Instagram is one of our favorite social media networks around. It’s not always about the latest news; people share images of the things they do throughout the day. They share pictures of the places they visit, the things they eat, and of course, pictures of the companions who live with them.
When we began using Instagram in November 2013, we noticed unique, quality pictures of a dog and she quickly got our attention. Little by little we got to know her through the pictures. We saw her adventures at Echo Park Lake, in downtown Los Angeles, in Elysian, on the streets, in parks, everywhere. Each picture was creative, detailed, clear, and precise. Each picture looked fun, and the dog’s personality showed through each one.
The account, @adognamedvenice, had a simple description:
Venice is a rescue, found on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles. She now lives a comfy life exploring LA–but this time on a leash.
Maybe it was that the pictures were great, or that people were drawn to the Venice being a rescue dog, or that Venice looked so happy after perhaps a rough start. But with every new picture, the account’s followers increased. And we soon learned that Venice lived in Echo Park, Los Angeles. She is an Echo Park pet!
So we contacted Venice’s owners, Melissa and Micaela, and got some details about Venice’s story and her Instagram pictures. Enjoy! (ps–check out a bonus video at the end.)
Note: all pictures’ copyrights remain with @adognamedvenice and the original publishers of these photographs.
Thank you for being part of our interview about Venice! On your Instagram account, you simply mention a brief description about the 5 year old pit and cattle mix, and how she was found on Venice blvd in LA. But now that we can ask more, what’s the story of Venice?
Venice was at Fur Baby (a no-kill animal rescue group in DTLA) for over a year. Because she was there for so long, we heard several different stories. One is that she was found on Venice Beach, and another volunteer told us she was found waiting to be let in at the shelter door. The most common story was that she was roaming Venice Blvd near downtown, so we tend to stick with that one. We also kept her name!
How did you first come across Venice, and how was the process of taking her in? Did you first foster, or completely adopt?
We stumbled upon her at one of Fur Baby’s monthly adoption events. We weren’t actively looking for a dog, but ended up fostering her for a few months, and then decided to adopt her.
Is Venice the only dog you own? If yes, how long had it been since you had a dog before Venice?
Although we both grew up with dogs, she’s the first dog we’ve had as adults.
What was it about Venice that made you go after her…what in particular?
We first thought Venice was a puppy because she’s only 35 pounds and very energetic. Once we found out she was full-grown, she seemed like the perfect sized dog for an apartment. She also seemed very intelligent. She has those giant, alert ears and makes intense eye contact. We thought she’d be great at activities like obedience, agility and hiking. It turned out to be true!
How long after having her did you decide to open an Instagram account for her pictures? Had you used Instagram before?
We’ve had Venice for four years. Last Fall, I was taking a beginning photography class, and Venice turned out to be the perfect model for some assignments. Micaela would often join me, and started taking photos as well. We wanted a way to share the photos and continue practicing photography. After some friends opened Instagram accounts for their dogs, we decided to give it a try.
Your pictures are amazing, both because of content and because of quality. What type of camera do you use for your pictures?
We use an iPhone 5S and a DSLR (Nikon D3200).
You’ve mentioned that Venice needs to walk a lot, to get her energy out. What are her favorite places, in and around Echo Park?
We walk Venice 4-5 miles a day, so she knows Echo Park well. Her favorite places to walk are around Echo Park Lake and Elysian Park. Echo Park is full of dog lovers, and Venice has made quite a few friends along the way. Eric’s Architectural Salvage leaves dog biscuits and water outside, so Venice often drags us in that direction. When they aren’t open, she lies down near the door and refuses to walk without getting her treat. She’s also made friends with the firefighters at Fire Station 20.
Her other favorite dog-friendly stops include Kien Gang Bakery, The Brite Spot, Gigi’s Bakery, Fix Coffee and Lucy’s Laundromat.
When deciding to stop for a picture, is Venice good at staying put as it looks in the picture, or is it actually difficult to take a good photograph? How long would you say you take with each picture?
It’s definitely a two-person job. Venice knows how to “stay” very well, but the challenging part is getting her to look at the camera. She’s a master contortionist when it comes to avoiding it! It typically takes a few tries and a couple of treats before we get a good one. Often times, it’s just luck!
What’s the main message you want your account and Venice’s pictures to convey? And how long do you see yourself adding pictures on IG?
We hope followers will simply enjoy seeing bits of Venice’s daily life. Along the way, we’ve realized that it’s an opportunity to show people how amazing rescue dogs can be. If someone visits a shelter or rescue group for their next pet because of Venice, we’d be proud of that. As long as Venice doesn’t chew up our cameras, we’ll keep going.
Lastly, you mentioned you’ve lived in Echo Park for four years. How did you end up in the neighborhood, and what made you choose it?
It’s centrally located and you can walk to everything you need. The lake was also a big draw.
Bonuts: Young Venice is Shown for Adoption
The following video is a clip of Venice on the local news. This clip is from March 2010 and it features a pet ready for adoption, Venice, months before Melissa and Micaela adopted her in August 2010. Venice had been in a shelter for about a year before she was rescued. “Looking back at this, we can see why a lot of people passed her up. She was hyper and out of control,” the owners mentioned, “but nothing that a lot of exercise and training couldn’t fix.”[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UERzIzGgl0&rel=0]
35 pound sack of rice, eh?
If you see Venice walking by Sunset Blvd, Echo Park Avenue, or at Echo Park Lake, say hello! As long as she is not posing for her next picture, of course.
If you enjoyed these pictures and story, be sure to follow @adognamedvenice for more Venice’s adventures. Melissa and Micaela are talented photographers, and you can also find Melissa’s pet portraits in her other account, @melissamartellart.
Thank you Melissa and Micaela for the interview!
What did you think of Venice’s pictures and story?
All of Venice’s pictures and their copyrights remain with the original publishers of these photographs.