Photo: AP

In photographs, Marnie the Dog looks dead. Sources who have met her say she “smells like death.” So, is Marnie the Dog...dead? “I heard that Marnie was originally named ‘Stinky’ before she was adopted,” a source said. (This is true.) “She still smells really bad.” Maybe because she’s dead—and rotting.

“Marnie looks dead when she sits still,” another source told Gawker. “It’s very unnerving.” Something that would explain that: She is dead and has been stuffed, making her look like she is a little bit alive. “I met Marnie in a club—at a comedy show?” one fan recalled. “It was like, ‘Why is that dead dog in here?’” Why not? She is (was?) very funny:

Part of what makes Marnie look dead is that her face is all kinds of fucked up. It’s not her fault! She briefly suffered from something called Vestibular Syndrome, which is like a stroke. Also her tongue is just very long. An unfortunate confluence of events for Marnie—though not so unfortunate for Marnie’s owners, who have turned this stinky little pup in an Internet behemoth.

Marnie isn’t the only famous pet whose brand is inextricably linked with some kind of physical disability or disfigurement: Grumpy Cat’s unique appearance is the result of feline dwarfism and an underbite; meanwhile, Lil Bub also has dwarfism, as well as an underdeveloped jaw and no teeth. Possibly osteoporosis as well. (Also: Did you know that Grumpy Cat’s old name was “Tard?” Can’t imagine why they stopped using that one.)

Anyway. Pets aren’t brands! When an animal comes into your care you become the steward of another living thing, responsible for its health and well-being. You should not commodify your cat—especially if it’s got a fucked up face.

I follow several pet accounts on Instagram. They enliven my day, when I am at work, and missing my own cat. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s good. This, however, is bad:

Staring into those beady little eyes for long enough and one begins to wobble, tipping forward off one’s chair and towards the computer screen, towards the vast, sucking maw of the social web, the air filled with the sickly sweet scent of shareable content. They brought the dog to a demonstration in support of the victims of the Pulse shooting and their families. “Don’t shoot gay ppl,” Marnie’s Twitter account said. “This needs 2 stop,” was her comment on police shootings. What is the point of doing this??? Why?????????

Ugh. Anyway. Is Marnie the Dog actually dead? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. Does she make me want to be dead? Yes.

Update – 4:45 pm