If you've ever had the desire to lift your small dog into the air like baby Simba on top of Pride Rock, you'll want to read this first.
man holding dog over his head at a baseball game for the simba cam
Credit: Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty

Behold and revel in Simba Cam, baseball's way to distract you between innings while also giving everyone in the stadium a chance to admire your ultra-cute puppy. It's been a popular addition at baseball games, especially events like "Bark in the Park," when fans are able to bring their dog along to the game with them.

What is the Simba Cam, Anyway?

Here's how it works: Fans in the stands first hear the classic opening notes of "Circle of Life" from the Lion King. The next move is to hold up your small creature the same way Rafiki hoists kitten Simba before the safari of animal onlookers just below Pride Rock. Then you just wait for the nearest cameraperson to find you, and inevitably end up on the ballpark's Jumbotron. Boom, your face—and your pup—are on the big screen for everyone to admire.

If you don't have a dog with you, it's a great chance to simply gaze at all the cute dogs around you and ask yourself the vital question: Why don't you have a dog, again? 

To be fair, the Simba Cam also works for tiny humans and beers, but here's what the dog version looked like at a recent Seattle Mariners "Bark at the Park" game:

On its face, the Simba Cam is a fun, silly distraction between innings of lengthy sports games that are somehow getting even longer. Any great pet parent wants to show off their fluffiest and scruffiest pals, and sure, we want to see 'em. (Seriously, send us pictures of your dogs using #DailyPawsPets on Instagram.) But before you head to the ballpark and hoist your best friend in the air for all to enjoy, there are a couple things to keep in mind. 

Do's and Don'ts for Enjoying Bark in the Park with Your Dog:

DO: Bring dogs who are socialized and happy among crowds and other animals.

First, consider whether your dog will even want to be around that many people and other dogs. If your dog displays symptoms of anxiety at home or doesn't enjoy going to the dog park or seeing and/or meeting new dogs during your walks, you'll probably want to skip any trips to the ballpark. Your dog won't like it and, because of that, you won't either. Loud noises can also be a frightening experience for dogs. Check with the stadium beforehand to be sure fireworks aren't planned for the event. Even if you are sure your pooch wouldn't mind the sounds, the booms at the end of a winning game could create pandemonium for other scared dogs.

Some dogs may love the excitement a baseball game (and being around potentially hundreds of other dogs) will bring. That's great! But some dogs will find that level of stimulation stressful and would be safer (and happier) left at home. That's also great. Homebodies and social butterflies all have different needs, and we love them all the same.

DON'T: Put your dog's safety at risk.

Next, there are some potential problems that come along with holding your dog high above your head. Namely, your dog might not like it, especially if she's on the larger side. Even small dogs don't like being picked up under their front legs, so stay away from the classic Lion King lift—even though it's so tempting to try with a little baby dog. If you scour Simba Cam videos online, you'll find several dogs who don't look like they're loving the experience. We can't really blame them.

Pups who are uncomfortable can wriggle out of a Simba grip pretty easily, especially if mom or dad is waiting for the cameraperson to pan to their precious pooch for their moment of fame. Just like when holding a cat, you'll always want to give your dog enough support that's painless.   

DO: Have a great time together.

If your dog is ready for peanuts and Cracker Jack, then sounds like it's time for the two of you to root for the home team. Most trainers and pet health pros recommend using a harness (not just a collar) and a non-retractable leash to ensure you can keep them close at your side throughout the game. And if the Simba Cam makes an appearance during the ballgame, maybe just pick up your small dog like you normally would (holding them close), and we can bet the camera will still catch you—especially if Fluffy is rocking their best sports apparel for the event. For larger dogs, let them continue to sit where they're comfortable. We bet they'll be much happier enjoying the show from the floor, and you'll get a better view of other fans and their bundles of joy, too.