If Kim Kardashian can publish a book of selfies, then why shouldn’t the most popular rescue dog on Instagram do the same? Known for her adorable head tilt and lolling tongue, Marnie the dog has been all over everyone’s social media accounts for more than a year now, and soon she’ll be gracing coffee tables in the pages of Marnie the Dog: I’m A Book.
“It’s just cute pictures of Marnie, so if you like Marnie on the Internet, you’ll hopefully love her just as much or even more in the book,” says Shirley Braha, who adopted the senior Shih Tzu back in 2012.
Then known as Stinky, poor Marnie had been in a shelter for four months after being picked up by animal control in Connecticut. Marnie’s new life in New York City began when Braha spotted the Shih Tzu’s Petfinder profile, sprung her from the shelter, and got her cleaned up and feeling better. In February 2014, Marnie made her Internet debut on Instagram and quickly became one of the most followed and most recognizable dogs in the world.
“Obviously it’s just completely changed my life. I’ve never had a dog before, so to go from never owning a dog to having an incredibly loved and pretty popular dog is definitely funny,” says Braha, who never expected Marnie to be as famous as she’s become.
The little dog’s Instagram account has 1.8 million followers, and she reaches other audiences through her Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook accounts. Like many social media-fueled celebrities, Marnie even has her own app, Marnie Pro, available at the iTunes store.
“Lots of times, people will photoshop pictures of Marnie into their photos; this app just makes it really easy to do that,” Braha explains.
With the app, the millions of followers, and her tendency to be spotted with Hollywood celebrities, Marnie has reached a level of fame that few people, let alone dogs, will ever know.
“When she first started getting famous I was like, ‘I wish Marnie could know how much people love her and how broad her fan base is,’ but this has been going on for over a year now,” says Braha, who believes that over time Marnie has realized that she is a canine celebrity.
“She’s very aware that there are people on the street who get very excited to see her — it happens very frequently, and she’s fine with it. She definitely knows that she’s not a normal dog. She knows she’s a famous dog, and she knows that people love her.”
Marnie knows that people, in general, love her, but she also knows that there’s one person in particular who cares the most.
“I’m like completely obsessed with her,” says Braha. “I’m with her every minute and just giving her tons of affection.”
The love of a devoted human is definitely what Marnie deserves after all she’d been through. The little dog with the big following wasn’t very healthy when she first came home with Braha. Then 10 years old, Marnie was suffering problems with her vision and needed to have 14 rotting teeth removed. Her now trademark head tilt also had Braha concerned.
“I’m so happy that it turned out to be nothing to be worried about because when I got her, I was worried. Even my vet suggested that she might have brain cancer — which was devastating — but it turned out it was just a side effect of an illness called vestibular syndrome,” she says.
According to Braha, Marnie must’ve experienced the illness sometime before coming to live with her. It’s thought that Marnie was probably dizzy for a week or two while suffering from vestibular syndrome, but eventually recovered, the head tilt being a residual side effect.
“I’m so happy that that was all it was and it wasn’t anything more serious,” says Braha, who does worry about Marnie’s mortality despite her current good health.
“Nobody in the world lasts forever, so I just try to be grateful for every day that I have with her.”
Healthy Shih Tzus can live to be around 15 years old, and Marnie is celebrating her 13th birthday this month. The dog’s advanced age is one of the reasons why Braha accepted a publisher’s offer when approached about doing a photo book.
“I love her so much, it would be a shame to not have like a nice artifact of the photos that I take of her,” she says.
Marnie the Dog: I’m A Book, in stores now, includes many new pictures of Marnie, plus a few fan favorites from her social media accounts. The most famous rescue dog on Instagram recently hit the road for her book tour, which includes stops in New York, Chicago, Los Angles, San Francisco, and San Diego.
The lovable senior dog has plenty of adventures still ahead of her, and her popularity proves that puppies don’t have the market cornered when it comes to cuteness. Marnie should know — after all, she wrote the book on being cute.
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