After a while, some pets and their owners can start to look alike. In Russell Jones’ case, pets and owners can start to act similarly as well. When Jones had to use crutches after he broke his ankle, he noticed something was wrong with his Lurcher named Billy. On walks, the dog started to limp.
In a video Jones posted in the Facebook group “Lurcher Link Rescue chat,” he is seen wearing his cast and walking down a sidewalk testing out his crutches. Billy walks right alongside his owner with his front paw lifted off the ground. The family rightfully assumed their beloved furry friend was injured and took him to the vet. They paid nearly $400 for two vet visits, paw and leg x-rays, and painkillers, hoping to get to the root of the problem. Sadly, vets could not figure out what was wrong with their beloved pet and told the family there was nothing they could do.
When the Joneses came home from the vet’s office, Billy went into the garden to play. Magically, his limp disappeared and he started running around. As Jones says in his Facebook post, there was “nothing wrong.” It seems Billy was just sympathetically copying his injured owner.
Quickly, the charming yet hilarious video went viral. Billy’s acting chops amassed over 42,000 reactions and more than 58,000 shares on Facebook and was played on news stations around the world. Many viewers replied with funny stories recounting similar situations with their pets. One commenter detailed a time they suspected their pet Oscar’s tail was broken: “Wouldn’t let me touch it, wouldn’t sit on [it], [it] clearly was aggravating him.” The commenter revealed as they were paying for the vet visit, he “started wagging his tail looking at me. His love language is me emptying my wallet.”
A month later in February 2021, Jones posted another video with the cheeky caption, “What goes around comes around Bill.” In the video, the two walked together down that same sidewalk. This time though, because Billy just had his dew claw removed, the pup had the cast on. While Billy was limping—for real this time—Jones seems to be fake limping. Fans of the last video told Jones, “You need a red bandage too,” and “Great fake limp.”
Sadly, in March 2022, Jones shared in the Facebook group, “Hi everyone, wanted to tell you on here that my Billy ran over the [rainbow] today. He’s had lung cancer and was the time to say goodbye. I wanted to tell you on here because this is where our 5 mins of fame began.”
“Scientists have proved that dogs can have incredible empathy for their owners,” Jones’ wife, Michelle, stated. “But Billy’s empathy was on a different level, he was pretending to suffer to make Russell feel loved. I think that is so clever. Dogs are amazing.”
Billy’s story was not over, though. Posthumously, on September 8, 2022, Billy was awarded the Internet Sensation award at the People’s Pet Awards. “For him to have been honored so special is just incredible and keeps his memory alive,” Jones says. “We miss him dearly but are so touched that his story has been shared with millions all over the world.”