Photo: Sally Anscombe (Getty Images)

Some writers just want to watch the world burn. Case in point: The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Chris Reed, a reporter who woke up one day, drafted an article detailing the many arguments for considering dogs—y’know, the species we’ve collectively agreed is our best friend—parasites, and then went ahead with publication knowing what fate must await this kind of material.

Behold the tweet publicizing Reed’s piece:

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Listen: there is validity to what Reed wrote. The article itself is not inherently inflammatory. It’s a summary of the amount of money and emotional energy we invest into wonderful, doe-eyed pups that could very likely have evolved to exploit humanity’s “near-compulsive anthropomorphism—our habit of attributing human behaviors, emotions or intentions to nonhuman entities.” Along this line, Reed details books and articles that argue for an interpretation of dog behavior, from cringing when scolded to enthusiastically greeting us at the door, as essentially parasitic. Though he mentions, too, that “instead of overthinking why people love their dogs, maybe we should just accept that they do,” the internet was not sated.

As hinted at by the article tweet’s ratio (a Twitter controversy barometer that compares how low the number of “likes” and retweets is when held up against replies), Reed was really stirring the puppy’s nest by kicking off this ultimately innocuous discussion. Some replies are level-headed counterarguments of the kind that always short-circuit familiar attempts to, like, blow your fucking mind, man by pointing out that pets don’t “love you,” they just want food and shelter:

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Others present the most immediate conspiracy theory palatable to a bipartisan audience:

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And there’s, of course, no way out of this without reading “pupper” or “doggo” along the way:

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Best, though, are those who have replied to the article not with malice, but with a reminder that, parasite or not, dogs are really great and adorable and can enrich human lives with their very presence. Please, enjoy some nice dogs: 

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Even though the article has generated the expected shit storm, responses featuring pictures of delightful dogs and adoption information are a net positive. As we all know, one of the only things keeping the internet from sliding into utter darkness is the steady stream of cute animal material uploaded to it each day. Calling dogs parasites may be an unorthodox way to make this happen, but, well, you can’t argue with results.

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