Whether he’s posing for a style photo or drinking all-natural smoothies, this famous red miniature poodle is one quirky – and lucky – dog!
Meet New York City’s most unique pooch. In a city that embraces originality, Cookie is the perfect fit. This red miniature poodle with the cool sense of style has charmed his way into the social media spotlight, and is the darling of devoted fans all over the world. Unlike most members of the canine species, Cookie doesn’t have much interest in sniffing around at the dog park, chewing toys, or socializing with others of his kind. Instead, he enjoys a pampered, holistic lifestyle thanks to his person, Olia Saunders, a lifestyle and vegan food photographer and stylist. He likes to wear glasses. He likes to model in his “mom’s” style shots. And yes, he likes smoothies!
Olia adopted Cookie from a foster home when he was just nine weeks old. “He was born in a puppy mill in Kansas,” she says, adding that his past definitely played a role in shaping his personality. “He has a strong case of separation anxiety,” she says. “If I stand more than a few feet away from him, he becomes extremely upset.” Cookie is also afraid of stairs and crates.
But despite these understandable issues, Cookie has come a long way from his puppy mill days. He has some very unique qualities, not least of which is that he is unusually large for a miniature poodle. He also has a lot of “human” tendencies. “Cookie’s trainer said he doesn’t identify himself as a dog,” she says. “He doesn’t like getting wet and never goes swimming, even if it’s scorching hot out. And he won’t drink or eat anything from dog bowls. It has to be a glass or a ceramic bowl for humans!” To add to his quirkiness, Cookie also partakes in popular urban health trends. “He loves all kinds of fruits and veggies and is addicted to juices and smoothies,” says Olia. “If I happen to leave a glass with fresh pressed juice on our coffee table, he’ll come and drink from it.”
A few months after they adopted Cookie, Olia’s daughter, Lara, created an Instagram account for him called “Pumpkin and Sunshine” after her and Cookie’s nicknames (she has since changed the account name to “ps.ny”). “Lara didn’t think of making him a celebrity,” says Olia. “She just wanted to post funny photos and videos.” But Cookie’s Instagram took off quickly, gaining 70,000 followers in the first year alone. That figure has since more than doubled, and Cookie also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on the website he shares with Olia and Lara, who is an accomplished photographer like her mom.
One look at the photos Olia and Lara share and it’s easy to see why Cookie has become so admired. He makes the perfect canine model, whether he’s perching happily in front of a bowl of fresh berries; relaxing under a fluffy duvet with glasses and a book; wrapped in colorful coats and scarves; or lounging in the garden with a smoothie. His contented demeanour makes it clear that he was destined for a glamorous lifestyle in the Big Apple, living a life of luxury most dogs only dream of.
So it’s no surprise that Cookie’s popularity didn’t stop at social media. “In 2015, he was featured on several international TV shows, radio stations, and blogs, and we had a few collaborations with various brands,” says Olia. But Cookie didn’t really enjoy the attention. “It became quite overwhelming for us and I decided to pull back. I wasn’t interested in making Cookie a star and taking him to all possible events and photoshoots, especially because he’s quite shy by nature.” Instead, Olia did what was best for Cookie and opted for a life outside the limelight, though with nearly 150,000 Instagram followers and counting, Cookie will never have any shortage of social media fans.
Cookie’s fame has inspired Olia to get involved with community rescue groups, including the ASPCA and the Humane Society of New York. She is also an advocate for all-natural raw diets for pets, so on top of being one of the best-dressed dogs on social media, Cookie may also be one of the best-fed! “I only feed Cookie human-grade organic homemade food, consisting of mostly raw turkey and lots of vegetables,” says Olia. “I add enzymes, probiotics, nutritional yeast, mashed greens, herbs and coconut oil to his meals.
“I’m convinced that most diseases are nutrition-based and I’m very strict about his diet,” she adds. Also a big believer in holistic and preventative medicine, Olia takes every precaution she can in order to avoid giving Cookie any unnecessary vaccines. “I try to avoid any conventional medicine. Cookie is very healthy and fit and I hope he stays this way for a very long time!”
Indeed, Cookie is living proof that a little indulgence can make a big difference in a dog’s life, regardless of his background. “He’s unbelievably affectionate and cuddly,” says Olia, who admits that despite his shyness, he nevertheless poses for every camera he sees. “He’s extremely attached to us and is always by my side. Yet he’s also super sensitive to anyone around him, and will always offer his love and kisses to someone in need.”
Find Cookie online
Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.