If the name Walter the Dog is unfamiliar to you, the image surely won’t be. The bull terrier is famous for the front camera or staring meme, which has a closeup of his face. The dog’s image first went viral in 2018, when the owner posted a photograph with the caption “When u open the front-facing camera on accident.” Check out the image to refresh your memory.
when u open the front-facing camera on accident pic.twitter.com/xeUesJOAej
— 🐶 NELSON (@PupperNelson) September 30, 2018
Since then, you might have used Walter’s face as a meme template as well. However, like most internet celebrities, Walter has been subjected to a death rumor, sparking concern amongst netizens. Firstly, let us confirm that Walter is alive and doing well. So, how did the death rumors start?
Walter the Dog Death Rumors Explained:
Rumors about Walter’s death started circulating when a website called CelebritiesDeaths.com posted an article with pictures of a terrier suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The article gained traction, with many failing to notice that Walter’s name had been misspelled. Several netizens put up condolence posts on Twitter and Instagram while sharing this article. Many also commented on the gruesome nature of Walter’s demise.
Ultimately, Victoria Leigh, Walter’s apparent owner, slammed these rumors and put out the internet fire that had started spreading. Walter, whose real name is Nelson, has an Instagram page with an impressive fan following, despite not being a verified account. Leigh explained that the pictures of the dog, that has been doing the rounds, is not Walter or Nelson. The dog’s name is Billy and the canine passed away in February 2020, during a robbery in Philadelphia.
Victoria has put up a clear post debunking the rumor and captioned it, saying, “Hello, users of the internet. I don’t know where this image originated, but I am happy to report that Nelson is NOT dead. The injured dog in the vet photos is named Billy. He was shot protecting his owner during an armed robbery but has since made a full recovery (see second slide). Billy doesn’t deserve to be used as a hoax to spread sadness. Billy deserves great recognition for his bravery and awesomeness. If anything (god forbid) ever happens to Nelson, updates will come from his social media accounts, here and on Twitter, @.PupperNelson. Anything else you see online is just a rumor…”
She also put up a much more humorous follow-up post, which shows Walter with a sign reading that the dog is alive. Ultimately, it is bound to come as a bout of relief to netizens that the canine who inspired the viral meme is doing well. As you can see, the sign in front of Walter is dated, to quell any doubts.
In conclusion, the habit of sharing news on the internet without verifying has led to a spike in death hoaxes and other such misinformation. Walter the Dog unfortunately fell victim to one such rumor. However, Walter is alive and will continue living in our memories because he has now been immortalized within the meme culture. [Cover Image Courtesy: puppernelson/Instagram]