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Oct. 7 marked Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s 65th birthday. But Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the president of Turkmenistan, gave Putin a late birthday gift on Wednesday during a meeting in Sochi: a puppy named Verny.
Putin seemed oddly happy about the gift.
This isn’t the first puppy that Putin has received as a gift. In 2010 he was given a Karakachan puppy, which he named Buffy, from the Bulgarian prime minister. Putin also has an Akita dog named Yume. It seems that Putin has a soft spot for dogs.
But the handoff of the new puppy was super weird. Why is Berdymukhamedov holding the animal like it’s covered in dirt? Yes, it’s normal to pick up a small puppy by the scuff of its neck. But this was a photographed event. It was an awkward and weird way to present the puppy to Putin.
Putin got a puppy for his birthday and the handoff was totally normal pic.twitter.com/lwNPaIA38i— Ryan Perry (@rynprry) October 11, 2017
did he need to hold it aloft like Ned Stark's head?— Peaoui (@Peaoui_UK) October 11, 2017
Putin handled the puppy with more care. He cradled it in his arms and kissed it before letting it walk around. Some people thought Putin’s reaction to the puppy made the Russian leader appear more tender.
Seeing Putin get a puppy for his birthday almost makes him seem human.— ✏ Isaac ✏ (@Isaac061300) October 11, 2017
I like the "kiss" he gave the puppy. That was awesome, to see a sensitive side of Putin.— TTDINK50 (@ttdink50) October 11, 2017
Other people were worried about the puppy’s safety.
Narrator: He ate the puppy https://t.co/2aDKpf7kZ0— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) October 11, 2017
The whole scene was an easy set-up for jokes about the relationship between Putin and President Donald Trump.
What a wasteful gift. Putin actually doesn't need another puppy. He already has a lap dog. It's called Donald Trump— Brandon Horan (@brandon_r_horan) October 11, 2017
Wonder why Putin got another puppy, he already has a lapdog named Donald. https://t.co/hcfrrFyRmc— Emily Brandwin (@CIAspygirl) October 11, 2017
Verny is an albai pup by the way, a shepherd dog native to Turkmenistan.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.