updated 02/25/2011 AT 3:55 PM ET
•originally published 02/28/2011 AT 7:45 AM ET
Are you there? Did the cuteness knock you over? It’s okay, it happened to the many thousands of people who saw this photo last week, too.
“Pug in pug slippers” was the headline that was stamped across posts on Buzzfeed, Cute Overload and all the other sites that helped Lilly the 12-year-old pug shoot to viral hit-dom, and it wasn’t even intended to take off the way it did.
The photo was taken by Linda Lombardi on Dress Up Your Pet Day last month. “I spend a lot of my time trying to entertain people on the Internet,” Lombardi tells PEOPLEPets.com. “This was like a commission.”
But what was left in her house that she could use to dress up her dog, something that she hadn’t used already in a picture? The only thing the longtime pug devotee could find was a pair of baby slippers in the shape of pugs that she’d bought long ago (and that, sadly, the company no longer makes).
Lombardi posted the resulting photo on her Flickr page, it was picked up last week by a pug-themed Tumblr called boodapug, and the rest is Internet history.
“What this picture shows,” Lombardi says, “is that you really need to teach your dog to sit and stay for a photo. That’s the real reason every pet owner needs to go to obedience class.”
Meet more viral animal hits on PEOPLEPets.com:
Say Treat! Smiling Dog Becomes an Internet Sensation
Fatso, the Piano-Playing Cat, Becomes Internet Sensation