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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

From Frito Lay to eBay: the cheesiest "pet" ever

Jan 29, 2024 10:13AM ● By Marti Benson

I’m unsure why I wanted that Cheeto poodle so badly. 

I’m a dog lover, sure, but it’s the furry, panting, wagging-tail variety that captures my heart. Perhaps it was the novelty of owning a “rare” and “one-of-a-kind” collectible. Maybe it was the thrill of outbidding 326 others who had eyes on it. Or possibly it was because I lived 10 miles from the nearest grocery store, and I was really hungry. 

Whatever the reason, I lost the quarter-sized critter to someone willing to pay more than $2.75 (plus shipping and handling) for the little pooch. I had to draw the line somewhere.

It’s been nearly 19 years since I discovered that “Frito Lay Cheeto Poodle Dog” on eBay. It was found in a bag of Cheetos bought at the Food Lion grocery story in Brunswick, Georgia, and was nearly consumed. The guy who bought the cheese-dusted snacks, however, discovered that one of the crunchy orange treats was a “really good sculpture of a poodle in miniature” seconds before it reached his mouth. 

I don’t know what the winning bidder shelled out for that Cheeto dog. Perhaps the seller fetched a handsome sum and moved to the Hamptons. 

But here’s some food for thought. In February 2017, a Cheeto that resembled Harambe, a 440-pound silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, sold on eBay for just under $100K. Harambe’s notoriety was, unfortunately, ill-fated. He was shot by a zookeeper in 2016, after a 3-year-old child fell into the moat (and lived) at the Gorilla World enclosure. The video of the incident went viral on the internet.

Curious if Cheeto animals were still a thing, I did a search on eBay. I didn’t see any cheesy canines. I did, however, find Cheetos shaped like Bigfoot ($1,000), a cat ($100) and a cartoon mouse ($1). There was a French bulldog, but it was found in a kernel of popcorn ($200). While I have never found a dog-shaped Cheeto, popcorn kernel or Dorito, I did see Snoopy in the abdominal X-ray of a puny-feeling pup years ago, when I worked at a veterinary clinic. It turns out that the world-famous beagle was actually a pair of gloves that Kaya, a yellow lab, had consumed. 

Speaking of celebrities, I saw Cheetos in the shapes of Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger up for sale. 

In line at the grocery store a few days ago, I silently totaled up the items in my cart. 

“Whew,” I sighed, wishing I could win the lottery.

I glanced at the elfin-sized snack bags dangling nearby as my stomach rumbled. The splashy orange one grabbed my attention. Perhaps there was a carbohydrate companion—a Cheeto poodle of my very own, or even Taylor Swift in concert—in one of those little pouches. Maybe I would generate a selling frenzy by posting it on eBay. Or maybe I didn’t have breakfast or lunch and was really hungry. I tossed the Cheetos into my cart.