Meet Tugger, a canine social media star with a special zest for life.
Move over, Biebs. There’s a new Facebook phenomenon in town. He’s blonde, muscular and his infectious grin is capturing the hearts of thousands of fans every day. Meet Tugger, social media’s newest darling and the star of TuggerTails, the Facebook page that follows the antics of this adventure-loving yellow Lab as he runs, jumps and now dances his way through life.
Human mom Brennan Clipp knew early on she was in for something special with Tugger, who got her attention, and subsequently his moniker, from insistently pulling on her pant leg.
“Tugger has an energy level that I have never experienced with a dog,” laughs Brennan. “I’ve had Labs my entire life and they were energetic, but on a scale of one to ten, Tugger is a 12. He has so much enthusiasm, and such an adventurous spirit.”
Brennan knew she had to channel Tugger’s energy in the right direction. After bringing this cute Lab home, she immediately enrolled him in puppy socialization classes. She took a positive training approach right from the start and quickly discovered that Tugger loved to “work”, especially in agility, and excelled in a variety of sports.
Brennan knew she had to share Tugger’s love of life with others so she started a Facebook page, TuggerTails, which now boasts over 400,000 fans and climbing. The page is narrated in Tugger’s voice and almost every morning he greets his fans with a hearty, “Hello TuggerTroopies! It’s a beautiful day in TuggerTown!”
The page is filled with amazing photos of Tugger’s daily adventures that showcase his healthy and active lifestyle, as well as his good nature.
Tugger gets along well with almost any dog he meets and has several good buddies that he plays with on a weekly basis. This rambunctious pack meets at a dog park, lake, or Tugger’s training center, What a Great Dog. It’s like a little doggy social club.
In addition to lots of exercise, natural nutrition is a big part of Tugger’s life. Along with a well-balanced dog food, Tugger receives fish oil, probiotics, and coconut oil, which Brennan believes has cured his allergies. Of course, healthy treats are often used as training awards, and Tugger loves cake from the dog food bakery. Little does he know the “cake” is actually good for him!
When he’s not hanging with his pals, Tugger is engaged in competitive obedience, rally practice, and agility. He is also quite the twinkle toes and does canine freestyle dancing with Brennan. “We’ve been working on our Tugger Two-Step and we’re hoping to compete next year,” she says.
While he loves most sports, Tugger’s favorite pastime is swimming. “Whether it’s his cement pond, the ocean, a river, lake, pond, big puddle after the rain or a fountain – if there is water, Tugger wants to be in it,” Brennan explains. And that’s a-okay with his human mom, who loves to spend time with Tugger at the beach.
While Tugger certainly succeeds at being the star of his show, sometimes his foster brother, Beau, takes the spotlight. Animal rescue is something that has always been important to Brennan so when Duck Team 6, a local rescue organization, called about fostering a Labrador no one else could take, she agreed to try and help. The rescue dog, Beau, was so unresponsive and terrified he wouldn’t even walk. He had to be carried out of his kennel and refused to engage in any human contact.
When he arrived at Brennan’s, Beau was terrified and shut down. But Tugger went right to work. The first few days, Tugger sat by Beau’s crate and stayed with him all night. Beau started to come around, began to eat, and within two days, the two dogs were out in the yard playing together. A week later, Beau let Brennan pet him, even giving her some tail wags. It was an incredible time, says Brennan. “Tugger was so patient with Beau; he would sit for hours and bring him toys, share his bones with him and really taught him how to be a trusting dog again.”
Thanks to Tugger’s special brand of therapy and Brennan’s positive training methods, Beau is now a healthy, active dog. Brennan is even considering taking her Lab’s skill set to the next level – as a therapy dog for children. The two are already involved with an organization called Patriot Paws Service Dogs, where they regularly witness the healing effects canines have on people with post traumatic stress disorder and other disabilities. Helping children just seems a natural next step for this “can-do” team.
While Tugger may be an internet sensation, he’s definitely not just another pretty face. He exudes wellness and an attitude people admire in any species. There are even talks of a Tugger children’s book and a Tugger television show. For now, though, we’ll tune into TuggerTails to see what this adventurous, inspiring spirit has in store for us next.
Brennan’s relationship with Tugger is more than just fun and games. Raising a healthy dog takes work. “Tugger has a tremendous amount of drive and if he wasn’t active and didn’t have the training, that energy would most likely come out in an adverse way and he would be destructive,” explains Brennan. “Many people don’t understand that dogs need to have their bodies and minds exercised. Most ‘bad’ behavior happens simply because the dogs don’t have an outlet for all their energy.”