But I digress, though I will continue that digression later, and maybe in an upcoming post.
Dan And Nikki Phillippi are “YouTubers,” meaning that have monetized successive facile and smarmy videos via Instagram and have made a million dollars out of it. Read about them here: if you see anything that suggests to you an IQ over 110 or any special expertise or wisdom, let me know. Nikki’s YouTube bio reads, “WELL HELLO! My name is Nikki. I used to make videos growing up just to show them to my family…now I make them and upload them to YouTube. HAHA I love all things girly, acting, singing, dancing AND helping people be the best they can be! I hope you feel inspired and happy when you watch my videos and I invite you to join me on my weird and crazy journey through life! LOL”
As far as I’m concerned, ending a bio with “LOL” is signature significance for someone I wouldn’t allow to influence me to come in out of the rain.
Dan and Nikki just put down their dog, a nine-year-old Bull terrier named Bowser, recently, and, since this is how they live, they monetized it with a video. [ Full disclosure: There’s a fair chance that our rescue dog Spuds is part Bull Terrier] They had previously been “sharing” about their new baby, Logan, now 1. The baby apparently grabbed at some of Bowser’s food, and the dog nipped him. Logan was not badly hurt, but they killed the dog anyway.
Bowser had apparently had a few aggressive incidents in the past, but that’s irrelevant: anyone who allows a baby or toddler to be in close proximity with their dog (or any dog) is 100% responsible if there is an episode like this. Moreover, any dog might react badly when a child tries to take away its food. In fact, you must not allow children and dogs to have food near each other.
In fact, I might react badly if a child tries to take away MY food…
I will never forget being across a table at a cast party where a guest’s toddler was reaching for food at a buffet table. The host’s Husky was right next to little girl, watching the food and eying her, and just as I started to warn the parent, the dog suddenly chomped down on the kid’s face as she put a cookie into her mouth. There was blood everywhere. The owner of the dog said that the pet had never bitten anyone, ever. I believed her, but the dog, the food and the child should not have been in the same place. Guess who paid the price.
This was not the dog’s fault, and Bowser probably wasn’t at fault either. Ann Althouse, a dog enthusiast, wrote today, “I just wanted to say that this couple did the right thing in putting the dog down.” I don’t know how she can say that. The incident was their fault, not the dog’s. Since no dog should be put in the position Bowser was, it was their obligation to make sure he was never put in that situation again, that’s all, and that their son was always supervised in interacting with the dog going forward. Their attitude, clearly, was “better be safe than sorry.” If that was their thinking, then they should have “re-homed” Bowser before the baby arrived. There is always a risk. Do these “social influencers” bother to check the web that is their livelihood? The warnings about dogs and babies are everywhere.
I have sad experience with this issue. When my son was 8, his beloved Bassett Hound, Chief, attacked him for no reason at all. In his year with us, Chief had had some strange episodes when he became disoriented and clamped down on my arm or my wife’s—his eyes rolled back in his head, and it was clearly some kind of fit. He loved Grant, and we never imagined this would happen with my son. But it did: Chief woke up when Grant sat down next to him on the sofa, and went after him. It was our first Jack Russell Terrier, Dickens, who saved the day, bounding into the room, leaping on Chief’s back like Rin Tin Tin and fighting the larger dog off my son. Then Chief snapped out of it; it was like he didn’t know what had happened. I took him out to the back yard, where he leaned against me and wimpered for a long time. Then I started crying. I have never seen an animal so clearly trying to say, “I’m sorry!” I’m getting upset now as I write this…
We had to put him down; the vet confirmed that the breed occasionally has this strange problem, and when one does, nothing can be done.
But that wasn’t what happened with Bowser, who sounds like a typical high-spirited Bull Terrier. As is the case so often, the dog had to die because the owners were irresponsible.
There is a silver lining here: the episode may have pulled the metaphorical wool from over the eyes of the fools who looked to this couple for “life tips.” Several have commented on how the Phillippi’s first instinct after putting down their dog was to get a video up to profit from it, and social media—Live by social media, die by social media!—is flaming these “influencers.”
“Social influencers” are one of the more horrible unforeseen consequences of the video age, cynical, venal, mostly shallow people who exploit the insecurity and vulnerability of the lower end of the intelligence and competence spectrum to wield power they neither deserve nor can handle responsibly, while becoming rich in the process.
And sometimes, they get their dogs killed.