Five inspiring dogs of Instagram

Article by Vic Allen

Vic is a musician and animal lover from Norwich. Growing up surrounded by pets, she currently has a Golden Retriever, a Miniature Dachshund, and two ginger cats.

Everyone loves an Instagram dog. Since the launch of the platform in 2010, pooches like Doug the Pug and Jiff the Pomeranian have turned into every day celebrities, and the hashtag #dogsofinstagram has over 200,000,000 posts. But while some dogs keep their followers entertained with their general cuteness, others come with inspiring back stories. 

Whether they’re challenging the definition of “beauty” with an unconventional appearance or living life to the full after a surviving near-death experience, here are five pups that deserve all the love and treats in the world. 

@mister.enzoviola

First up is distinctive golden retriever Enzo, who was born with a beautiful birthmark caused by a rare genetic mutation causing a patch of his light fur to turn black.

Owned by the Castro family in Texas, Enzo’s striking appearance has gained him almost 200,000 followers on Instagram who have fallen in love with both his looks and his personality.

According to one of Enzo’s family, the best thing about Enzo’s fame is when children with birthmarks see him and are encouraged to embrace themselves just as they are. 

@tunameltsmyheart

Considering his rough start in life, being abandoned by the side of a road in San Diego, little Chiweenie Tuna has definitely landed on his four tiny paws.

When owner Courtney Dasher adopted him from a farmer’s market in 2010, she never expected him to become an internet sensation. But with his unique appearance — a severe overbite — Tuna has gained not only a loving home but over two million loyal Instagram followers.

Describing the pup in her recent book as “The Underdog with the Overbite”, Dasher hopes that Tuna can help to redefine modern beauty standards. Not only that, but the canine star and his owner use their huge platform to raise money for animal charities and increase awareness of the importance of adoption and fostering.     

@maggiethewunderdog

Maggie’s story is another that begins with heartbreak and this one is particularly painful to process. Five year old Maggie was found in Lebanon suffering severe wounds from being shot seventeen times. She was left blind and with her right ear had been cut off. Things were not looking good for the poor pup.

But after seeing Maggie on an online appeal, Brighton based dog lover Kacey Carlin volunteered to take in the wounded stray and, after surgery and veterinary care to treat her wounds, Maggie was flown over to the UK to her forever home.

Despite everything she has been through, Maggie is extremely loving and is described as “energetic and bubbly” by Carlin. Now with over 400,000 Instagram followers, she has appeared on ITV’s This Morning where viewers were in tears after hearing about her tragic past.

This incredible little pup’s life has turned around since those dark days on the street. Now happily settled with her loving family, Maggie’s Instagram page regularly features foster dogs looking for help.

Things don’t stay still for Maggie and she’s now training to become a therapy dog.

@albertonwheels

Proving that disabilities don’t have to slow a dog down, little Shih Tzu mix Albert is an adventurous explorer, confidently tackling all terrain in his doggy wheelchair.

Found paralysed on a roadside in Arkansas, Albert was taken in by a local shelter and eventually adopted by Jill Lawson in Connecticut. Now happily cruising through life with over 100,000 Instagram followers, Albert and his family share pictures from their adventures and teach their fans about the joys of adopting older and less-abled dogs. 

@opalthedoublemerle

Opal rose to fame when a video of her excitedly greeting her owner returning from work went viral. While this may seem like normal dog behaviour, there is a reason that the footage is so amazing: Opal is both deaf and blind. 

Opal has a genetic mutation known as “double merle”. When two marble-coated merle dogs are bred together, it can result in a double merle puppy. Such a puppy has not only a completely white coat but a high chance of hearing and vision impairment.

But while Opal cannot see or hear, she makes up for it with both her sense of touch and her powerful sense of smell, as demonstrated in the incredible video. 

Christine and Forrest Bray adopted the Australian shepherd cross when she was four months old. Although they knew it would be difficult, they have found ways to make her happy and comfortable, giving her a life just like any other dog.

She plays tug of war, can fetch a toy, and has learned commands such as “sit” and “lie down” from touch signals. She is also the inspiration behind Christine’s picture book Opal, all about how it’s OK to be different. And that’s something that this remarkable little pup is proving to be true every day. 

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