NEW YORK – Noodle, a pug who entertained and motivated TikTok viewers for more than a year with the simple act of rising from or collapsing into his dog bed, died last Friday, his owner said. He was 14.
On TikTok, the dog was viewed as a sort of mood ring: If Noodle stood up for a few seconds upon waking up, it was a “bones day”, which meant good things were ahead or that it was a time to be ambitious.
It was a “no bones day” when he plopped back onto his bed – not necessarily a bad day, but more of a slow, low-key day, his owner, Mr Jonathan Graziano, told The New York Times last year. Noodle, who had 4.5 million followers on TikTok, would at times “crumple with ennui”, Mr Graziano said.
Noodle became a TikTok star and audiences took his gentle guidance as encouragement. Celebrities, sports teams, companies and politicians made announcements with playful references to whether it was a bones or no bones day.
“It was the privilege of my life to care for him for as long as I could,” Mr Graziano said last Saturday.
He adopted Noodle when he was about seven years old. In a TikTok video on Saturday announcing Noodle’s death, he said: “What a run.”
Noodle’s videos were seen as a safe space on an otherwise contentious Internet during the pandemic and a time of political divisiveness.
“I think people are just hanging on by a thread,” Mr Graziano said in 2021. “I think people are tired. I think they’re scared. I think they’re stressed out, and I think they really need a distraction.”
He wrote a picture book, Noodle And The No Bones Day, detailing the pug’s desire, or lack thereof, to get out of bed.
“Noodle is a sweet, silly old pug who enjoys doing all his favourite activities with his favourite human, Jonathan,” the book’s description says. “But one day when Jonathan goes to take Noodle on his morning walk, he finds Noodle still comfortable in bed. When Jonathan lifts Noodle up, Noodle just flops over. It’s almost like Noodle woke up without any bones.”
Noodle died in Mr Graziano’s home, he said.
“It’s a day that I always knew was coming,” he said, “but never thought would arrive.”
In the video, he encouraged viewers to celebrate Noodle’s life and feed their dogs a cheese ball in his honour. – NYTIMES