Montreal dog goes viral dispensing humorous advice on surviving social isolation
MONTREAL -- She’s a 13-year-old schnauzer who snores, likes fish-sticks and finding treats around sewers, and she has become the source of comfort to hundreds of thousands of “two-leggers.”
Her loyal fans look forward to her daily dispatches on how to deal with being cooped-up and socially isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pluto is a talking dog. Actually, she is a series of photos and videos of a Montreal dog whose “Mommy” NJ Wight began making her talk through simple software about two years ago.
What began as an inside joke for friends - has now exploded into an “internets” sensation as Pluto calls it. Videos have gone viral with hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her YouTube channel 'Pluto Living.'
“Someone who was a Facebook friend asked me to make her public and I put up a video and then took it down, but then someone asked again so I made a public one on my Facebook account and the next morning I had 400 new follow requests in my personal inbox. I knew then I had to make Pluto her own page,” said Wight who is a wildlife photographer when she’s not creating her ‘Pluto Service Announcements’.
“It’s been mind-boggling,” said Wight. “She passed my wildlife photography page in followers in 17 minutes. I am now known as the ‘unrenowned wildlife photographer’, which is my real passion.”
She is not the least bit upset about it.
Pluto’s helium-voiced daily advice includes everything from keeping your distance and washing your hands to “putting on your button pants” every now and then (to see if you can still get them on) and that you should only go out for essentials and “stick-on nails, blueberry pop-tarts and handcuffs are not essentials.”
She is more than just cute, furry comic relief to those of us stressed-out and stuck at home. She’s relieving tension for those on the front lines who are among her loyal followers.
“I’ve received messages many from health-care professionals who write to her. Sometimes I just post video of her snoring and doing her ‘snoring meditations’ and I had one ICU nurse write one morning and say: ‘Pluto! Wake up! We’re waiting to hear from you!’ I also had a hearing impaired person tell me they were trying to read my dogs’ lips.”
With well over 200,000 followers and counting since mid-March when the COVID-19
pandemic began to really hit Canada - Pluto’s daily words of wisdom are being heard around the world.
She is a pooch with international reach and there have been some nibbles of interest in sponsoring this latest social media influencer.
But Wight says that is not why she was created her talking dog, although she and her partner did recently decide to create an online store of Pluto merch such as key chains, coffee cups and tote bags on Zazzle just for fun.
Wight- who is a multi-media professional and comedian said: “It really has brought together multiple parts of my life – at a real moment in time. I’m humbled by it.”
As for Pluto, her life is pretty much the same it always was except her “Mommy spends a lot more time at the letter-board” answering people’s emails and messages (all of which she tries to read and answer but has had to auto-reply to out of necessity.”
Once when Pluto’s eye was twitching in her daily message because of a bug in the software someone asked Wight “if Pluto was having a stroke.” Wight had to tell them that she was ok and would fix the bug later, adding her little schnauzer’s health and ego have not changed.
“She’s just an old girl who spends lot of time eating and having her snoring meditations,” said Wight.
That, and helping many of us get through each and every day.