At the start of each day, Jonathan Graziano wakes up with an important job to do. He shuffles over to his 13-year-old pug, Noodle, sleeping soundly in his comfy bed. He carefully lifts his pup up and places him in a standing position. If he remains upright, we’re in luck: It’s a bones day. It’s time to get your work done, go to the gym and finish the tasks you’ve been procrastinating. Celebrate your accomplishments by making plans and hanging out with your friends.
If Noodle softly slumps back into bed, it’s a no bones day. No bones days do not necessarily mean bad days. Graziano gives you permission to call your boss and tell them you’re not coming to work. Instead, wear soft clothes, take a bubble bath, catch up on some sleep and spend the rest of the day working on self-care. Millions of people are now using this forecast to plan out their day.
In a TikTok video posted on Oct. 26, Noodle was feeling particularly merciful. When an exhausted Graziano let go of Noodle, the pug’s legs buckled, and he crumpled back into bed. Graziano is always thrilled for a bones day, but he was overjoyed to find out that it was a no bones day. “It’s a no bones day. You know what that means: Be kind to yourself,” he said, advising Noodle fans to “bust out that heated blanket,” “build a fire” and “make sure to do something nice for yourself and have a great day.”
Graziano adopted Noodle in January 2016 when the pug was seven and a half years old. Noodle had been surrendered by his previous family before he was welcomed into Graziano’s home. “He was loved his whole life, but he just needed to find a new home,” Graziano said on The Today Show. As Noodle grows older and his fanbase grows bigger, Graziano is trying to be respectful of his dog. “His comfort and his happiness is the most important thing, more so than any TikTok video,” he explained in the Toronto Star. Graziano will continue to make content on social media as long as Noodle doesn’t mind being plucked from his bed once every day.
Senior dogs often spend the rest of their lives in shelters because many people are more interested in puppies than they are in adopting older animals. Unlike younger dogs, however, older dogs require less time, training and supervision, and many shelters even offer senior dogs at a discounted price.
“Having a dog is the best thing that I’ve done for me,” Graziano said in an interview with The New York Times. “No matter what is going on in my life or what’s going on in the world, this dog has no clue.” With Noodle by his side, he has been able to make it through the pandemic with a positive attitude. Taking care of a dog like Noodle gives Graziano the motivation to take care of himself, and he is sharing that with the rest of the world.
Noodle has amassed 3 million followers in the last 30 days alone. The hashtag #nobones has been viewed over 519 million times on TikTok, and the videos consist of Noodle’s forecasts, famous accounts reacting to his predictions and clever memes and songs for bringing attention to his account.
People love Noodle so much that Graziano created a merchandise shop with items such as hats, T-shirts, stickers, magnets and more. The merch is printed with phrases such as “Sorry, I can’t. It’s a No Bones Day” and “Treat Yourself — It’s a Bones Day!” The proceeds from the merchandise shop go to animal shelters like the one that brought Noodle into Graziano’s life.
An Inverse article by Sarah Sloat and psychologist Melanie Badali contains five reasons why the internet loves Noodle so much. “He gives us a word for a feeling,” Sloat wrote. “Noodle is helping people identify feelings, label them, and communicate them to others.” Society has equated rest and self-care with laziness and wasted time. Noodle is changing the narrative by allowing people to take a step back and be kind to themselves.
Ultimately, though, he’s cute. Scientific research shows that looking at cute animals can boost happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin, improving one’s mental health. People don’t feel so guilty about not wanting to get out of bed if there’s a cute dog who feels the same.
Many celebrities, political figures and sports teams are using bones days to their advantage. On a bones day, John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana, posted a video on TikTok advising people to get their COVID-19 vaccine. “While every day is a great day to get your vaccination, today is an extraordinarily good day,” he said. The Seattle Seahawks Twitter page treated a bones day as a portent of victory. The Colorado Avalanche hockey team was not so lucky, though, and tweeted that their loss on Oct. 19 was due to the no bones day.
The concept of a bones day and no bones day has even reached NASA’s radar. They recently posted a poll on Twitter asking whether people think Earth is a planet with bones or no bones. It was a close call, but 55.8% of Twitter voted that Earth has no bones.
— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) October 26, 2021
After the unfortunate death of the beloved senior chihuahua Pudgy, people had a pup-shaped hole in their hearts that Noodle was there to fill with joy. We now live in a world where it is incredibly easy to pick fights and insult strangers behind the safety of a phone or computer screen. In these “unprecedented times” where we’re struggling to grapple with fears of the climate crisis, widespread political division and a global pandemic, people on the internet can find a safe space with a heartwarming community built by an elderly pug and his optimistic owner.