With 1.8 million followers, “Marnie the Dog” is Instagram’s most popular American pup, due in part to her very unique appearance. The little Shih Tzu’s head is permanently and adorably tilted, an appearance only enhanced by her too-long chronically lolling tongue. Marnie’s become so popular, she may well oust Maru Taro, the most famous dog in the world on Instagram. Quite the feat for a pup that’s risen to stardom from being a shelter dog nicknamed “Stinky.”
Her owner, Shirley Braha, happened to adopt Marnie during a dark time in her own life: Shortly after bringing the fluffy little lady home, she’d been fired from her job as producer and found herself wondering about her future during that cold Connecticut winter, collecting unemployment and unsure of where the coming months would find her. Braha took solace in documenting Marnie’s entrance into her life on Instagram, little did she know that her previously down-on-her-luck doggy would prove to be the source of the very luck Braha needed. Three years later, Marnie’s a certified celebrity, a fact that’s crystal clear if one even glances at her Instagram, . The one of a kind lil’ gal can be seen posing with A-listers from all genres, and she’s spent her fair share of time making television appearances as well, where she is clearly the one getting top billing. After all, how many dogs can claim that Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton reached out to them for a photo op?
Braha is very careful with Marnie’s image, refusing photos from even the biggest names if she disagrees with their values or lifestyles—she made sure to avoid even a request from Chris Brown when they found themselves seated near the musician at Coachella. Her former career as a producer has served her and Marnie well as the Shih Tzu’s popularity has exploded. Braha has no qualms about managing a dog’s career, just so long as she considers it managed well, and meeting her own very high standards.
It’s astonishing to think that this little ready-made celebrity sat for four months, unwanted and unclaimed in an animal shelter before Braha found her. And while Braha may have rescued the then-odiferous Marnie, it’s clear that Shirley considers that rescue to be mutual. “It’s good that I don’t have to hang out with other people out of sheer loneliness,” she explained to the New Yorker. “I always have someone to hang out with.” Braha continues, “I’ve never found my soulmate, but I found my animal soulmate… maybe, if I didn’t have the dog, I’d have literally nothing.”
Braha, at 33, is quite a bit younger in people years than Marnie is in dog years. After three years of bliss with her devoted owner, the fluffball is now 13 years old—a senior citizen in the dog community. But she seems to have no desire to slow down any time soon; Braha takes Marnie everywhere. And the little dog doesn’t just enjoy it, “she demands it,” her owner-slash-agent gushes. It’s easy to believe, too, when one looks into Marnie’s perpetually smiling face and huge button eyes.