of cats, vets and smelly people. “Ever since she was a puppy, Ego preferred chewing on Dostoevsky, Kerouac or Tolkien over other books,” says photographer Natasha Hemrajani, Ego’s owner and friend. Impressed with their furry companion’s intellectual leanings (and other quirks), the Hemrajanis did what a good number of the wired generation are now doing. They set up a Facebook page for their pet.
Ego’s page has pictures of her contemplating food, the weather and feminism. Her status updates reference popular songs: “Today I am listening to The Stranglers, Golden Brown. I think I must have been the inspiration behind it!” And she has several friends online – not bad for a four-legged being.
Twist in the Tail
“If humans can have Facebook profiles, pets should too,” believes Pratha Narang, who created a page for Buddy, her cocker spaniel. Buddy Narang’s online stats reveal that he is in a relationship, has over 100 friends and loves Farmville. When he isn’t chasing birds off the balcony, Buddy even wishes those on his list for their birthdays. He sends out a “Woof woof” or sloppy kisses.
“Sometimes Buddy gets random messages from strangers wanting to make friends,” says Narang. But it’s not something that gets his whiskers in a twist. Ajesh Shah’s ginger tabby, Munku, whose Facebook page is public, purrs through all the adulation and camera-flashing that comes his way. “Cats are very popular online, so we thought it would be cool to put Munku on the web too,” Shah explains. Any update from him – a cat video here or a message condemning illegal animal trade there – sends Facebook followers hitting Like and Share. But Munku is immune to his online clout. His Facebook pictures depict him stretching by the window and gazing at the sky. Like many human celebrities, Munku comes from humble beginnings. He was found near a dustbin when he was only three days old. Rescued, he recovered admirably and has even accompanied Shah on trips around the world. “Once, a famous photographer approached us to take experimental shots of Munku which were displayed at an art gallery,” Shah boasts.
Lending a Helping Paw
Managing a social network account may seem like an additional responsibility to keeping a pet. But the humans don’t seem to think so. “I love seeing the world through Ego’s eyes,” says Hemrajani. And it helps other animals too – an appeal on Ego’s page once helped a stray kitten find a home. People in awe of Munku and her travels often message Shah asking him for advice on travelling with animals.
World Famous animals
Facebook hasn’t been too happy with the virtual paw prints all over their network – they’re wary of fake accounts and spamming – but pets are allowed to have public pages. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg’s dog, Beast, has one too.
Pets are on Twitter too
Bono tweets about life and his owners
As kids, Shakti Salgaokar and her sister always wanted a pup. “Years later, I found a stray up for adoption, but by then my sister had settled abroad,” says Salgaokar. She adopted the mutt anyway, and named him Bono. “My sister was peeved so I had to keep her in the loop about Bono’s first teeth, first bark, first time playing in the garden and the like,” she says. Her solution: the Twitter handle @Bonobarks to tweet about his funny owners and how he’s “happy being a recluse because he hates socialising with other dogs in real life,” says Salgaokar.