Dog Plays Dead on Busy NYC Streets, Seeking Belly Rubs From Strangers

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Out on the streets of New York, there’s a fluffy Pomeranian who just loves to play dead. The cute dog simply throws himself down on the ground and waits for people to notice him.

Meet Leo, who loves attention and lots of belly rubs. Owner Jessica Stemple says her 28-pound (12 kg) “throwback Pomeranian” is a true entertainer, who can bring people together and make them smile.

“Leo is an eight-year-old Pomeranian and a giant one at that,” Stemple, 34, told The Epoch Times. “He is lazy. He is stubborn, he’s adorable. He’s sweet. He loves being the center of attention.

“He loves treats, and he loves making people happy on the street with his playing-dead antics.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Stempel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Stempel)

Watch Leo in action:

(Courtesy of Jessica Stempel)

It started when Stemple, who works as a textile designer, was walking her pooch home from the pet store one day. Objecting to going back home after a lovely trip out, Leo decided to lie down, refusing to budge.

“At the pet store,” Stemple said, “he gets his two favorite things, treats and attention. He so desperately didn’t want to go back home. For some reason, he realized that throwing himself on the ground would get him his way because I physically couldn’t move him.

“I was kind of in shock that he would be so bold as to physically throw himself on the ground and stay there like that. It was wild.”

Of course, being so adorable meant that people started taking notice of Leo’s comical trick, laughing and giving him unsolicited belly rubs. “He was super surprised by that. And with that combination, he started doing it all the time,” she said.

Watch the fluffy Leo seeking more belly rubs:

(Courtesy of Jessica Stempel)

The pair live in New York City and met over six years ago when Stemple was dating her ex-boyfriend, Leo’s then-owner. Leo was just a pup at the time. Over the years, Stemple formed such a strong bond with the characterful dog that there was just no way to split them up.

“I’m Leo’s owner now,” she said, “and I couldn’t be happier.”

A few months ago, Stemple met her current boyfriend, who also has a dog. One-year-old Wyatt is half Italian greyhound, a quarter Yorkie, and a quarter Chihuahua. Leo and Wyatt couldn’t be more different, in both body type and personality. Though Leo’s still getting used to a new, furry friend after eight years of being alone, says Stemple, he’s enjoying the company, for sure.

“It’s kind of a funny duo,” she said. “Wyatt is extremely agile while Leo is extremely clumsy. He’s super fast while Leo is super slow … their interactions have been pretty funny.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Stempel)

The best part about Leo playing dead on the street, Stemple says, is peoples’ reactions.

“A lot of the time they just laugh,” she said. “Some are concerned, and they ask if he needs medical attention. They’re genuinely scared.

“Others do the right thing, which is to rub and pat his belly. That’s what he loves the most.”

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