Episode 4: A Pug Named Doug
Breeds like pugs and Boston terriers “really resemble humans, or babies,” Mr. Woo said. These so-called brachycephalic breeds, with their shortened heads, flat faces and barely there noses, “are very photogenic with their large, forward-looking eyes,” Mr. Woo said. “They appear to be grinning or smiling,” never mind that the “smiles” are often caused by breathing difficulties native to their breeds. Pug owners don’t disagree. “With their smushed-in faces, all the rolls, and their funny tails, pugs are the least doglike dogs,” said Leslie Mosier of Nashville, whose pug, Doug (@itsdougthepug), is one of the most popular pets on Instagram, with 3.2 million reputed followers. “They are more like humans-slash-pigs-slash-dogs.”
Doug the Pug is now one of the most recognizable dog faces. I talked with Leslie about how she started her account, how it impacts her life, and if the fame has gotten to Doug’s head.
Episode 3: Birch and Bambi
Spending their time running around the mountains of Canada, Birch and Bambi are two close dogs who are loyal to each other. While Birch is really loud, outgoing and energetic - Bambi is more calm, quiet, and hesitant. But they work together and compliment each other well.
“Birch and Bambi are my angels on earth. They bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in me, they’ve been my courage to do new things, things I probably never would have done if not for them. They give me purpose. I would be so empty without these two,” their owner, Brittany, says.
I talked with Brittany about how long she’s had the dogs, how she’s trained them together, the opposite nature of their personalities, and more.
Episode 2: Marine The Shitzu
As actors or models, pugs are the canine equivalent of hams. “They were bred in China to sit at the emperor’s feet and entertain,” A dog’s popularity can increase exponentially when it has a signature style flourish, the canine equivalent of Anna Wintour’s sunglasses or Pharrell Williams’s hats.
Case in point: the Gene Simmons-length tongue of @marniethedog, a Shih Tzu rescue that at this point may be more famous than the real Gene Simmons, thanks to an explosively popular Instagram feed.
I talked to Marnie’s owner, Rachel, about tips for other dog owners looking to have fun with their dogs, what kind of food Marnie likes, and more.
Episode 1: Adventures with Maddie
“Maddie. I had rescued Maddie from a shelter in Georgia about two months before I began traveling. John Steinbeck had Charley, and I needed my companion. (laughing) I grew up in the South, so I knew I wanted a Southern dog. I searched for “coonhound” online, and Maddie was the first one who popped up. She looked like a deer! I went to the shelter to meet her. Coonhounds are very loving, but they’re also very aloof; they follow their noses and do what they want to do. I was unsure about Maddie because she didn’t give me an affectionate, Labrador-style greeting, but as I walked her back to her kennel, she pressed her body against my leg the whole way. So, $40 and very little paperwork later, I had a dog.” Theron Humphrey has published books with photos of Maddie and their travels around the world, a dog who shines a light on everyone around him. He and Instagram star Maddie are our first episode guests for the show!