By Dawn DeBois
Five years ago, when I started blogging on the professional level, I was highly encouraged to include social media pages that corresponded with my blog. And, even though my local paper no longer supports blog content, I continue to promote my writing through social media. About a year ago, I branched my content into the world of TikTok, where I came upon an adorable geriatric pug, Noodle, and his wonderful adoptive owner, Jonathan Graziano.
I was immediately taken by Noodle's prediction of whether it would be a "bones" or "no bones" day. Jonathan would stand Noodle up in his donut bed and when he would let go, Noodle would either plop over to one side, meaning it was a "no bones" day, or Noodle would continue sitting, predicting a "bones day." The uncanny similarity to my neuromuscular disease with meds or without meds had me laughing every time. Jonathan would always end the video suggesting silly ideas about what to do depending on what kind of day it was. For instance, a "no bones" day meant soft pants, staying in bed and being good to yourself. A bones day meant buying a lottery ticket or maybe trying that new hobby you have been considering. Millions of people tuned in each day to see Noodle's prediction of what kind of day it would be. He quickly became an Internet star that brightened everyone's lives.
In the last few months, Jonathan has been sharing a bit less about Noodle. But when he did share, most of it revolved around Noodle's meds (pharmaceutical cheese balls), and sometimes he would kindly remind viewers that his No. 1 priority was making sure Noodle's old-man needs were taken care of first and foremost before any videos were taken. Everyone wanted their Noodle fix, myself included, even though I have an old snoring geriatric pug of my own. When my own pug, Rock Dog, barks his demands for whatever is cooking in the kitchen, I giggle thinking of Jonathan's TikTok videos of all the times Noodle barked at him for an entire day.
After posting a rather emotional post on Instagram recently, Jonathan's smiling face appeared on my feed, but his eyes were filled with tears. I was so confused. I heard him say: "Hi everyone, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry to have to share this, but Noodle passed yesterday." My brain couldn't process what I was seeing and hearing, so I played it again and realized the world's sweetest geriatric pug had passed away in Jonathan's arms. To say I was devastated doesn't sum it up appropriately. Although I've never met Jonathan or Noodle, we've been walking side by side caring for our sweet old men, with squishy faces who shed an inordinate amount of fur and make more and more vocal demands the older they get. All my plans that fateful day went out the window, and it became a "no bones" day instead.
When I woke up the next morning, I realized that Jonathan and Noodle did for the chronic illness community, and the world in general, what nobody has ever done before: They gave the world permission to wake up and say "It's a no bones day" when not feeling good and still in need of rest. It's OK to stay in bed where it's comfy, toasty and safe and to try again tomorrow. No further words or explanation are needed other than saying "It's a no bones day," and everyone understands.
Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing Noodle and this important self-care message with the world.