“Gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu, gâu,” Moca barks approvingly. Although he has a devoted fan base, he’s never really been interviewed before. None of these dogs have. And Moca seems especially excited.
Đọc bài viết bằng tiếng Việt
In the incessant news cycle covering the impact of the pandemic on the planet’s human population, rarely has the experience of dogs been covered. So, we reached out to Moca and three of the country’s other favorite canines to find out what lockdown was really like for dogs.
“I don’t like wearing pants,” the husky offers abruptly. His owner, Dat – who usually appears in his videos too – likes to dress Moca up or wrap a curtain like a shawl around his deadpan-faced dog with his piercing blue eyes. “I do like wearing the curtain a lot more,” Moca admits.
During lockdown, Moca, who’s as typically active and energetic as other huskies, had been eating and sleeping more than ever. He missed his daily walks. “I couldn’t wait to go out again to chow down on a nice chicken thigh – my favorite,” he says licking his lips at the thought.
“I call him ‘Dad’ but he’s not my real dad,” Dua Hau begins about his owner, illustrious foodie and content creator, Ninh Tito.
Beagles have been shown to suffer separation anxiety during time apart from their owners. And Ninh Tito is usually out every day shooting his Vlogs. So lockdown suited two-year-old Dua Hau, Ninh Tito’s floppy-eared beagle, just fine. They finally got to spend lots of time together.
Her name means watermelon in English. “I like the name watermelon,” the beagle nods, “I guess it means Dad loves me as much as his favorite fruit. I really respect the way he’s raised me, it’s not like other dogs at all,” the beagle adds. “OK,” she says, suddenly looking serious, “Although he’s not my real dad, it feels like he is. Even when he’s busy, he never forgets to bring me gifts home…”
We wonder if Dua Hau likes all the pictures Ninh Tito posts of her. “No way,” she shakes her head. “I hate this one of me in this dress. Look at my face! I look so uncomfortable. Why do people assume girls automatically love fussy pink dresses? Me and Dad had a serious talk about this after it went online, and he’s promised to never make me wear anything like this again. I just want to be myself and not conform to traditional expectations of what I should wear or how I should behave.”
“I don’t dislike all my photos. I really love this one, for example. I think my expression says it all. Sometimes people say I look like Dad. I really like to hear that. And it doesn’t matter to me that I don’t look especially pretty in this photo. It shows my feelings, and that’s enough.”
Well. It’s mostly fine for Dua Hau. Occasionally frustration crept in. “I used to spend time going to the park, or enjoying staycations in pet hotels with my friends. My dad would take me for a walk every night, or we’d have some nice food. We had to stay home, which made me quite stressed.”
“We are quite active animals, so we need to burn our energy, every single day. But we couldn’t do much those days because of the pandemic,” Dua Hau explains. Admirably, she kept control…unlike many of her friends. “I know for a fact that some of them went on the rampage and destroyed stuff around their house, became depressed, or picked up bad habits…”
Lockdown can’t have been plain sailing for Crumpet either. “The confinement was our worst nightmare,” Crumpet begins all uppity. Ben Nguyen and Mitch Goddard’s corgi has high self-esteem and high energy. “By the way, I’m Ms. Crumpet of Buttercreamshire,” she finally introduces herself regally – corgis are the Queen of England’s canine of choice, after all.
Like any princess, she knows how to manipulate her parents. “I have this puppy-eyes trick,” she confesses. “Even though one acts like a good cop and the other a bad cop most of the time, this trick usually renders them both completely helpless.”
She used to be addicted to her daily walks, until the pandemic returned with a vengeance. “I do confess to being a little hyperactive like most corgis,” she admits unapologetically, “I used to love my daily walks surveying my empire, but during lockdown it was a potty break at most!”
Like a true regent, she does care about her subjects. “My daddies told me so many dogs were left alone and even worse starving during those difficult times,” she shakes her head sadly.
We quickly change the subject to her favorite…and least favorite photos. We might have guessed her answers. “Well,” she begins, “my favorite photo is one where I’m all dressed up for Christmas. And that’s because I felt like the princess in the movie, Frozen.”
She really doesn’t like ones that make her look bad. “There’s one I’m not going to share,” she interrupts, “it’s a video with my eyes half-closed, not very ladylike at all.”
Butter the chow chow is Crumpet’s long-suffering housemate. “Just call me Butter,” she insists, “even though I get called all kinds of names around here – Butt-Butt or even Butt Face!” She’d like to get out of here one day. “Imagine, being a simple street dog with no name at all,” she sighs wistfully.
During lockdown, she especially missed the walks when she could break free for a moment and leave her past behind. “It really sucked,” she shakes her head. “Even having that feeling of freedom for just second or two makes me feel alive…”
Things were worse cohabiting with a corgi. “Well, she’s so random and annoying, always bothering me, barging into me…” Plus, there was the pressure of more parental attention and expectations. “They were always around those days too, and that meant I had to pretend to be more active just to please them. Before, when they were busier, I could catch sweet, serene naps all day or go hideout on the balcony and bake in the warm sun,” she adds.
“What do I want to do now all this is over?” Butter asks. “Make some new friends…”
Translation by Bao Ngoc Ly. Photographs courtesy of the dogs.