Chris Pratt’s weakness
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So far Chris Pratt, as a celebrity, has been bulletproof. The most controversial thing about him is that he hunts, but while some of us won’t be down with that, plenty of people are fine with hunting. In fact, in many demographics, that’s only going to make Pratt more popular. He hasn’t presented any major vulnerabilities since breaking out in 2014—he’s been happily married for years without a whiff of cheater about him, and there are no rumors of bad behavior or behind-closed-doors antics in his wake. He’s about as universally beloved as it gets. But if there is a crack in his celebrity façade it’s this—bad pet ownership.
This week TMZ posted a story about Anna Faris being called on the carpet by a rescue in Los Angeles for improperly re-homing a dog she adopted four years ago. The dog, Pete (the little brown dog pictured here), was found on the street, starving. When a vet scanned his microchip, Faris came up along with the rescue group from which she adopted him, Kinder4Rescue, who now wants $5000 since Faris violated her adoption agreement by giving Pete to a new owner—the Faris-Pratts found a “nice family home” for Pete.
So why is this Chris Pratt’s problem? Sounds like it’s his wife’s dog. Well, it reflects on him partly because it’s not like he made her adhere to the adoption agreement, and also because Pratt has also given away a pet under questionable circumstances. Several years ago Pratt gave away their elderly cat on Twitter because they wanted to start a family and didn’t want to deal with an old, incontinent cat anymore. When people on Twitter were like, “Hey man, maybe this isn’t the best plan,” he responded, “If you were a parent you would understand,” as if being a parent erases your ability to also care for animals.
Not everyone thinks of animals as part of their family, and not everyone is required to keep a pet even if you would in the same circumstances. If caring for an elderly pet with medical issues feels too overwhelming when trying to start a family, I guess some could defend that. But giving away that animal on TWITTER? Even to someone you made sure “wasn’t a weirdo”? And what about Pete? What happened to his “nice family home”?
In her apology statement issued to People, Faris says she “now understands” why you don’t pass around pets like they’re bags of sugar. (She also claims they gave away Pete because they discovered their newborn son was allergic to him—yet they still have their Pugs. That seems a little odd, that he would only be allergic to one specific animal and not like, dogs in general. One wonders if there might have been another reason.) But why does it take an animal starving on the road for Faris—or anyone—to understand that there are reasons rescues have protocols for rehoming?
The reason rescues want you to bring back animals that need to be rehomed is to ensure that something like Pete ending up starving on the side of the road doesn’t happen. Because however normal and animal-loverish the person you found on the internet seems—however normal your neighbor seems—you don’t really know. But rescues have protocols and support networks designed to make sure that animals are homed safely, and, hopefully, permanently.
But this concept seems beyond the Faris-Pratts. Twice they’ve given up pets under dodgy circumstances, and one of those times it clearly did not work out and an animal suffered as a result. Is that enough to derail the Chris Pratt Popularity Train? Probably not. But it will make some people wonder. It will generate some side-eye. And it’s the first weakness to appear on his celebrity armor.