Everyone knows that when you have a dog, they’re your best friend. (Unless you’re a cat person. You do you.) Another fact: Best friends do everything together, and sometimes, our loyal pups have to wait outside for us while we run a quick errand. Kind of like this:
If you haven’t heard of the Instagram account @waitingdogs, you have to check it out. (Don’t worry, we’ll still be here after you do.) The account documents dogs waiting outside for their owners all around the world, and we spoke to the creator, Natalie, about the inspiration behind the account.
HelloGiggles (HG): Where did the inspiration for the account come from?
Natalie: I moved to Stockholm in 2012 and, without much else to do at the time, spent most of my days walking and somewhat aimlessly exploring the city. On these walks, I started to notice many dogs waiting outside restaurants, cafés, grocery stores, shops, etc. I sent a few pictures of the pups I encountered to a friend in London and we began trading snaps of waiting dogs we found in our respective cities.
Eventually, I had a collection of photos too good not to share, so I started an Instagram account (@waitingdogs) which originally only featured the images taken by myself and my friend, but which grew to include submissions from folks everywhere, much to my amazement. Now it’s this sort of wonderful community of enthusiasts!
HG: Do you have dogs yourself?
Natalie: I do not have a dog of my own at the moment, much to my dismay. Chalk it up to a job that involves a little too much traveling and a strict lease. Definitely intending to change that in the next year or two, though. I did grow up with dogs and developed a bit of an obsession when I was young.
I had two heavy dog-centric encyclopedias identifying different breeds which I studied intently and amassed a collection of tiny glass dog figurines, which was my most prized possession. I lined them up along the dresser in my room (largest to smallest), named them all, and played with them way more than my Barbie dolls, as evidenced by the broken tails and legs which my mom lovingly superglued back on!
HG: What specifically about waiting dogs intrigued you and inspired the account?
Natalie: I think it’s the mixture of heartbreak and cuteness that inspired me to take pictures of the dogs I encountered. Even while waiting, they look so purposeful. Always on watch!
HG: How many submissions do you get on a daily basis?
Natalie: It really varies! On average, I would say 3-4. I have a giant backlog that I’m currently working through, though, so that helps on the days when there are fewer submissions.
HG: Why do you think people love the account so much?
Natalie: Hopefully for the same reasons I do! Each dog has such a distinct personality and I think the account captures them in a vulnerable, real state. Maybe that’s a bit heavy for something as light as Instagram, but it’s hard not to feel something for them! I also enjoy receiving submissions because I get to see dogs in different, sometimes unexpected, cities or locations.
HG: What have you learned about dogs and their owners from running this account?
Natalie: This is something so innately “dog,” but they really are fiercely loyal to their owners, which is very touching to me. When I’m taking their pictures, I always try to get the dog’s attention, but more often than not, it’s impossible; they’re so intent on looking out for their owner to return! There have been a few instances where I’m busy taking a photo of a pup and I’ll notice the dog’s tail starts wagging a bit, then their entire face lights up and I’ll look behind me and see the owner emerging from a shop. I think the devotion is what really gets me.
Also, while I’m a little embarrassed about being “busted” while taking their dog’s picture, the owners are always kinda proud of their dog for catching someone’s eye. Like, “Yeah, I know my dog is great.” It’s a sweet relationship.
Our personal favorite snapshot:
“I got bored.”