I started an Instagram account for my dog, Louie, last summer. I’m amazed at how quickly it has grown. Louie only follows other pet accounts (he likes to keep it species relatable), so I’m also aware of what other dog owners post and what gets the most likes from followers. In other words, I have become an Instagram pet parent.
How will you know if you’ve become an Instagram pet parent yourself? What are the danger signals? How do you work at becoming one? I have compiled a small list of things that I have found myself doing, much to the embarrassment of my family. You may be able to relate to some of these.
1. You invent reasons to take photos of your dog. It’s not enough to wait until he’s looking particularly cute; instead, you set up daily ops like “waiting for the bus” photos with your dog and your son as they do exactly that on weekday mornings. Or you take a “goodnight” photo of your dog sleeping.
2. Your dog has a larger wardrobe than you do. His adoring fans can’t see him wearing the same coat and collar all the time.
3. You always choose the drive-through at Starbucks. Because the dog will get a puppy latte, and photos of him enjoying that are always popular with his adoring fans.
4. You plan stops along your route that would be good photo opportunities. Like the New River Gorge Bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in America. How many other dogs have had their photo taken there and posted to Instagram?
5. You are always looking for interesting people to have your dog’s photo taken with. Santa, crazy aunt Alice, the new baby in the family. In every family photo, the dog is always there, of course. And you post that on his Instagram account.
6. If you see celebrities, you ask them to pose with your dog instead of you.
7. You take your dog on a romantic weekend getaway. Because photos of him at the cabin would be good for his Instagram. The kids, of course, aren’t invited.
8. You’re skilled at taking selfies. But only with the dog in the forefront.
9. When you see Easter Bunny, reindeer, or 4th of July headbands for girls, you immediately buy some for photo ops with your dog. (Note: I don’t have little girls who could also share these, they’re just for … the dog.)
10. Your dog is included in all family photos and ends up with his own mini photo shoot at the end. None of the other children get individual sessions.
11. You teach your dog things like “pick it up,” “stay” (meaning in that EXACT position), and “look here.” Because they’re very helpful for taking the best photos.
12. When your dog sees the camera, he automatically poses.
13. You plan holiday photos of the dog well in advance, setting up perfect poses in your mind to be sure your dog’s Instagram photo is well-loved. Your kids, however, get a quick photo in front of the tree on Christmas morning with no planning whatsoever.
14. You buy props just to take more photos with. (The antique baby scale also doubles as home décor, okay? Don’t judge.)
15. Your children are embarrassed for you, but you have no shame in your game. You take your dog everywhere with you because photo ops may present themselves. The kids are forever mortified.
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About the author: Karen Dibert is a wife, mom, and dog lover living in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. She has five kids, three French Bulldogs, and a flock of useless chickens. Karen authors a pet column for her local newspaper, advocates for her son with Down syndrome, manages Louie the French Dog’s Instagram accounts, compulsively photographs everything, and lives in the sewing room, filling orders for her Etsy shops, The French Dog, The French Dog Home, and Collar The Dog. A snapshot of her life can be seen on Facebook.