Shortly after the starters for Pokémon Sun and Moon were revealed yesterday, the internet exploded with love for the new monsters. Well, mostly.

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While Rowlet (the owl) and Litten (the cat) were showered with seemingly endless positive tweets, comments, and enthusiastic fan art, one Pokémon seemed to be left on the sidelines: Popplio, the water seal/dog. While most Pokémon fans were freaking out about Litten’s perfect name, or Rowlet’s cute bowtie, Popplio seemed to either attract indifference, hate, or worse, straight-up pity. Here’s a small sampling of Popplio’s lack of popularity:

Image credit: Deltrastreamhunter

That’s just a small fraction of what is floating around right now. Today however the few Popplio fans out there are coming out of the woodwork to defend their precious clown:

Some Popplio hate is even inspiring all sorts of heartbreaking fan art, with a common Tumblr tagged noted as ‘Popplio Defense Squad.’

I’ll admit it: when I first saw Popplio, I disliked him. He didn’t seem as cool or as cute as Rowlet or Litten, and there was just something about his doofy face that made it easy to hate him. I realize that’s pretty harsh, especially since we’re talking about an innocent little seal dog, but I’m just being truthful about my initial knee-jerk reaction.

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The more I looked at Popplio and his fan renditions, however, the more I realized that he reminded me of my actual dog. They both have those sad, meek eyes that puppies sometimes do. They both inspire a sense of helplessness, they both have this strong sense of purity. And you know what, I tease my actual dog endlessly for being so vulnerable to me; I say things about him all the time that make me sound like a total asshole. He loves me all the same.

Maybe it is not so much that there is something innate about Popplio’s design that inspires disgust, inasmuch as it is that we truly do not deserve Popplio.

He’s a good boy. Yes he is.