Nothing compares to having a dog, to feeling its unconditional love every time it looks at you. That being said, I understand if you aren’t crazy about them. Maybe you have allergies, maybe you just really like cats, I don’t know. What I don’t understand, however, is someone belittling these animals. Nor does French artist Lucille aka Notidee.
Last week, she tweeted a comic titled “It’s just a dog”, addressing everyone who might say that about her pup, Neos. The sincere strip not only describes Notidee’s dog and its personality but also perfectly captures their beautiful bond.
The comic instantly went viral and, as of this article, has over 170K likes and 48K retweets. Let’s hope it reaches those who it’s directed at as well.
Notidee is an independent illustrator from Strasbourg, France. She has worked alongside animals all my life, but her job as a wildlife mediator/illustrator for the French equivalent of Birdlife was the spark that got her into becoming a full-time artist. “I work on many fronts artistically speaking, and am currently putting most of my energy into an upcoming visual novel called [Kernel],” she told Bored Panda.
“Neos is a five years old Japanese Spitz who single-handedly shattered my world when he got here,” Notidee said. “He came to me at three months old [with health and reactivity issues], forcing me to relearn everything I thought I knew about dogs from the ground up.”
According to the American Kennel Club, reactivity is an overreaction to certain stimuli or situations and is commonly confused with aggression. Reactivity is an overreaction to external stimuli. A common display of it is barking and lunging. Dogs may be reactive to people, animals, other dogs, noises, movement, or any combination of the above. Essentially, it is a reaction to something external that is upsetting to the dog. Genetics, lack of socialization, insufficient training to learn self-control, a frightening experience, or a combination of these can cause reactivity, and fear is typically the driving force.
Is there a cure for reactivity? Janet Finlay, the owner, trainer, and coach at Canine Confidence, says this is the wrong question. Reacting to the environment, according to her, is not a disease to be cured but a normal and essential survival mechanism. We all react when we feel under threat. We may fight, flee, freeze or try to bluff our way out of it, but we react. The same is true for our dogs. Reacting to a threat is normal and does not need fixing. What is needed is to teach our dogs that those everyday things are not a threat to them.
“Reactivity and resource guarding can put both owner and pet in danger if worked on without the help of a professional behaviorist,” Notidee said. „When working on reactivity, we usually focus on applied behavior analysis which, to make it really short and simple, is about giving choice to our dogs while desensitizing them progressively, without ever triggering a reaction (thus never needing any command, we prioritize fun games for the dog that we use to avoid triggers when we meet them outside).”
“I started studying animal behavior (medical training and behavior analysis and modification in particular) to improve his quality of life and give him the ability to make choices whenever possible,” Notidee explained. “He is now a healthy, well-adjusted pup. As for me, I’ve discovered another field I’m deeply passionate in alongside art.”
Notidee said the attention her comic has received was overwhelming. “I have been flooded with messages from pet owners around the world telling me about the animals they share their lives with and how this comic conveyed the way they felt about their dogs, cats, birds, and other critters.”
Image credits: @Notideeart
Image credits: Notideeart
“Dedicated pet owners, and in particular those tending for the needs of reactive or more fragile animals, will usually puzzle their entourage by the amount of work, money and time they will put into making life a little easier for their pets,” Notidee said. “I had the hope that this comic could help build a bridge between Neos and I, and the people around us who struggle to understand us, but didn’t think the message would resonate with so many.”
Here’s how people reacted to the heartwarming comic
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