The prevalence of social media in our world today is often criticized as personal contact is replaced by text messages and Facebook statues. The thrill of living in the moment is clouded over by the need to publicize everyday happenings on Instagram or share them on Snapchat. Numerous articles and studies posit that technology only gives us the illusion of being part of a community, when in reality, it actually makes us more alone. While these points certainly contain some merit, here at the BarkPost, we are constantly amazed and humbled by the online dog community. This post profiles one of our own contributors – Emily Wang – as she shares her personal experience with the Instagram dog community.
In August of last year, Emily brought home a two-and-a-half month old American Eskimo named Kokoro. She soon faced every dog parent’s worst nightmare – a very sick puppy. The vet struggled to come up with an appropriate treatment plan and after several failed antibiotics and inconclusive x-rays, what began as a strong strain of kennel cough turned into pneumonia.
Worried about Kokoro and frustrated with the vet’s failed treatment, Emily turned to Instagram. An avid photographer, she created an Instagram account for her new puppy just for fun, but soon learned she was a part of something much larger. She posted Kokoro’s symptoms and followers immediately responded, offering wisdom and support. They shared tricks for relieving Kokoro’s cough – from using a harness instead of a collar to letting her soak up the steam from the shower to soothe her symptoms. Whenever Emily had a question, she could post it and receive helpful advice and often even spark a discussion among her followers.
Before joining the community, Emily was totally unaware of the thousands of accounts dedicated to dogs. She was amazed by the passion and camaraderie present in the community. After a very long six months, Kokoro overcame her illness. Emily was able to share this joy (and huge relief!) with her followers.
Through Instagram, Emily found an endless source of inspiration not only creatively, but also in witnessing the beautiful bond between pups and their parents present. With a healthy and happy Kokoro, Emily began conducting photo sessions. Kokoro learned new tricks and good behaviors (and according to Emily, plenty of treats and belly rubs, too!).
During their photo shoots, Emily and Kokoro strengthened their own relationship as well as sharing their precious moments with their online friends. Emily describes her photography style as minimalistic, reveling in the challenge of capturing life in the simplest way possible.
While it is easy to get bogged down in likes and followers, Emily hopes the community will remember to focus on what is truly important – participating in a creative venture while strengthening your relationship with both your pup and fellow dog lovers.
The online dog community shows no signs of slowing down, with new accounts appearing daily. Emily enjoys tracking the progress of accounts as they perfect their style and explore their creativity. She also never tires of watching puppies transform over the months from fluff balls to beautiful full-grown family members.
Emily explains her ultimate goal is “to create whimsical photos that warm our followers’ hearts…Kokoro’s name translates approximately to ‘soul’ in Japanese, and we named her that because she has so much of it – I try to capture that in each and every photo.”