Nikki Phillippi is a popular lifestyle blogger on Instagram and YouTube, where she has over a million followers. But the social media influencer drew viral scorn after she and her husband, Dan, admitted to euthanizing the family dog, Bowser, instead of trying to re-home him.
“Bowser had an aggressive side that reared it’s ugly head a few times over the years,” Nikki wrote on Instagram, explaining how the dog had nipped her young son after the boy grabbed at his food. “Recently he bit Logan,” the Nashville mom wrote, adding that “….after a lot of counsel, we decided it was time for Bowser to pass peacefully on.”
But if Nikki was looking for sympathy, she came to the wrong place. Instead, fans demanded to know why the couple euthanized their dog of 10 years when they could have rehomed him instead.
But if Nikki was looking for sympathy, she came to the wrong place. “Hold on – you kill your dog but play it off like you did him a favor?!?!?!” one angry Instagram user responded in a comment representing the Internet’s collective outrage.
“There were at least a dozen other steps you could’ve taken when you first saw aggression issues, but you jump to killing your dog bc YOU let it get to the point where your dog bit your kid? I’m glad your son is ok but just know, all of this was 100% preventable if you were a proper dog owner,” this user wrote. “Bowser, I’m so sorry this was the ending to your story.”
Others noted the couple could have even found a home for Bowser within their sprawling social media network. “Surely, With over 400 k followers could you not have shared the story prior to him being put down? And guaranteed a network of people would have rallied together to save him,” this Instagram user noted. “So very TRAGIC.”
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
Many were also disgusted by the fact that Nikki and Dan used Bowser’s untimely end as fodder for their social media channels. “The grossest part to me is the photoshoot before having the dog put down,” another user wrote. “Glad you weren’t too distraught to produce some content first!”
There’s no question that Bowser, who joined the family before kids came along, shouldn’t be living with children. But surrendering the dog — whose aggression could have also been eased through behavioral training — could have given Bowser another chance with a child-free family.
The couple attempted to explain their reasoning more fully on YouTube, but the video only threw fuel on the fire — especially when Dan compared euthanizing Bowser to the heartwrenching fate of Old Yeller.
“In the moment I’m thinking, you know, I grew up with the movie Old Yeller, and I wanted to pick Bowser up by the back of the neck and take him into the backyard and put him down right there,” Nikki’s husband, Dan, said in a tone-deaf clip that repeatedly tried and failed to justify the couple’s cruel decision.
“Who’s gonna tell ’em that in Old Yeller the dog had f*****g rabies and THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE but to put him down and that the kid DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT?” one angry netizen tweeted. “He makes it sound like this was his CHANCE to kill it.”
"I wanted to take him by the neck put him down like in Old Yeller"
who's gonna tell em that in Old Yeller the dog had fucking rabies and THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE but to put him down and that the kid DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT?
he makes it sound like this was his CHANCE to kill it.
— Pokemon Coordinator Mary (@RibottoStudios) May 5, 2021
The widespread backlash over Bowser’s fate led many people to announce they were unfollowing Nikki and Dan, who displayed a serious lack of compassion and judgment. Meanwhile, Bowser’s former owners have disabled commenting on YouTube and set Nikki’s Instagram account to private.
RIP, Bowser. What do you think about this story? What would you do?
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →