We’ve all fallen victim to unflattering photos in the past. However, it’s probably fair to say that none of us have relied on those images to find us the perfect home. So when one rescue dog’s adoption advert pictures didn’t turn out as expected, no one knew if anyone would ever embrace his individuality.
In recent years, staff at San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC) have taken to using the power of social media. The group rescues stray, unwanted and mistreated animals before putting them up for adoption. So its Facebook page is often awash with photos of cute creatures seeking forever homes.
And the online approach seems to work. Talking about the concept to The Huffington Post in 2016, SFACC’s Deb Campbell explained, “Being able to showcase the shelter animals in beautiful – and yes, sometimes funny – photos inspires people to visit the shelter to adopt, even from distant cities.”
And the animals get the celebrity treatment as they enjoy their very own photo shoot. Plus, in general the images give an idea of the subject’s personality. Often the snaps feature seemingly smiling doggies, lolling tongues and curious-looking kitties.
So when the shelter received a Chihuahua in June 2016, staff gave him the usual special treatment. A photographer took a bunch of cute snaps of the pooch before posting them to SFACC’s Twitter page. Introducing the dog, an update read, “Adopt Carpe Diem and you will OWN #MyWeirdDog.”
And as was usual, the images then caught the eye of social media users. However, this time, there was barely a doe eye or a cheeky grin in sight. Instead, Carpe Diem’s images showed off his quirky personality in a range of hilarious photos.
“He’s a very silly little dog, not shivering like many little dogs,” Campbell revealed in a 2016 interview with Bored Panda. “He is very expressive. He is always happy and upbeat and excited about everything he sees and everyone he meets.”
And it turned out that Carpe Diem wasn’t in fact the most photogenic dog. Indeed, in his snaps he pulled a number of weird and wonderful facial expressions. But the candid photographs seemed to strike a chord with the online community.
Since they went live in July 2016, in fact, more than 1,000 users have retweeted the heartwarming pictures. And many people couldn’t resist commenting about how cute Carpe Diem was. “I want him so bad. Little adorable guy,” one tweeter cooed.
“Seeing his silly nature makes people smile, and the photos captured that,” Campbell later told The Huffington Post. “Who doesn’t like a smile in their day? Carpe Diem gave us that little gift every day during his stay with us.”
A kind stranger found Carpe Diem on the streets when he was just four months old. The Good Samaritan then took the pup to the San Francisco shelter. And it was there that staff would choose his unusual name.
“Carpe diem” is a Latin phrase which translates as “seize the day.” And the name seemed perfect for the little dog, Campbell told BuzzFeed in 2016. “[He] definitely seizes the day —and every opportunity — to make us smile and crack us up,” she added.
“He’s silly and teeny tiny,” Campbell continued. “He is one of the happiest dogs you’ll ever meet.” Meanwhile, a post on SFACC’s Facebook page went on to explain, “Darling little Carpe Diem is ready to seize his new life. This frisky, friendly pup loves to play with toys, get cuddles and give kisses!”
Carpe Diem seemed to have a lot going for him. However, despite his lovable looks, at first no one seemed to want him. But that’s when photographer Kelly Winquist stepped in to help.
And it seemed Winquist’s kind deed paid off. Among those to spot Carpe Diem’s photos online was Kimball Stone. The Oakland, California, woman had already taken in an SFACC dog named Jenkins in the past.
“Carpe Diem Has Left the Building,” a post on the SFACC Facebook page would announce in July 2016. “Hooray! Our little internet superstar Carpe Diem was adopted today. He went home with a canine brother Jenkins, who was adopted from ACC last year,” the update continued.
Stone renamed Carpe Diem “Turbo.” Then, in the weeks after his rescue, another update about Turbo appeared on SFACC’s Facebook page. “Little Chi pup Carpe Diem now has a new name and a new life,” it read.
“His name is now Turbo,” the post went on. “He’s loving his new life and his new brother. His adopter reports that he’s ‘easily the coolest Chihuahua I’ve ever met.’” And photos taken in the dog’s new home showed that he was happier than ever.
The sweet pup could be seen playing with his big brother and enjoying naps in the comfort of his own home. And what’s more, his family completely embraced all his little quirks. Speaking about one particularly endearing image of Turbo, Stone joked, “The cuteness. It burns!”
According to Campbell, Stone and Turbo are sure to have a very happy future ahead of them. “Who doesn’t like a smile in their day?” she told The Huffington Post. “Carpe Diem gave us that little gift every day during his stay with us.”