The re-homing pet debacle and what influencers owe us.

Perth lifestyle influencer Kyree Harvey has sparked debate after sharing she re-homed her family dog, Socks.

The 35-year-old was forced to release a statement to her 235,000 Instagram followers after she was bombarded by messages asking about her dog’s whereabouts.

The Aussie doodle puppy had been a permanent fixture on Harvey's Instagram account since she announced his arrival in August 2023.

At the time, she shared a video of her three, young children reacting to meeting Socks for the first time. The heartwarming moment attracted 228,000 views but has since been removed.

From the outside, Socks fit well into Harvey's life. The puppy featured in the influencer's brand deals, looking perfectly adorable. However, behind the scenes the family were struggling to look after the dog.

In a lengthy statement shared on her Instagram story, Harvey said she'd made the tough decision to re-home Socks. The dog is now living with the family who adopted one of his brothers.

Harvey admitted to feeling extremely anxious, uneasy and frightened over how people would react to the news, but felt like she owed her followers an explanation.

Kyree Harvey's statement about re-homing their family dog. Image: Instagram.


She cited the dog's size as the main reason for re-homing him.

"Even after all the endless research, we thought we were so prepared; yet we still got it wrong. We never anticipated or comprehended how big he would get. He was 35kgs with super long, standard poodle legs and growing. Even with private training at our home, his size became unmanageable for me on my own when I also had three children," Harvey said in her statement.

Harvey also detailed how the dog's safety was becoming a concern, as they couldn't stop the Aussie doodle from climbing over their fence and getting onto the road.


"There were lots of reasons for our decision, and it was a very depressing and gut wrenching decision to make… I understand there will be lots of you who disagree, don't understand, and will be disappointed. We got a dog as a lifelong commitment. We never intended this to be the decision we'd make."

"My parent's dog is still 16 years old, and I envisioned that's what we'd also have. We plan to adopt a much smaller breed that will fit into our family's lifestyle. I hope that you respect that as a family we did what’s right for us and also ensured Socks was safe and loved too," Harvey said.

Less than two weeks after sharing the news about Sock's re-homing, Harvey has been spotted with a new cocker spaniel puppy on her Instagram story. The influencer is yet to hard launch the latest pooch but followers were quick to notice the dog.

The backlash caused Harvey to release a second statement confirming she re-homed Socks four months ago. She also urged her followers to stop gossiping about her life.

"Every one of you who keeps wanting to gossip about the situation online, really needs to find a new hobby. What our family chose to do, and what we choose to do in the future has absolutely nothing to do with any of you. We make decisions for us and us only. We make decisions for our family, and I'm pretty sure you're not sitting at our dining table with us making those decisions. Your opinion doesn't come into our considerations," Harvey wrote.


"Are we really still discussing and gossiping about other women online? Like are you proud of doing that? I truly hope my daughter and sons grow up knowing that we don't gossip about another human online. That (sic) words do have an impact on someone else's mental health."

Harvey isn't the only influencer in the spotlight for re-homing her dog. Back in March, fitness influencer Christie Swadling and her fiance Joel Price announced they were re-homing their French bulldog London because they were 'rather busy.'

The couple originally purchased the puppy with the plan to breed more dogs but had since changed their plans.


US influencer Kristen Leanne also experienced backlash when she shared with her 683,000 followers that she was re-homing her golden retriever Piper earlier this year.

After receiving negative commentary she hit back at followers revealing the dog had resource guarding aggression that developed beyond her capabilities.

On her Instagram story she wrote, "It's a hard decision, but it's the right decision to find her a wonderful home rather than chance one of my children getting hurt or killed because I can't monitor Piper 24/7. That's called understanding your boundaries and making the best decision for your family, Piper and your children. A decision I stand behind 100 per cent of the time."

Entitled audiences or just human nature?

The gut wrenching decision to re-home a dog is one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. While navigating the heartache of finding a new home for her puppy, Kyree Harvey had the added pressure of sharing the news with her audience. A prospect she admitted scared her.

The lag time between re-homing Socks and sharing the news sparked conspiracy theories and an avalanche of messages demanding answers. 

It seems like Harvey’s hand was forced to make a statement, and despite her decision being in the best interest of the dog, it didn't stop her followers from playing judge and jury.


The entitlement displayed by Harvey's followers is a clear byproduct of the parasocial relationship audiences have with the influencers they follow.

We often see the same vitriol when an influencer breaks up with their partner and refuses to provide the juicy details.

The problem is para-social relationships aren't so one-sided anymore. Thanks to the evolution of social media, influencers now also have a parasocial relationship with their audience. It’s just happening in the opposite direction.

The parasocial relationship influencers have with their audience now shapes the way they act and what they choose to share. In order to compete in the now over-saturated market, influencers need to have their fingers on the pulse of what's going on within the community they've built. The inability to read the room has never held higher stakes in the online world than before.

In what is now a two-way relationship, savvy followers expect transparency in exchange to being sold to. And when that selling includes the influencers' pets, then you better believe they expect to know what happens when they go missing from their feeds.

* Kyree Harvey was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

Feature image: Instagram @misskyreeloves.

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