If there’s one thing people love, it’s a misfit animal. Internet celebrity pets such as Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub, and Mr. Bubz have achieved viral fame not in spite of their various quirks and maladies but because of them. And now, we have a new contender in weird internet pets. A seemingly ancient long-haired chihuahua named “Pudgywoke” (or, Pudgy, for short) has captured viral attention for his various growling and grumbling noises and distinct “owa owa” bark. Since making his TikTok debut in early December, Pudgywoke has already amassed over six million followers.
Pudgywoke said hello to the world on December 5, when his 18-year-old human, verified TikTok user Malachy James, posted a Stitch reacting to a woman scooping macaroni and cheese from a casserole dish. The clip was intended to demonstrate the “wet” sound a good mac and cheese makes, despite the fact that it ended up having the opposite effect.
“Oh. Oh my. That shit dry as fuck, ain’t that right Pudge,” James said, before turning to Pudgywoke who responded with a noise that can best be described as a cicada crossed with a fax machine or dial-up modem.
After the original post quickly went viral—eventually gaining over 1.5 million views within a month—James posted a video attempting to explain why Pudgywoke makes such strange noises.
He recalled that when he was around five-years-old, a friend of his brother’s left Pudgywoke at their house for a few days. By the time the friend called for the dog back, James was already too attached so the family ended up keeping him. Soon after, Pudgywoke got lost for a week and even after being returned, he was never quite the same. James has a theory that possibly Pudge was hit by a car, and that’s what went “wrong” with him.
In either case, despite the “owa owa” barks and other odd vocalizations, James assured fans that Pudgywoke is otherwise just fine.
But that was just the beginning of the chihuahua’s TikTok reign. In the weeks since, James has posted dozens of videos documenting the life and times of Pudgywoke. Often he attempts to record Pudgy using his earbuds microphone, to mixed results.
“I initially meant to post the video [of Pudgywoke] on my verified account,” James recently told Yahoo’s In The Know. “I ended up posting it on my spam account unknowingly, then within minutes it started to take off.”
Well, thank goodness he did, because otherwise the world would be deprived of the magnificent creature. May we all bring Pudgywoke energy into the rest of 2021.