Losing a pet is one of the most mournful experiences a person goes through in their life. Our pets are more than animals who live in our homes; they’re our family, our friends, our closest cuddly confidantes.
On Christmas Eve, Lizzo said goodbye to her furry best friend, Pooka, who crossed the rainbow bridge after 18 years of living in the Grammy Award-winning singer’s care.
Lizzo shared that she’s ‘so heartbroken’ after her dog, Pooka, died, yet she used the pup’s last moments to promote her clothing brand.
In an Instagram reel posted on December 25, 2023, Lizzo sat in front of a sparkling Christmas tree, dressed in white, holding her tiny white dog on a white, fuzzy blanket.
“Merry Christmas from your CE-Ho, at Yitty, and Pooka,” she said, holding the dog in her arms.
Pooka was lethargic, her small body listless in Lizzo’s embrace. The dog didn’t perk up at the sound of her name. Her breath seemed shallow, as though she was already on her way to leaving this earthly realm.
Lizzo’s sponsored content featured a clearly sick Pooka. Lizzo’s demeanor seemed stilted, yet she carried on with her Christmas mission: Selling clothes from her shapewear brand, Yitty.
“Pooka always has on her white Pet-Me onesie from Yitty, so go and get you one and be like Pooka,” Lizzo continued.
She wished everyone a Merry Christmas, then put on her dog voice to say, “Happy Holidays” from Pooka, lifting the pup’s limp paw up to wave.
That same day, Lizzo made a second post, commemorating Pooka’s life and announcing her death.
“We will always love you, Pooka Diamanté Jefferson,” read the caption, alongside a professionally shot photo of Lizzo, her mom, her sister, and Pooka.
Lizzo made a third post on Christmas Day, a series of photos of herself and Pooka through the 18 years they shared.
“I’m not okay,” Lizzo wrote. “I’m so heartbroken. RIP Pooka.”
Mourning a death, even the death of a pet, has no timeline. It isn’t a linear process. Some days feel fine, others, the heartwrenching weight is too much to carry.
In a fourth post, Lizzo shared, “I have cried so much every day. I miss you Pooka. So so much. Thank you for almost 20 years of love.”
Some of Lizzo’s followers noted a sharp dissonance between her rightfully expressed sadness and the fact that she propped up an unwell, dying dog to market her brand.
Certain comments made light of the situation, wondering if Pooka was alive during the filming.
Yet as one person noted, “This woman is hurting so bad… The poor baby is clearly not doing well; she probably recorded this last night in fear her little one wouldn’t make it.”
“Whether the dog is alive or not, you can tell he’s not really there,” another person wrote. “Please consider taking this post down. It’s giving valuing consumerism over life. ‘my dog is dying but he wants y’all to buy some Yitty.’ You’re better than this weird flex.”
No matter what people’s opinion of Lizzo is, she deserves grace in this moment of transition, as a creature she lived with and loved is no longer here. She should take the time she needs to process Pooka’s loss, and if that means posting pictures to Instagram, she should take up that space.
Existing within mourning sometimes means we behave in strange ways, like using a dog that’s barely alive to promote a shapewear brand in the spirit of Christmas. Yet Lizzo’s grief is clearly deeply rooted, and her sense of loss is entirely valid and very real, no matter how she shows it.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.