Animal memes, my guilty pleasure

I’m a lazy person, I don’t go out often and I don’t have many hobbies, in fact, I spend most of my time on the couch.
I browse a lot of stuff though, mainly funny memes on animals. And if you’re addicted to the memes like me, I’m sure you’ll understand sometimes the best cure for a bad day is just some good old memes, especially on dogs, like my favorite, Shiba Inu– a type of Japanese dog breed, the smallest among its six native breeds.
I used to have one too, her name was Gracie, we kept her as a little guard dog, because all the Shiba Inu were originally bred to flush birds and small game, occasionally used to hunt wild boar.
The word “Inu” comes from Japanese, meaning “dog’. But for the name “Shiba”, there are different theories of where it could possibly come from.
One is that Shiba is named after the brushwood bushes where they used to hunt, in Japanese, the word “Shiba” also means “brushwood”. But Gracie, somehow, she preferred to dig in the dirt most of the time.
Another theory is that it’s because the fiery red hair of Shiba looks exactly like the brushwood leaves in autumn. I was away from Gracie the last autumn, so I’ve never had a chance to see if her hair matches the brushwood leaves, but who knows? Maybe I could’ve lost that little thing among those leaves.
The last theory is that the archaic meaning of Shiba comes from its small size, hence Shiba Inu can also be referred to as “little brushwood dog”. Gracie was always small, despite her body size, she’s never shown fear on her face.
Most of the time, I blame my laziness on the loss of my dog, because if Gracie was still here, my life would be all about her and I’d never be interested in looking at memes on other people’s pets. And there’d be no way that I could have time to dress her up in a weirdly painful way just to get more recognition, she was cute just as herself.
Meme is my guilty pleasure.
Sometimes I wonder what I really get from memes. Is it merely a platform to create more entertainment? Or to heal someone who’s lost a pet like me?
I doubt.
In memes, sometimes the animals are dressed up in some pantyhose (#caninesinladieshosiery) or fed with some food they’re not supposed to eat, like chocolate, cake or even marijuana, in some extreme cases (#happyboy). Besides getting some laughs and “Likes”, haven’t we found anything disturbing in these crazy trends? Is it showing love and care for our pets? Is it how we should treat them?
Memes are getting more and more like a competition now, with the freedom to upload anything in any group, people would cross the line to get more attention. If a meme is getting trendy, by the end of the day, it is the owner, the creator of the meme that gets all the benefits, not the pets. What do the pets care about? Fame, followers or money?
Other memes that amuse me all the time are those on the Aussie icon — the Ibis, the butt of jokes has become the centre of the cultural spotlight, they’ve become the sanctioned target for endless jokes and spicy memes.
For the past five decades, the amount of these white Australian birds has been soaring along the east-coast as they’ve left their natural breeding area in Macquarie Marshes, north of Dubbo. More and more of these saucy kebab wrap-divers have immigrated to the cities.
However, if you have no idea what Ibis are (ergo you must be fortunate enough to not live under constant harassment of these birds), let me try some of their nicknames see if you recognise any of them — (the majestic) bin chickens, dumpster divers or tip turkeys…….sounds familiar? Or if you prefer their Latin name, Threskiornis moluccus, which literally means stork-like bird.
There’s no doubt that nowadays these Australian icons are mostly associated with their eating habits and horrendous smell. The odour carried by the vulture-like animals under their up to one meter wide wings has a special dusty trashy chickeny smell that usually comes like an unpleasant whirlwind.
I can talk about their infamous behaviours all day but most of the times, I have this question in my head: Why do they travel all the way to our city to create such a big mess?
After doing some research, it’s not hard to find out that it is us humans that are responsible for this, not them. Their colonisation of urban areas is caused by our terrible river regulation which results in drought, forcing them to abandon their home. Macquarie Marshes used to be the habitat for over 20,000 birds in the 80s, now there are only around 600 birds left in the wetland.
What makes it even worse is that before we start to raise awareness of the significant toll that our exploitation of the rivers is causing, we’ve already jumped to conclusions, judging and mocking them.
They just want some food, water and shelter.
Giving them nicknames and writing songs to talk about how much we hate them is definitely not the solution. That familiar stench smell carried by the birds doesn’t come from them, it’s from us, our neglected disposal of the rubbish.
Instead of putting so much hate on ibis and making fun of them, how about we sit back and really think about what we can do and could have done. These ‘winged rubbish rats’, wait……. I should stop right there. Maybe these birds are not to blame, it is the environment, their natural habitat that we need to improve.
The idea of using memes to mock them has turned into a mockery of ourselves…… jokes on us.

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