No one recognized Kinta five years ago when Michelle Proctor first found her. Today, thousands of people on Facebook and Instagram know and adore the little Shiba Inu and her daily Squinta from Kinta.
“I’m a little shocked at how many people love Kinta,” said Proctor, an ER nurse who lives outside of Owasso, Oklahoma. “It makes me feel good to know that so many people out there love her.”
Kinta has come a long way from her stray days.
“She was lying on my neighbor’s car, so at first I thought it was a really large cat,” she explained. “The closer I got to her, the more I realized it was a dog. She looked like she hadn’t eaten in a few days, so I brought her food and water.”
A scan for a microchip found none. Visits to local vets to see if anyone knew her also yielded nothing. Next stop was the city’s animal control center, where Proctor learned that if the dog wasn’t adopted in a certain number of days, she would be euthanized.
“I’m not really a gambling girl, so I asked if I could leave her picture and contact info in case anyone came looking for her,” Proctor said. “They said that was fine.”
Newspaper ads in the Tulsa World and a post on a local lost and found pets Facebook page brought people wanting to buy the Shiba Inu, but no one claimed ownership.
“We had high hopes of returning her to her owner, but after two months we were certain that she was probably a reject from a puppy mill since she was not yet spayed and had a genetic malformation – she has no nipples,” Proctor said. “We figured she was worthless to a breeder since she wouldn’t even be able to feed her own puppies. After two months, we decided to give up the search and took ownership of her.
“We knew nothing about Shiba Inus when we got her, and it’s been a very long and unusual experience, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she added. “She is an amazing dog and makes us laugh daily. She’s approximately 7 years young now!”
Kinta makes other people laugh daily, too. Proctor started the Kinta Facebook page originally for friends, and the Shiba Inu had only about three fans for more than a year. But the page blew up when someone in a Shiba group claimed Kinta wasn’t being taken care of because the squinting was from glaucoma. It isn’t.
People from the group then started following Kinta on Facebook. When one fan mentioned she liked Instagram better, Kinta got an account there, too.
Proctor said she doesn’t have any trouble keeping up with the daily demand for photos.
“I usually take lots of photos of her on a normal basis – she’s too cute not to!”
Other people agree about her cuteness. Her Facebook posts get hundreds of likes every day, and nearly 4,200 people have liked her page.
Tim Workman has been following Kinta on Facebook for a few months. “I’m a BIG animal lover and love animal rescues, and I’m a fan of Shiba Inus,” he said. “Seeing Kinta and her squint, and her smile when she squints, is just so cool. This little dog is just wonderful, and when she barks and does her ‘Aroo,’ it just makes you smile.”
“Aroo” is indeed the sound Kinta makes when she “talks.” People especially love her videos in which she can be quite vocal.
People even draw and paint pictures of Kinta. Proctor recently received an “amazing portrait” that is “perfect from the angle of the ears to the neck rolls!”
Proctor said the one drawback about having a pet go viral on the Internet is that “a lot of people have something negative to say – one guy the other day said that all Kinta could do was squint and that was a stupid trick. We’ve also had several armchair veterinarians telling us to get her eyes checked because she squints so much. She’s been given a clean bill of health several times by her vet Dr. Kelley. She’s just a happy dog that likes to smile with squinty eyes.”
Kinta knows no boundaries, according to Proctor.
“She lives to cuddle to her own detriment. She tries to cuddle with our cat, who likes to slap Kinta, but we are starting to think that maybe Kinta thinks the cat is petting her,” she said. “She also likes to chase ducks, but often forgets that the pond is filled with water until she’s already fallen in. She hates ponds!”
The best thing about having a famous pet on the Web?
“When people tell me that Kinta made their day a little better. We’ve had several people battling depression tell us that Kinta makes a difference in their lives,” Proctor said. “That’s good to know because we just want to spread positivity and love.”
The fame Kinta has now is enough for Michelle and her husband John, who are expecting their first child in July.
“We don’t want her to be more famous,” Michelle Proctor said. “We like the solid group of people that love her now – and for them we are planning on making T-shirts or calendars in the near future.”