This is Ryan Niemchick, 21, and his mom Li Chun. They live in Michigan. A few years ago, Ryan left home for college.
But Alex, their family pupper, still regularly waits right outside Ryan's bedroom door as though he never left for school, Li Chun told BuzzFeed News.
She said it was "sad and sweet" that he waits for her absent son. Ryan said Alex stands vigil for him "at least a few times per week," and sometimes more after Ryan visits home and then leaves again. "I love him," the college student said of the loyal little fluff.
But Twitter called Ryan's ~love~ into question last Wednesday after Ryan tweeted evidence of his dog's commitment.
So many people took issue with the adjective "dum" — they completely lost it. "Alex loves you with his entire puppy soul and you just call him a 'Dum dog' smh," wrote this person.
"Dum dog? Don't you ever disrespect that angel named Alex ever again."
"Alex deserves better."
Another person even said that it was selfish for Ryan to go off to school. "Get home," this person demanded.
Ryan said that he used "dum" as a term of endearment. "Aw, 'dum dog' kind of like—'oh, you know, I miss him and it's sad I’m gone and I can’t really see him right now.'" He said that he even left the "b" off "dumb" so as to make the descriptor more playful.
Not all the criticism on Twitter was lighthearted. “I have gotten a lot of hate messages and threats which is kind of not that cool," the student said. He said that's he's received around 10 death threats.
Ryan used this Spongebob meme to explain that 'dum' was used with loving intent.
He also updated his Twitter bio.
Remy Smidt is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.