Aspen Princess: My pooch on Instagram, no filter
You know you’ve officially lost it when you create an Instagram account for your pug.
I can’t explain how I’ve come to a point in my life where I would not only spend my time plummeting into the void of social media but that I would create an account for my 15-pound pedigree, the 6-inch-tall marshmallow with fur that now rules our household. She’s not even 2 years old, for crying out loud.
This dog does not like being told what to do. If you tell her, “Gertie, come!” she just tilts her head in that way pugs do and looks at you like, “Whatever do you mean?” She pretty much refuses to do anything unless you ask her nicely and bribe her with food.
So instead of “Gertie, come!” we’ve started shouting, “Gertie, want a treat?” That worked for a while. Then Ryan started slurring his words and just using the tone of a question so he wouldn’t be lying when he didn’t give her a treat on account of not wanting to reward her for rotten behavior.
Once she figured out we were pulling a fast one on her, she took it to the next level. Now, when you tell her, “Gertie, come!” she actually runs the other way. She may be a little thick through the middle, but that bitch is fast. She really knows how to make a fool out of me, running circles around me as I chase her and scream her name like a psychotic person.
Her new favorite thing to do is to bolt out the door whenever I leave. It doesn’t matter how far away from the door she is or if I think she’s actually obeying me when I tell her, “Stay.” That dog can get the hole shot like no other and somehow always manages to escape. She should race motocross.
So I have to chase her around the driveway for about 10 minutes, screaming at her until my throat hurts and I’m sure all the neighbors can hear me. Then at some point she sits and puts her paw up, like I’m this horrible, threatening, abusive person and she’s just a helpless little animal. Her eyes get huge, and I swear she fake trembles. So I have to scoop her up and talk to her in soothing baby talk and explain to her in a calm voice what she’s done wrong like all those annoying mothers who are foolish enough to try to reason with a 2-year-old.
For a while, we tricked her by getting in the car so she would follow us and try to get in, therein making it possible to catch her. She figured that one out pretty fast, too.
Basically, the only way to get this dog to do anything is to bribe her with a real treat that she can see and smell. Otherwise, she’s not buying it.
Anyhoo, I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed my bossy dog up for Instagram. Maybe it’s because Catherine moved to France and Kate moved to Santa Cruz and Amanda moved to L.A. and Ambere works all the time and has a boyfriend. Maybe it’s because we lost Big George and he was the only one who brought some balance into our lives so we weren’t just one of those crazy couples with a small purebred dog with its own wardrobe. Maybe it’s because I’m officially having a midlife crisis and God thought it would be really funny if he answered all my prayers for all the things I wouldn’t get with a flat-faced dog.
Everyone knows your user name is everything, so I had to come up with a good one. GertieThePug was taken. I hate using underscores in user names — it just feels so desperate. No, I would keep trying. Then I found it: GertieGoogleEyes.
Here’s the crazy thing: GertieGoogleEyes’ account is going gangbusters.
Since I signed her up a week ago, she already has more than 400 followers. Pugs with names like Wasabi, Khloe Pugdashian and Mooshu have upped our follower count as fast as GertieGoogleEyes can devour a bowl of dog food. My screen floods with push notifications that say, “Christina_Puguilera liked your photo,” or “PugsNotDrugs started following you,” with such lightning speed that it’s impossible for me to do anything on my phone without the constant barrage of commentary from the international pug community.
No, I don’t dress her up in ridiculous outfits and make her pose in front of a white screen. That’s insane! I would never exploit my four-legged child like that. I can take a photo of her doing almost anything, like just sitting there, and these pug people from all over the world go nuts for her. We get tons of comments, too, though the heavy use of emoticons makes me wonder the ages of these people who are crazy enough to set up social-media networking for their pooches. Are they all teenagers?
Here’s the crazy part: It’s way more fun to interact with the global pug fan club than on my own accounts, where I never get as many likes as I think I deserve when my very clever and well-executed images get ignored. I mean, hello, that one of Ryan silhouetted by the sun on the ridge of Highland Bowl got only one like? (Thanks, Ryan Voss, for understanding my vision.) The Pug People always love GertieGoogleEyes’ photos, and I don’t even have to use a filter.
So now I lie in bed at night and scroll through the endless pug photos posted by people I don’t know from Europe, Asia, South America and all over the U.S. It appears the hashtag is universal, and so is #puglove and #pugnation and #pugstagram.
Plus, I can’t help it. It’s become increasingly clear my bossy little pug knows how to be a leader. She’s given us no choice but to follow her.
Check out @gertiegoogleeyes and @aspenprincess, or just shoot some love to email@example.com.