Are there certain IG accounts you just love? Whenever they post something new, you immediately like/comment/look at their stories? Well, @ohmydoggies is that account. Their photos are ADORABLE. I can’t take the cuteness! They feature their three dogs: Frances, Sting & Dexter, both Boston Terriers, and Dexter, a Pitt mix.
This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing photographer behind @ohmydoggies! Here, I’ll be asking them how they developed their love of Boston Terriers, how they started their insta, and how the heck do they get their adorable dogs to pose so well?! I hope you enjoy!
First off, how did your love of Boston Terrier’s come about? What makes you love the breed?
I had always owned large breed dogs. I lost my 10 yr old Dalmatian in late 2008. I really wanted to experience a small, lap dog, so I narrowed it down to a Frenchie, a Boston, pug or a mini red poodle. I chose a Boston because they seemed to shed very little, and my husband didn’t want a poodle. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect breed for our family! They can be playful adventurers or Netflix potatoes. They are affectionate, friendly and intelligent. Plus, I love that they don’t bark all that much.
When did you create @ohmydoggies? How did you come up with the name?
I am an IG OG (Instagram Original Gangster)! I first began using this new, little app called Instagram for photo filter purposes only. One day, in 2012, I used a hashtag on a picture walking my first two Bostons, and received some likes from strangers. I thought, “That was fun, let’s see if it works again”. Those were the good old days, (when) Facebook didn’t own the app, and there weren’t a lot a lot of people on the app and the community feeling was incredible. Most dog accounts knew all of the other dog accounts. It wasn’t competitive and everything was in chronological order. So much FUN! No one had any idea it would become so big one day. My original name was @ohmydog09 for the year my first Boston was born. No one could remember the “09” so I changed the name to @ohmydoggies in 2013 or 2014.
Tell us a bit about why you started it, and who the adorable dogs are that are the subject of all your instagram posts!
I purchased my first Boston in May 2009 after MONTHS of endless searching for a female puppy. I found a little girl named Emmie that was born in March 2009 to a show dog breeder in Texas. I asked to be put on a waiting list even though I understood my chances were slim to none. I was obsessed with her and checked every week for the new photo update and progress report. Long story short, she ended up being mine. We drove six hours from Wichita, Kansas to Dallas, TX to pick her up. She was litter box trained and used her box about 6 times on the long drive home. I know it sounds silly but I was already deeply in love before we arrived home that evening. I kept her original name because that’s how I knew her for so many months on the internet. She was the smartest, fastest and sweetest dog I have ever owned. She could learn a new trick in about 5 minutes. I loved her so much I adopted her four year old, retired champion daddy, Skyler, nine months later in 2010.
Emmie died in Dec 2013, at the age of 4 from kidney disease. I was devastated. The breeder had a 6 month old male puppy she offered me since she felt terrible about my loss. I initially said no because I had never owned a male dog and heard so many things about them urinating in the house. I went to bed that night and dreamed about this puppy, who I had seen in photos. I decided I wanted him. So, the day after Christmas, 12 days after losing Emmie, we got in our car and drove to Dallas. They were having a rare snow storm and the breeder wanted to cancel the puppy exchange since she had to drive a couple of hours as well. I was like “Noooooo, we are coming!”
We probably saw about 10 cars in ditches along the highway. This is where our IG story really begins, the puppy was Memo, Skyler’s great nephew. I started photographing him that weekend. He literally grew up in front of the camera. Even though he was a willing and excited participant, he always had a bored, sleepy expression with a sliver of tongue peeking out which made for some great photos! We started winning photo contests in 2014 and our account started growing.
In 2014, I received a message from the breeder’s daughter. Memo’s 1.5 yr old half sister, “Chanel” didn’t like the show ring so they wanted to place her in my home. Chanel and Memo were very close in age and even played together as puppies. I didn’t hesitate for a second even though I had never owned 3 dogs and wasn’t sure if I could handle it. I changed her name to Frances, aka Frankie. This was the best trio imaginable, (Skyler, Memo & Frances) they must have somehow known they were related. They were so in love, and they did everything together. It was easier than I anticipated and I was so happy for all the joy they brought to our family.
Memo passed unexpectedly in Feb 2017. (It took almost a year for those tears to subside. I wanted briefly to delete my IG account. Thank God I didn’t because of all the memories) In May 2017, I was in a pet store buying some dog treats. They were hosting an adoption event for rescued dogs pulled from a kill-shelter. I spotted handsome, owner-surrendered, blue eyed Dexter and the rest is history. My husband kept telling me, “You are grieving Memo. This is going to be such a big dog, are you sure?” I was crying every day about losing a second dog so young. Memo was like my boyfriend or child. He was irreplaceable but I wanted to save this baby dinosaur that I couldn’t stop hugging and smelling. It took a week for baby Dexter to join our family and he still smells good to this day!
I decided Frances needed another small dog since the size difference was not really working between her and Dex except for nap time. So, that’s when Sting joined our family in 2018. Dexter and Sting bonded on day two. It took Frankie a little longer since she isn’t a fan of needle teeth!
How do you get them to pose? Do they enjoy wearing costumes?
My pups love taking pictures, they know it makes me happy. All dogs like “working’ or doing a job. Mine receive lots of yummy treats, hugs and praise. Any time I go downstairs, they run ahead of me and go to the studio and wait for me on a bench. So cute! And they don’t mind wearing hats, glasses or clothing. It is all normal for them.
Do you try to get them to pose a certain way or just let them naturally do their thing and capture the “magic” that way?
I always have a general idea in my head for a photo. I put them in position, set the camera to continuous shooting and let them do their thing. My current goal is to take less photos, but still get the shot and save the number of clicks on my camera, which wears it out and decreases its value.
How do you come up with the ideas for each photo? How long does it take on average, to get them set up and the photo taken?
There are so many things that inspire me; a quote, a song lyric, a prop, holiday or artwork. I can usually set up my background paper, the lights and props in 5 minutes. I try not to have the dogs there for the setup so they don’t become bored. But, they are so super excited at this point and are underfoot! A pro, like 2 yr old Dexter, takes about 2-5 mins to get the photo I want. And 5 yr old Boston Frances is the BEST. She actually understands and is incredibly patient. She will wait until I “release” her. She always wants to continue and I have actually turned the lights off on her and she still doesn’t want to leave the studio. She is REALLY food driven and I always have to watch her weight.
Stinger takes a little longer to photograph, 5-10 minutes because doesn’t know the “hold” or “stay” command as well. He always leaves his spot to come see me and the bag of treats! I am a little bit of a perfectionist so editing takes the longest of the entire process.
Show me your favorite photos you’ve recently taken and why.
Skyler, this boy couldn’t take a bad photo. He had the most expressive, puppy dog eyes. He didn’t enjoy the process towards the end, so he was retired around age 11.
Emmie looks so regal and arrogant in her pearls. This is everything I love about Boston Terrier faces.
Memo… Where do I start? This boy was my heart dog and my muse, so hard to choose only one photo of him.
Frances, my little girl, was too afraid to get in side of this tote. I put her behind it instead and she peeked over the top giving the illusion she was in the bag. Brilliant girl!
Dexter in his Top Gun impersonation is probably my all time favorite photo. He looks like a human!
Stinger in his first puppy crown photo is amazing. When my family helps me take a photo, I always feel like they are my best ones.
What camera do you use?
My early photos were with an iPhone or Canon t4i. In 2017, I upgraded to a Canon 6d MarkII body and I use mostly my 35mm or 50mm prime lenses
You showcase a lot of cool products throughout your instagram. What are some products you’d recommend, not only for any dog lover, but especially Boston Terriers?
A product I am super obsessed with right now is custom, hand painted wooden ID dog tags from Poland, @moontailstag. I have one for each of my dogs and they are truly miniature works of art.
It’s great how easily Dexter fits in well with your Bostons, Frances and Stinger. Did he immediately bond with them or did it take awhile?
It didn’t take any time for Dexter to bond with the Bostons. He loves all dogs since he has been going to doggy daycare since he was 4 months old. He is very gentle and sweet with puppies. Frances is very small so she is always nervous of getting trampled by Dexter (and Stinger)!
What instagram your followers should check out?
There are SO many wonderful IG accounts and I love them all for different reasons. Here are a few of my faves: @Totolino_16 is such a happy bright account with very creative content. I love @vieler.photography for his one of a kind photography skills. One of my friends has a new Frenchie puppy and he’s absolutely addicting, @theodore_jetadore. And @misstyflower, because who doesn’t love a trio of capuchins?!
What are your dog’s favorite daily activities?
Sting and Dex wrestle every night inside and play chase or ball outside. They all three enjoy going on a walk. Frances is a couch potato.
Tell me one cool fact about each dog.
Stinger is the alpha of the house, Dexter doesn’t know he is bigger and stronger which is probably a good thing! lol Dexter loves eating ice. Frankie “snake-bites” her the edge of her dog bed while she sleeps. There is always a wet spot!
What are 1-3 important things someone needs to consider before starting an instagram or other social media account featuring their dogs?
I would tell anyone starting a new IG account that the most important thing is lighting. It makes such a difference between an okay photo and a great one! You don’t need a fancy camera to take good pics, just a smartphone and a large window with natural light flooding the room. Get on doggy eye level, don’t stand and shoot down towards the dog. Lay on the floor if you have to!
What do you hope to accomplish in 2019, that you haven’t already with @ohmydoggies?
My goals for 2019: I want to cure Stinger of his poop eating problem, fingers crossed. I also want to learn Photoshop in 2019 so I can edit out leashes etc. I want to continue licensing my images of my sweet pups to be sold on postcards and magnets in Europe. Nothing makes me happier when someone DMs saying they received a birthday card of Frances and they recognized her from IG!
Photos are copyrighted and posted with permission of @ohmydoggies. Please do not repost without permission. Content edited for clarity and length.