• Sophie Perissinotto

The influencer who killed her dog for the crime of . . . being a dog

ICYMI, Youtuber Nikki Phillippi had her dog killed last week and people are very angry about it. If, like me, you have no idea who Nikki Phillippi is - she is a lifestyle and family vlogger. She seems to have fairly wholesome content as her brand and documented how she thought she was infertile but then was able to fall pregnant. Pretty inoffensive stuff.

HOWEVER, last week she put out a video about how her and husband Dan decided to kill their dog. Throughout this article, I will not be using the terminology of “put down” or “put to sleep”, because that is associated with assisted dying as a result of extreme pain or illness; and that is not what happened in this case.

At the start of the video, Nikki says that Bowser gets very stressed and doesn’t like it when they move house, and that they are moving soon. But she wants to make it very clear that they didn’t kill their dog because he would be an inconvenience while they are moving. Sure.

Later in the video, Nikki spoke about how said dog, Bowser, had some issues with aggression. He was bitten by a larger dog when he was a puppy and some issues in socialising with other dogs. She also said that their one year old son snatched Bowser’s food bowl away while he was eating, and Bowser snapped at the boy in response. On a different occasion, their son pinched Bowser’s ear so tight that it swelled.

They also said that Bowser’s aggression had “reared its ugly head a few times over the years” and he had “seriously injured a couple different dogs”. After they had made you believe they are such saints for even giving this poor dog the time of day, they tell you how Bowser bit their son on his face. Let me just point out that they didn’t say if the son was provoking the dog. Dan admitted that the bite “wasn’t bad” and that it left a “little” mark on his face.

Source: Twitter

Some of the even more disturbing parts of the video is when Dan talks about the movie Old Yeller. If you aren’t familiar, it’s about a dog who contracts rabies and is shot by his family when he becomes rabid and dangerous. Here is the quote from Dan after Bowser bit his son “In the moment, I’m thinking — I grew up with the movie Old Yeller, and I wanted to pick Bowser up by the back of the neck, take him into the backyard, and put him down right there.”

Bowser wasn’t sick, or in pain. He was a healthy 9 year old dog.

Next disturbing part of the video - horrendous misinformation and blatant lies. The couple said they thought about rehoming Bowser, but apparently that was not possible. They said that the Humane Society told them that he could be adopted because of his aggressive behaviour, and that they would be liable for any harm caused by Bowser.

The actual truth is that if you hand over a dog to an adoption centre, or to a new owner, they sign for responsibility for the dog. In addition to this, The Humane Society of the United States told TODAY that the organisation had “no involvement with this case.”

If you still aren’t sick to your stomach by these people, before killing their dog. They had a PHOTOSHOOT WITH HIM. They had a photoshoot with Bowser before they had him killed where Nikki looks all upset and teary. They also put their son right next to the dog who was apparently too dangerous to live.

Source: Instagram

The behaviour from Nikki and Dan Phillippi is disgusting. They failed Bowser in not having compassion and patience for his fear/anger/anxiety around other dogs and training him. They failed to understand that Bowser is an animal and different evolutionary thought patterns to humans. Obviously, they failed Bowser by taking his life. They failed to understand that Bowser is a living creature and not an accessory to parade around on their Instagram. They failed to teach their son how to not hurt animals (I’m assuming this was a pattern of behaviour). They failed to understand their dog’s boundaries and triggers, and they failed to pass that on to their child.

They do not deserve the privilege of cohabiting with an animal, or having a platform on any social media. As of writing this, Nikki and Dan Phillippi have both put their Instagrams on private and I hope it stays that way.