Tula, the pup-arazzo, is taking the Internet by storm. Equipped with a GoPro, she roams dog parks throughout the Twin Cities capturing behind-the-scenes looks at how dogs unwind. Her Instagram handle is fittingly-titled @caninehappyhour.
Every day, Tula provides her social media followers with vibrant photos of her and other dogs playing in the parks and venturing into the banks of the Mississippi River.
The GoPro that Tula carries on a harness is set to snap photos every half second. But only the cream of the crop makes it to her Instagram feed.
According to the Kixmoeller family, each trip to the dog park results in 7,000 to 11,000 photos.
“Typically, there’s one or two good ones from an hour at the park,” said Kim Otness in an interview with the Star Tribune.
These are the kinds of pictures that keep Tula’s 6,000 Instagram followers and more than 1,500 friends on Facebook coming back for more.
Where the Journey Began
The project was the brainchild of Susie Kixmoeller, Tula’s best friend and student at the Blake School.
“I’ve always loved taking pictures of Tula,” Susie told the Star Tribune. “She plays with so many dogs, but when I got close, they’d stop paying attention to each other and come over to me.”
So, she equipped Tula with her GoPro and sent the paw-parrazo on her first assignment in January.
But life wasn’t always so glamorous for Tula
A Troubled Past
Tula and some of her pup companions were found stuffed in a bird cage abandoned near St. Cloud, Minnesota. She was then put under the care of Second Chance Animal Rescue.
Tula ended up with a foster parent who was also a friend of the Kixmoeller family.
When the foster parent left on vacation, Tula was cared for at the Kixmoellers’ place, which became her new home.
Rise to Stardom
Before they ended up on social media, Tula’s photos were just sitting on digital memory. Then, Susie’s older sister Katie saw them and recommended the family submit them to media outlets like Buzzfeed.
“Since we had no idea what BuzzFeed even was and Susie was in the middle of midterms, Katie offered to put a BuzzFeed post together and submit it,” Otness said.
And that’s when things got viral.
Tula’s growing popularity has also put some pressure on Susie to keep her followers posted. Luckily for her, Susie’s parents are also running the operation.
“Since it’s gotten bigger and bigger, we feel the pressure to make the photos better,” Ken Kixmoeller said.
The Kixmoeller family says they’ve earned a few hundred dollars selling some of Tula’s photos to a news outlet. They are also considering publishing a book with her photos. The family says all proceeds will be donated toward rescue organizations.
“There are so many dogs out there that don’t have homes,” Susie said. “All they need is a willing owner. They’re going to love you so much.”