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Dogs on Instagram: the price of fame for beloved mutts

By Admin User on April 26, 2019

Dog owner, Ally Cowan, says she didn’t start the account with fame in mind, but Clementine the Bully’s account has reached over 10 thousand followers on Instagram alone in the past four years.

This story of surprise internet fame is a familiar one, however, the toll it takes on dog owners and dogs themselves is still unexplored. Cowan claims the $200 she has made is small, especially in contrast to the reported millions of dollars per year earned by dogs with followings in the millions.

Ally Cowan walking with Clementine in a post

We’ve only made a little bit off of a couple of sponsored posts on Clem’s account. We just aren’t focused as much on the money aspect and we don’t keep up with the posting as much as we would if we were in this for the money.

Ally Cowan, Clementine’s owner

But the dogs who are in this for the money? It’s big business for them to promote just about any product from pet toys to even technology with the right spin. These dogs are making anywhere from thousands of dollars per post to millions of dollars per year. Some of them, like Jiff Pom the Pomeranian, don’t even have owners. Jiff Pom has a “handler” or “agent” that takes care of him and keeps his online presence consistent.

Cowan says she isn’t fond of this practise and believes that this form of exploitation of pets isn’t her idea of an ethical source of income.

I don’t agree with that… We’re not trying to exploit our dog by any means. We’re literally just putting up cute photos. But then you see some of the circumstances the owners will put their dogs in to get a cute photo and we would never do that.

Ally Cowan, Clementine’s Owner
Psychologist, Dr. Paul Sussman echoes the same thoughts.
Dr. Paul Sussman talks about dogs on instagram

I think if that’s where people are financially –that they need to be dressing up their dogs and taking pictures to make a quick buck– that says a lot about the desperation for money. It’s a willingness to sacrifice things you love to the public for capital gain. I don’t see how it can be very healthy for the relationship in that sense.

Dr. Sussman

These things in mind, many of these dogs are very well cared for. They seem to be doing just fine with their high-end food sponsorships and constant celebrity cuddles. As well, the community these accounts create among smaller accounts leads many dog owners to find connection with likeminded people. Dr. Sussman says that as long as these accounts are focused on connection and community they maintain a healthy balance.

If the creation of these accounts leads to playdates and connection, that’s just brilliant in my mind.

Dr. Sussman
Dog owners meet up at the dog park



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