The Pets of PetCon: Passionate Advocates
Many of the pet parents that we met during PetCon’s meet and greet sessions admitted that their initial intention for their pet’s Instagram account wasn’t to amass fame and fortune. These proud pet owners just wanted to share how cute their pets were with the rest of the world. It’s no surprise, then, that many of these celebrity pets use their platform to advocate for charities and personal causes. Below are some of the great organizations that these Insta-famous pets support.
PetPlace: How long has Biggie been Instagram famous?
Leo: We got him almost 4 years ago now and he just kind of took off. We hit 10k followers in 2018 and it just snowballed from there.
PP: What do you think it is that draws people to him?
L: I think it’s definitely his personality. Everything we do is based on how he acts, and we give him a voice based on how he acts. People just gravitate towards it.
PP: Are you surprised that his account became as big as it did?
Sabrina: We were not expecting it at all, but it happened and now it’s just never-ending!
PP: What advice would you have for people who are trying to make their pets Instagram famous?
S: When you’re trying to get started, just post whatever you want, whatever you have fun doing. Don’t try to do something that you don’t really enjoy. Just be yourself and try to mirror your animal’s personality.
PP: And does he get recognized a lot?
S: Oh yeah.
L: Yeah, a lot!
PP: Are there causes that you like to support?
L: We are very involved with the DFW Pug Rescue, we’re going to be doing something with Austin’s Humane Society soon, which is the largest no-kill shelter in the nation.
S: Since we have a platform, we believe we should use it for good and not waste the opportunity. Biggie’s sister is a rescue, we got her from Dallas Animal Services. She’s a pitbull-lab mix and they get along great…but Biggie is her boss!
PetPlace: How long have you had Riley?
Claire: I’ve had him for 7 years. He was a puppy when we got him. We found him through a friend we have upstate whose dog had just had puppies.
PP: How long before you realized that you should be putting his cute pictures on Instagram?
C: Well, actually, I started putting pictures of him on Instagram from the day I got him and my friends were like, “Claire, if you post one more dog picture, I’m going to unfollow you,” so I decided to make him his own account. And a bunch of strangers started following us, and now here we are!
PP: How long did it take for the account to take off?
C: Not very long. Maybe a year or two. It started to pick up pretty quickly.
PP: And what’s the craziest thing that’s happened since Riley has become Instagram famous?
C: Actually, we met his older sister in our neighborhood and their family. We had no idea they existed before, and it turns out they were living right near us. I also found a second cousin that I had never met, because she was a fan of Riley and came to meet me at the first PetCon here in New York. It was pretty crazy!
PP: Are there causes that you like to advocate for?
C: We marched with The Body Shop, which was a protest against animal testing. We brought 8 million signatures to the U.N., which was pretty cool. And every time I make money off of Riley’s account, we send a portion of the proceeds back to shelters. Also, any food that we don’t use I donate to local shelters, which can seem like small contributions, but they add up.
PetPlace: How old is Mochi?
Elle: She’s 5.
PP: Were you expecting that she’d be Instagram famous one day? Did you have any inkling that this would happen?
E: Not at all! I just started her account because I didn’t want my Instagram to be filled with dog photos, but she quickly proved me wrong and surpassed my following within a few weeks.
PP: What’s the best part about being an Insta famous dog mom and dad?
E: The fact that we’ve gotten to connect with different people from all over the world, and it’s just such a great feeling to know that she’s bringing a smile to people’s faces. We get DMs from people who tell us that they were having a bad day and once they saw Mochi’s photo they can’t stop smiling. It’s really little things like that that make such a difference in people’s lives and we’re so happy to be able to share her.
PP: What are some organizations or causes that you really want people to know about?
E: We support a number of local shelters. I think living in New York, there are a lot of different opportunities to help dogs that are less fortunate. Just to name a few there’s Best Friends Animal Society…
Zack (Elle’s husband): There’s also Fospice Dogs, which takes care of dogs at the end of their lives. It’s hard to have adoptable dogs as they get older in age, but they still deserve a good life and a good end to a beautiful journey with humans.
PP: If someone hasn’t seen Mochi’s Instagram account, what’s one thing to know about her?
Z: She’s really such a lovebug–she loves snuggling up, cuddling in bed, sitting in a lap. We think that really comes across with the account, but it’s so true to who she is in real life.
PetPlace: How long have you had Clem?
Stacy: We have had Clementine for almost 5 years.
PP: Was she an Instagram star from the beginning?
S: No, it slowly started over the course of a year and a half. Then we started getting featured on a lot of larger pages, which gave her page a big boost, and it’s just been steadily growing from there.
PP: How do you choose her outfits?
S: She really loves loungewear, and her slippers. Honestly, she really just puts on the clothes for pictures and then takes them off and gets a treat–she doesn’t prefer to wear them for long periods at a time. But she lets me do whatever, she’s a good sport.
PP: Now that she’s become famous, how has your life changed?
S: It’s changed a lot. We get a lot of really cool opportunities that come our way. I’ve met some amazing people through the internet who have become my real life friends. We have also become huge advocates for the bulldog breed in general, and the bulldog rescue. They happen to have the potential to have a lot of health problems and I help to educate people on how to take care of their bulldogs, how to properly groom them, help give them advice on the foods that are better for bulldogs to be eating. It’s really become a passion of mine to help this breed.
PP: Any organizations in particular that you are involved in?
S: Yes, I’m involved in Bullies 2 the Rescue. It’s a big bulldog rescue on the east coast, and I try to raise awareness for them and bring a lot of attention to the need for adoption. We actually just fostered a dog with them four months ago, who we ended up adopting. She’ll be guest starring on Clem’s Instagram!
PetPlace: When did you realize that Manny would be an Instagram star?
Amber: It happened organically. Manny sleeps in the sink, so that obviously went viral. People just love to see funny stuff.
PP: What are Manny’s off-line hobbies?
A: He loves playing with his siblings and riding in his toy car. Sleeping in the sink is also his forte.
PP: What does being a “philanthro-PUP” mean?
A: Manny owns his own non-profit called the Manny & Friends Foundation, which we created to help support a variety of human and pet charities whose missions we love. We’re so happy that his popularity provided us with this fantastic opportunity to give back to others.
PP: What are your tips for aspiring Insta stars?
A: Don’t force it. If you’re not into it, find another hobby. Find their niche and roll with it. Find their personality and go with it.