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October 1, 2014
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DOG DISH: Proud pet parents don’t hold back on Instagram

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Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2014 12:27 pm | Updated: 2:08 pm, Sun Aug 10, 2014.

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and Google the phrase “newborn Snuggles.”

Snuggles, a Jack Russell terrier who just happens to hail from Huntsville, has been the talk of social media of late with her starring role in the viral sensation of the moment: a classic newborn photo shoot with a delightful, or distasteful, twist — depending on who you ask.

If you ask me, and I take your continued reading to mean you are, I fall squarely in the delightful camp. Not that I find all dogs delightful as a matter of course — my sister’s haughty, hypersensitive long-haired chihuahua I find to be practically feline. But despite critics’ concern over the anthropomorphization of Snuggles, I’m pretty sure I squealed when a friend sent me the link, and responded with something like: “Uh-oh … Kollee and Koopa are gonna be so mad you showed this to me!” Although, to be honest, basking in maternal gazes of adoration while swaddled in linen should be a breeze after some of the picture-perfect memories those two dogs have sat for.

In eight years my phone’s gallery has not once been short on Koopa photos, the highlights of which I filter, hashtag and post for posterity to Instagram — much like Jan Renegar who, like any proud pet parent, has taken to documenting Snuggles’ newly minted 15 minutes of celebrity on her Instagram account, @jan_greentreephoto. Since I have no way of knowing which Kodak Koopa moment will spark an online sharing frenzy, I just went ahead and documented them all to be safe: happy Koopa, sleepy Koopa, adventure-fielding Koopa, Koopa’s first canoe ride, Koopa’s first SEC Championship, Koopa’s first time getting in the hammock by himself without flipping over.

Then Kollee along came and things really got fun. I’m talking fairy costumes, pictures with Santa and Puppy Bowl tailgate party kind of fun. So much fun, in fact, I could have changed my IG handle to @crazydoglady_nobutseriously_didyouseeherchristmastutu.

Eventually I decided it was time for Koopa and Kollee to leave the nest and get their own account, and it was then I learned Jan and I weren’t the only photo-happy pet parents on Instagram.

For the uninitiated, Instagram is basically Facebook without all the news links and relationship statuses — just pictures, typically an endless stream of selfies, food porn, strategically cropped vacation photos and, as it turns out, dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

Apparently I’m not the only Instagrammer whose furkids had to strike out on their own. There’s a pretty sizable community of accounts devoted solely to users’ dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, ferrets, pigs, hamsters ... I’m pretty sure we’re following at least one peacock. And why not? Among like-minded Instagrammers, it’s safe to let your crazy-dog-lady

flag fly because @dogwhocriedwoof and @skylar_the_cavapoo would never judge me for posting a pic of Kollee in her blue checkered Fourth of July skirt with the red silk ribbon, even though it’s August and there’s nine pictures of it up already. Hey, they get it — those shots didn’t accurately capture her twirling ballerina trick. And also, did you see how pink Skylar’s tongue looked on #tongueouttuesday this week?

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