These days, if you check the internet, it’s littered with many bad news and many of us have been feeling lonely as we face the consequences brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s heartbreaking that at a time when we need physical connection the most, we can’t have any of it. With social distancing protocols in place, we spend our days cooped up in our homes away from our friends.
As it turns out, it’s not only us who are feeling the stress caused by isolation. This three-year-old English bulldog from Atlanta does, too. Recently, a photo of him hunched by his apartment balcony has gone viral. His mom, Rashida Ellis, snapped the picture last month and shared it on Twitter.
“Big Poppa has been so sad today, I think he miss playing with the kids in the building. He just watches them from the patio,” she wrote.
Big Poppa has always been a playful and social pooch. He loves everyone he meets, especially the kids living in his building. The dog usually plays with them when he’s outside.
“Mornings on the weekend when we walk or early evenings, there is usually a child playing in the courtyard or riding a skateboard in the garage,” Rashida told The Dodo. “He loves it, especially if they have a ball or a skateboard or on a scooter. He will try to get it and play on it but he’s too small. They usually let him attempt and also give him plenty of rubs.”
The dog always looked forward to his regular playdates with the neighborhood children. But given the current situation, he hasn’t been able to play with the kids for a long time now.
“The sad thing is we have to social-distance even him,” Rashida told BuzzFeed News. “When he’s inside, he just walks out to the patio looking for people. He’s sleeping more. He’s a little sluggish. I can tell he’s not as happy and excited as he usually is. He’s probably tired of just me playing with him.”
On the day she captured the viral photo, Rashida, a television and film costume designer, was working in the living room when she heard Big Poppa whining from the patio. When she went to check, she saw the bulldog sitting and staring longingly below.
As Rashida gave the sad pup a rub, she realized what was making him lonely. There were two brothers in the courtyard that Big Poppa usually plays with during his walks. He was trying to get their attention, but he was too far away from them to hear.
“He kept making noises to get their attention, but we’re six stories up and they can’t hear him,” Rashida said. “I was like, Oh my god, he’s really sad.”
Instead of being able to play with them, all that Big Poppa could do was watch them from his balcony.
When Rashida shared the photo on Twitter, she thought nothing of it. But when she checked the internet through her phone the following morning, she was shocked to see that Big Poppa had become an overnight internet celebrity. As of writing, his picture has garnered 829.9K likes with 94.9K retweets.
Thousands of people sent him their love and sympathized with the little guy. Even celebrities couldn’t help but feel for the pup.
Game of Thrones actor, Maisie Williams, tweeted:
When Rashida check the internet, she was overwhelmed by all the love and attention her dog is getting from people across the world. Besides the fact that Big Poppa is adorable, she believes the picture has gained such a massive audience because people could see themselves in him. If you check the internet, many similar stories will show up.
“I think when people look at that photo, we can all relate right now. We can’t do the things that we used to do, we can’t hang out with our friends,” she said. “I think it just happened to be this dog — and not only is he so sad and cute and you want everything to change for him, but you want everything to change for yourself, too, because we’re all in this situation.”
Hang in there, Big Poppa. We know how you feel; we’ll get through this together!