cable knit blanket when the mercury drops.
Buy now: Max Bone blanket, $55, max-bone.com
Instead of getting lumps of coal for your cheeky pup who likes to make a mess when you’re away from home, try a new Furbo. This device allows dog parents to keep an eye on their pet, talk to them, and even give them a treat—all through a handy app.
Buy now: Furbo, $169, amazon.com.
For the dog lucky enough to have parents who own a house in the countryside, this Pendleton bed is a perfect for naps by a roaring fire this holiday season.
Buy now: Pendleton bed, $99, petco.com.
Bocce’s Bakery is an all-natural dog food company in New York City. All treats are baked by hand in small batches, and their seasonal flavors—peanut butter and molasses for the holidays!—are sure to please even the most discerning pup.
Buy now: Bocce’s Bakery treats, $4, target.com.
Any dog owner who appreciates the clean lines of mid-century design will fall in love with this minimalist oak-and-stainless-steel water and food bowl.
Buy now: Mungo & Maud double dog bowl, $240, mungoandmaud.com.
For the Frenchie lover, this Gucci decorative pillow will be a welcome addition to the household. Maybe just don’t let that French bulldog near it.
Buy now: Gucci Bosco and Orso needlepoint pillow, $1,650, gucci.com.
Love Thy Beast is one of the best pet stores in New York City, and for good reason. They always stock the highest quality gear and clothes for dogs without sacrificing style. This carryall has a special cutout for your pup to stick her nose out and sniff what’s going on while being toted around town.
Buy now: Love Thy Beast pet tote, $160, lovethybeast.com.
Get the VIP dog in your life a cozy jacket from the new line of cool pup gear, Very Important Puppies. They’ll stay warm in this fuzzy number all winter long.
Buy now: Very Important Puppies sherpa jacket, $202, veryimportantpuppies.dog
It’s playtime! Gift your dog a rope toy that will keep him busy for hours. Jax and Bone’s rope toys come in a variety of colors including natural, though this red marble Celtic knot toy looks particularly festive.
Buy now: Jax and Bone toy, $12, chewy.com.
If you have a small dog, they will look adorable in a brand new sweater from Love Thy Beast. This hand-knit diamond pattern sweater comes in four other colors and five sizes, perfect for your Chihuahua or Golden Doodle.
Buy now: Love Thy Beast sweater, $56, lovethybeast.com.
Only the chicest bed for your posh pup! This gray-striped comfy dog bed will match well with almost any home decor.
Buy now: Mungo & Maud bed, starting at $215, mungoandmaud.com.