News Column

Boo's Online Fans Unite

Jan 2, 2013

Dahleen Glanton

Boo

I've never considered myself to be obsessed with celebrities. In fact, I barely batted an eye when I once came within a stone's throw of Denzel Washington.

But there is one famous figure who gets me as excited as a dog waiting for a treat. That's Boo the Pomeranian.

He's the wide-eyed, round-faced, 6-year-old pup with a cropped haircut who rose to fame on the Internet. He has his own Facebook page, where he's listed as a "public figure" and has accrued more than 6 million fans.

I'm proud to say that I am among his most loyal followers. Well, actually, I'm more than just a follower. Truth be told, I'm probably closer to being a stalker.

His profile states simply: "My name is Boo. I'm a dog. Life is good."

Hardly a day goes by that I don't peruse his Facebook page to catch up with his good life.

I'm far more interested in seeing him model his latest pastel-colored hoodie than looking at any new dress from the Gap that first lady Michelle Obama might wear. I marvel at holiday photos of him and his big brother, Buddy -- in a Santa suit for Christmas or sunglasses and a hot-pink tutu on Halloween.

Boo isn't afraid to show his feminine side. He has told us in his own words: "buddy and i don't believe in gender stereotypes. we only believe in AWESOME," said a recent Facebook post.

Apparently, his honesty and gentle masculinity is a magnet for women.

Two years ago, Khloe Kardashian came across his photo on Facebook and proclaimed that she was "seriously in LOVE." His fan base skyrocketed when she posted pictures of him on her blog and dubbed him "the cutest dog on the planet."

In what quickly became a love triangle, the pop singer, Ke$ha, tweeted that Boo was "her new boyfriend."

If you have doubts about his international star power, consider this: He has two books and a third being released in May. They've been translated into 10 languages.

He's a personal friend of the crew at "Good Morning America," where he has appeared twice. Virgin America Airlines appointed him as pet ambassador. And he's a big fundraiser for a couple of his favorite charities.

Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of him. Even me.

Since my 12-year-old bichon frise, Chatham, died five years ago, I haven't had the energy to get a new dog. But for Christmas, I asked for and received a Boo plush toy.

Lisa Peterson, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Society, thinks people are drawn to Boo's doll-like characteristics that make him appear less like a dog and more like a cuddly teddy bear.

"Boo isn't an escape from reality. If anything, he lets you live in the now, and everyday worries melt away," said Peterson. "When people bond with a dog, there is nothing else in the world they think about other than sharing that unconditional love. That's what everybody is searching for in a pet, and that's what people are seeing in Boo through social media."

His real owner, whom Boo refers to as "human," tried to remain anonymous until it was revealed in the media that she's a Facebook employee. We know that Boo is a big fan of the Cubs because his "human" used to live in suburban Chicago before settling in San Francisco.

She insists that Boo is just a pet, not a publicity stunt by Facebook. She says she started cutting his thick, coarse hair after it matted and she created a Facebook page in 2008 as a joke.

Boo's fans are taking her at her word. Because when it comes to Boo, we know that everything you read isn't true.

Some of his friends fell for a prank last year in which a writer at Gizmodo tweeted that Boo had drowned in a duck pond and then re-tweeted a fake New York Times obituary.

We mourned and posted our condolences on Facebook. Anderson Cooper tried to dispel the rumor on the "Ridiculist" segment of his CNN news show. Boo's publicist at Chronicle Books went on Facebook to say it wasn't true. But we weren't satisfied until we heard from the man himself.

Later that evening, Boo posted a photo of himself dressed in his favorite pink hoodie and issued the following statement:

"hi friends! i heard the rumors, and i would like all my friends to know that i am happy and kickin'! i asked human if i could do a press conference to reassure everyone on camera, but she reminded me that i can't talk."

We took that to mean that Boo really cares about us too. If you don't happen to believe it, just take a look at his and Buddy's Thanksgiving post:

"before we eat ourselves to sleep, we'd like to say thank you to all of you who have shown two silly little pups so much love. the endless notes, messages, and emails letting us know that we help to brighten your days have made it all worth it."

And thank you, Boo, for giving us the joy of having a dog in our lives without having to pick up his poop.



Source: (c)2013 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.