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Woman Shells Out Hundreds A Month On Her Pampered Pooches In Quest To Turn Them Into 'Dogfluencers'

Woman Shells Out Hundreds A Month On Her Pampered Pooches In Quest To Turn Them Into 'Dogfluencers'
PA Real Life/Collect

A beautician who splurges hundreds of pounds a month on her pampered pups and devotes hours every day to building their brand on Instagram has turned her dachshund divas into successful 'dogfluencers.'

When Juliana Maksimova, 39, first launched social media accounts for her beloved sausage dogs Dashi, one, and Lapka, eight months, she only expected them to gather a handful of followers.

But, within months, the cute canines have attracted nearly 2,000 fans, securing modeling gigs as brand ambassadors and making poochy pals amongst the dogfluencing elite.

Dashi (PA Real Life/Collect)

Juliana, of Birmingham, West Midlands, England said:

“The girls are very spoilt. I don't spend much on myself, but will always buy things for them, whether that's little outfits, toys, accessories or chews."
“It's the same as with kids—you go without so that they can have."

Juliana, who is married to 41-year-old warehouse worker Andrejs, has always adored animals, but for years lived in rented properties where they were not allowed.

Lapka as a puppy (PA Real Life/Collect)

So, when she bought her own place in 2018 she wasted no time in searching for the perfect pooch.

First, she found Dashi through a breeder in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, before getting her 'sister' Lapka closer to home in Birmingham.

Totally devoted to her dachshunds, she started following puppy-themed Instagram pages and, realizing the joy they brought to her newsfeed, set up an account of her own.

Juliana and Dashi (PA Real Life/Collect)

“It was never a goal to make my girls proper dogfluencers. I thought it would just be a fun place to share a few photos. But I ended up meeting this entire community of dog-owners."
“I have had the odd bit of negativity, but I just block those people and move on."
“Everyone else has been so lovely and supportive. We've even met up in real life for walks and things."

Dashi and Lapka (PA Real Life/Collect)

But, managing the account of two four-legged influencers on the rise is no mean feat, according to Juliana, who spends hours every day perfecting the pups' profile and building their online presence.

Never camera shy, they have been trained to sit for photos and have their pouting poses licked.

She said:

“They are really well trained. I started from pretty much day one. It's important for them to start learning commands early so they come naturally."
“Both the girls know all the basic commands like sit, stay and heel. They also both go to puppy obedience school – although that's on hold at the moment, due to the coronavirus lockdown."
“The commands come in handy when I need them to pose for photos. They're perfectly happy staying still while I snap away, as they know a treat is coming if they do."
“If we're outside, it can be harder to get a decent photo, as there are so many distractions. But, sometimes, I won't get the picture I want and I can't force them to stay still at the end of the day!"

Juliana, Lapka and Dashi (PA Real Life/Collect)

Even though Dashi and Lapka's profile is packed with hundreds of photos, Juliana said snapping perfect pictures is the easy part, compared to the time devoted to engaging with other accounts.

She continued:

“Running their Instagram takes ages. I'll spend at least a couple of hours a day on it—though during lockdown, that's quite a good thing, as it's given me something to do, and a connection to the outside world."
“Editing and uploading the pictures takes a few seconds, but for your profile to be a success, you have to be visible. That means engaging with lots of other profiles, posting to your Stories and Live feeds, liking and commenting on other posts—it's a surprising amount of work."

Dashi with her pet passport (PA Real Life/Collect)

Luckily, Juliana's efforts have paid off as, while Dashi and Lapka are relative newcomers to the scene, they have already secured ambassador roles with four different brands.

Juliana continued:

“Lots of brands do this thing called brand representatives, where they find people to promote their products online."
“I saw a few looking for dog models, so decided to go for it, and they got it."

Dashi and Lapka (PA Real Life/Collect)

“The girls are brand reps for four brands at the moment—two bandana brands, and two accessories ones."
“The way it works is that people get freebies in exchange for posting online, promoting the brand to their followers. The girls also have their own discount codes people use, and if we get a certain amount used, we get freebies."
“We've had some great stuff already—food, toys, accessories—but I have been asked to promote things I have no use for, which I say no to as it's important to be honest."

Dashi on her first birthday (PA Real Life/Collect)

With aspirations of one day joining Instagram's elite, where dogfluencers boast thousands of followers, Juliana continues to build her brand, and pamper her pooches—the oldest of which even has her own doggy passport, which she used on a holiday to Latvia last year.

Juliana said:

“I love spoiling the girls. Dashi turned one in December and we threw her a proper party, with a little cake and new birthday outfit."
“We'd planned more but she was sick at the time with a phantom pregnancy, and on medication, and so couldn't do everything we had hoped for. We'll do the same for Lapka when she turns one, too."

Dashi and Lapka (PA Real Life/Collect)

“They are polar opposites personality-wise. Dashi is very protective and follows me everywhere. She is quite timid and barks every Thursday at 8pm when people clap the NHS."
“Lapka on the other hand is more chilled, and not fazed by anything."
“We may not have as many followers as some of the bigger accounts, but I am happy to dedicate time to building their page. And I am sure my doggy divas are bringing a bit of joy to newsfeeds out there."

Follow the pooches on Instagram @dashi_and_lapka_dachshunds