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Mysterious Meme Mutt: Who Was “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” Dog?

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Several dogs have starred in “I have no idea what I’m doing” memes, but the best known is Bailey, the golden retriever. Owned by John Nebbia, Bailey was the subject of countless photo-captioning jokes after a picture of her posted to Facebook in 2011 went viral. 

The “I have no idea what I’m doing” meme started as a joke posted to Tumblr by Ben Grelle, better known as the Frogman. The image showed a blurry wedding photo in the top frame, with a golden retriever dog posed with a camera in the bottom frame. The phrase “I have no idea what I’m doing” was captioned to the image.

That image began to circulate around social media, especially Reddit, and the “I have no idea what I’m doing” phrase became the punchline for many images featuring animals, especially dogs, posed doing human things. 

Bailey was one of these. The first and most famous Bailey meme shows the golden retriever dressed in a tie, sitting with her paws on a laptop and looking at the screen. This image was originally posted to her owner’s Facebook account. When a friend re-posted it to Reddit with the “I have no idea what I’m doing” caption, it became a viral hit. 

John Nebbia went to Reddit later to offer more pictures of his now-famous dog, and may of these have become the base of well-known internet memes. 

Some images of Bailey you may recognize include the following:

  • Bailey sitting in a recliner in a leopard-print robe
  • Bailey wearing glasses and looking up from a checkbook
  • Bailey clutching a remote control under her paw while wrapped in a robe
  • Bailey wearing a camo-print baseball cap and sitting at a table with a jar of peanut butter
  • Bailey posing with friends around a card table

Bailey had an Instagram account, @GoldenRetrieverBailey, with more than 15,000 followers. There are almost 100 photos on the account, many of which involve Bailey posing for the camera. Other photos include puppy pictures and candids from Bailey’s life. 

Bailey died in 2016 from complications arising from bone cancer, which is common in golden retrievers. She was 7 years old.

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Last update on 2020-11-25

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