These dogs are inseparable and enjoy posing for photos together. Harlow, Sage, Indiana and Reese have captured the hearts of millions with their lovable and playful images.
They do everything together – cuddle, sleep, explore, play, dress up and goof off. Harlow the Weimaraner and her miniature dachshund buddies, Indiana and Reese, are the best of friends. Given the size difference between Harlow and the “doxies”, it may seem an unlikely alliance, but all you have to do is look at their pictures to see how well they get along and how much they enjoy each other’s company. In fact, their fun-filled photos have made them famous online and have even led to two books.
It all started when Brittni Vega got a miniature dachshund named Sage when she was 13. “My family has always raised dachshunds — my parents both grew up with them and knew all about the breed, their personalities and health issues.” Sage grew up with Brittni, and saw her through her teenage years, college, and finally marriage. “She was my best friend.”
After settling into married life, Brittni and her new husband Jeff decided to adopt another dog. “Harlow was a four-month-old pup living on a farm here in Utah. She had big, expressive eyes and even bigger ears! We fell in love with her, although we didn’t expect Sage to do the same. Sage hadn’t been around other dogs much and so we weren’t sure what to expect, but she bonded with Harlow the moment we brought her home.”
For the next five years, Sage and Harlow were inseparable. “They soon became popular after we started sharing pictures of them on Instagram and Facebook,” Brittni explains. “They had a genuine bond, which I think was apparent in most of the pictures we shared. A lot of people think we posed them in the cuddling pictures, but the cuddling all started with Sage. She always slept curled up next to Harlow or underneath her. Dachshunds love to be warm and to burrow, and Harlow was the perfect cuddle buddy for her!”
Sadly, Sage developed congestive heart failure and died in 2013 at the age of 13. Harlow was lost without her. “She was very sad. She looked everywhere for Sage and would pace around by the front door.”
To help ease Harlow’s grief, the couple brought home Indiana, another miniature doxie. For the first week or so, Harlow wanted nothing to do with the spunky little puppy, but before long, they became best buddies. “Indiana definitely cheered Harlow up and kept her busy, and she stopped looking for Sage. Indiana uses Harlow as a big pillow — they are always sleeping near one another. When Indiana was a tiny puppy, in fact, she would burrow so close to Harlow that we couldn’t find her!”
A year later, Reese joined the family to form the famous fun-loving and photogenic trio that fans are familiar with today. “We had never seen a miniature dachshund with her markings before, and we knew she was going to be very special.” Though Harlow loved Reese immediately, it took Indiana a few weeks to accept the newcomer. Before long, the three of them were happily adding to Brittni and Jeff’s growing collection of whimsical canine portraits.
Since the couple had been sharing their photos on Instagram and Facebook since before Sage’s passing, fans were able to follow the story from the start. “People witnessed Harlow’s story unfold: the loss of her best friend, Sage, and the introduction of two new friends, Indiana and Reese,” says Brittni. Over the years, their followers have risen to 1.2 million on Instagram and almost a quarter of a million on Facebook. “I think that because of their size differences, and the way they all get along, people are surprised by the friendship that has formed between them.
“A few months after Sage passed away, we were contacted about putting a book together to tell Harlow’s story,” Brittni adds. “We have since released two books with our publishing company Putnam Books: Harlow & Sage (and Indiana) and Harlow & Indiana (and Reese). We have done multiple book signings and a few local appearances. Events with all three dogs can be chaotic but it is so fun to meet people (and their dogs!) and get to know those who have followed our story.”
Brittni adds that she and Jeff also use their huge social media following as a way to promote animal adoption. “We share adoptable pets and help different animal welfare groups whenever we can. We have partnered with the ASPCA in the past to help spread awareness for animals in need of loving homes. The Humane Society of Utah is a fantastic local organization and we have been very lucky to work with them on different occasions. When we do book signings in Utah, they will bring adoptable dogs to the events. We also started an Instagram account called @harlowandfriends where we share adoptable pets from all over on a daily basis.”
A visit to the Harlow and Friends website also reveals a range of themed merchandise for fans of the canine buddies – along with art prints and the two books, there’s a calendar, mugs, t-shirts and iPhone cases, all featuring images of one or more of the dogs. “The inspiration behind everything has, of course, been the dogs — but also their fans,” Brittni says. “Jeff and I have tried to create everything people have asked for.”
Brittni admits it has been a surreal journey, but she and Jeff have loved every minute of it. “We feel thankful every single day for all our dogs. They have given us so much unconditional love, joy and happiness. We can’t imagine life without them! We feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to share both our photos and our story with the world.”