Two years ago I started an Instagram….for my dog…yep you read that right.
His accountis @kingsly2015. Chris and I just picked up our little boy Kingston Marshall, a red fawn Chinese Shar-Pei, in Oklahoma. His breeder drove up from Texas and met us. He was so unique, with his black mask and golden fur. I had never seen a Shar Pei in real life. I was absolutely in love with every-single-wrinkle and before we even got home I had taken over 50 pictures! I created an Instagram page for him so I could unapologetically post as many photos as I wanted. Ha! Then it started. Comments, followers and before we knew it, we started falling in love with other account’s pups. Chris and I would discuss them as if we really knew them. If they were sick we wished them well and worried for them. We also celebrated when they learned new tricks.
Relationships grew and we began getting to know the parents behind the accounts: their names, cities they lived in. Christmas cards sent, get well gifts and even in tough days…phone calls and texts of support. Friendships sparked that were needed in more ways than I could have imagined. Having a Shar Pei doesn’t come without its challenges. They can be known for Shar Pei fever. Our Mishka, who we got a few months later in Tennessee, suffers from this. Having other pei parents know what it’s like be there for support has been such an incredible gift.
Instagram has built a community of Sha- Pei and dog lovers around the world. One of our favorite accounts lives in Cape Town, South Africa! When we go live we interact in real time with followers from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Germany even Iceland! They were there to welcome our 3rd Peiby Edmond Prescott, from Iowa, with open loving arms. Today our pups have over 20,000 followers and we have gained friends we couldn’t be more grateful for. We’ve fallen in love with their pups and know their names and personalities.
Then it happened. Amy (@crinkle.cuts) from Florida said we needed a peication! (Amy’s pup Finn has gone viral eating a strawberry and has actually be posted to my facebook page many times. It’s pretty amazing to say we know each other and now are going on vacation! The power of social media! Connecting people who otherwise would have never met.) She reached out to Tricia (@murpy.willow.einstein) and the idea was now in action. A group message was sent and we started inviting accounts. The excitement was unreal! Here we were actually planning to MEET each other’s pups we’ve grown to love and follow DAILY!
13 Families and 27 SharPei signed up!
In September of 2017 we will be taking over Barkwells, a dog resort in North Carolina! Each cabin has doggie doors, fenced in yards and the entire property is fenced in so our pups can PLAY! We have booked every.single.cabin!
Shirts are being made, group photos are planned and group dinners are scheduled. We’ve all wrote in bios and submitted full family photos to create a reference document of who we are, our stories and maybe also all included favorite drinks. It will be epic, we will take hundreds of photos to share with our 100k followers combined, and who knows we may start an annual Pei Convention. Look out world…here we come!!