The ongoing discussion about whether the invention of the World Wide Web has been a good thing or a bad thing for humankind will never be settled, and Instagram is one of the most contentious platforms for debate. While seeing images of apparently ‘perfect’ lives can induce feelings of envy or failure in some people, it’s important to remember there’s just as much (if not more!) inspiring and life affirming content out there to scroll through. And the best of it most definitely contains animals! So while you’re enjoying some downtime this summer, dive into Instagram and feel the smile spread across your face as you discover these adorable creatures …
1.3 million followers
Started in 2015 by college student Matt Nelson, WeRateDogs gets people to send photos of their dogs then posts the photos with a rating and a humorous comment. Dogs are supposed to be rated on a scale of one to ten, but are invariably given ratings in excess of this, such as “13/10”. The account has become so popular that Matt has two part-time staff working for him, one of whom is tasked with sorting through the thousands of dog photos sent to them each day. The other manages the online shop, which sells clothing for humans and dogs, plus small gifts like stickers, mugs and a calendar.
A recent Internet sensation, this account is run by Christina Hunger, an American speech-language pathologist who discovered how dogs can talk! She lives in California with her fiancé Jake and their dog Stella, who is the star of this show. Stella is a spunky and super smart one-year-old Catahoula/Blue Heeler cross and has been learning to ‘talk’ since she was 2-months-old. Christina set up a series of buttons on a board at floor level that are programmed to say individual words. Stella communicates by pressing these 29 different words with her paw and can even combine them to make short sentences. Watching the videos of Stella letting her owners know what she wants is utterly fascinating and makes you think twice about what you say in front of your own pets!
1.6 million followers
There’s an exception to every rule in life, and Henry and Baloo prove that dogs and cats aren’t natural enemies. In fact these two go everywhere together, with Baloo hitching a ride on Henry’s back and the two of them snuggling up together at every opportunity. It truly is the kind of thing you wouldn’t believe until you see it for yourself. Both animals were adopted by their human owners, Cynthia and Andre, who moved to mountainous Colorado on a whim to escape their city life. Henry (a large and lanky German Shepherd, Husky, Boxer, Staffordshire Terrier and Aussie mix) was the first pet on the scene, and soon took to the hiking life that the active couple love. Two years later, after much searching for an ‘adventure cat’ that would fit into their lifestyle, they found Baloo (a Siamese), who soon adopted an unusual sleeping position – on Henry’s head! The pair became inseparable and now go hiking and camping with the humans, with Cynthia’s passion for photography making for an excellent Instagram feed.
2.9 million followers
Juniper is a 3-year-old tame North American red fox living out her life in a home full of rescued exotics. Juniper was the runt of a litter born in captivity and is descended from fur-farm foxes, which have over 4,000 genetic differences to differences to their wild counterparts, meaning they can’t be released into the wild. She lives a happy, full life with her loving adoptive family and there are plenty of great snaps of all the other animals that live with the family, making for some heartwarming scrolling.
This Melbourne-based charity may not have many social media followers but they do have an abundance of adorable assistance dogs and photos to make you sigh with delight. Dogs for Kids was established with the aim of changing the lives of children and young adults with special needs through the provision of assistance and companion dogs. Most of the dogs they breed and train are Labradors, who go on to live with a child who may face physical or intellectual challenges or an autism spectrum disorder. And if looking at the gorgeous photos isn’t enough for you, the good news is you can volunteer to be a puppy raiser and really get hands on!
2 million followers
Even if you’ve never taken a fancy to cats, you’d be hard pressed to resist this beauty! An American tortoiseshell cat whose face is half black and half ginger, with one sparkling green eye and one dazzling blue eye, she’s one mesmerising feline! Now almost ten-years-old, Venus is a scientific mystery, with even geneticists having trouble deciding exactly how she turned out the way she did. Regardless, her owners say she is not only adorable and completely photogenic, but also very well behaved, and doesn’t even scratch the furniture. Now that’s a genetic lotto win if ever there was one!