Why Do We Take So Many Photos of Our Pets Sleeping? · The Wildest

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OK, It’s a Little Creepy How I Paparazzi Stalk My Sleeping Dog

Finn’s asleep...and I have 898,798 photos to prove it.

by Maggie Lange
February 10, 2022
A cute Basset Hound Puppy curled up on the couch
Jeff Wasserman / Stocksy
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The first day my friend got his kitten, Sasha — a ball made of dove-gray frizz and paws — he sent me a picture of her asleep in the crook of his shoulder and neck. Two weeks later, his iCloud storage was at capacity. “It’s gone. It ran out, because all I have is countless hours of footage of Sasha asleep.” 

Meanwhile, my phone was so bursting with media of my brindle-boy hound, Finn, fast asleep in various locales that I hadn’t considered iCloud availability since 2018. Whenever anyone asks to see a photo of Finn, it takes me minutes (fun) to find an image of him where he isn’t asleep with his face squished like a tomato splat on a pillow. 99% of the videos are him twitchy-sleeping with eyelids aflutter and paws a-running to nowhere. 

To have a pet is to be a documentarian of their restful stages. I have photos of Finn sleeping in the car (angry nap); Finn sleeping on my shins (active nap); Finn sleeping on my pillow (illegal). I have footage of Finn sleeping on a denim couch at a friend’s ex’s apartment and passed out on the rickety wooden deck on the roof of a summer house. I have him on carpets of various styles (shag, faux vintage, glam girl, hand woven). And in each video, the setting changes, but the content doesn’t — or barely. He’s fast asleep. Sometimes he snores, sometimes he half-barks, but it’s pretty slow and consistent content. 

All day it seems, I’m lurking around as he’s completely unaware of my paparazzi stalking. It’s — there are no other words for it — a little creepy. Often, as I’m recording, the modified lyrics to a Cardi B song will come into my head: “Certified creep, seven days a week.”  

Another friend, who has an archive of Ella, her dozy big-breed mix, asleep everywhere says this is the only time her dog doesn’t look grumpy about posing. “She doesn’t like the phone so she always turns her big head away whenever I try to take pictures.” Problem solved when Ella’s asleep. And while this may not be true in Ella’s case, I imagine that “at rest” is the only time puppies or rambunctious dogs are still enough to take a non-blurry picture. 

I wonder if this impulse to take pictures of Finn is always there, and it’s just superseded by the instinct to interact and play with him when he’s awake. When he’s asleep, my love can’t manifest in goofing around or scratches — only manifest in portraiture.

Do I re-watch this footage? Almost never. My partner told me they have one video bookmarked, and (if you’re us) it’s phenomenal to watch: Finn passed out, tongue a-flapping in the breeze, my best friend’s voice booming in the background, trying to get everyone to pay attention to rules of a party game. You may ask be asking yourself, “Were they filming during a party?” Apparently. I am nothing if not a committed videographer.

maggie lange

Maggie Lange

Maggie Lange is a writer, editor, and columnist. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, Vice, Guernica, GQ, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Elle, and Bon Appetit. She lives in Philadelphia with her favorite brindle boy, Finn.

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