Meesha Kauffman leaned forward, tilting her camera toward her 2-year-old Chihuahua, Bruce Wayne, who was sporting a snazzy blue-and-white checked jacket.
“Sit still,” Kauffman said, and he obliged, looking straight at the lens.
It’s clear he loves the camera, and the camera loves him.
The black-and-white pooch (@ipartywithbrucewayne) has amassed more than 40,000 followers on Instagram, all because of Kauffman’s devotion to photographing him. Named for Batman’s secret identity, there are plenty of pictures of Bruce in Batman-themed attire, among other custom outfits.
Now, Kauffman, of Baltimore, is using Bruce’s Instagram fame to raise money for the Maryland SPCA for the 2016 March for the Animals, a 1.5 mile walk-a-thon and festival around Druid Hill Park.
She’s the captain of the Baltimore IG Pups, a team of local pet owners and their dogs who met on Instagram.
Kauffman’s goal was initially to raise $500 for the April 24 event, but the team has raised more than $1,500 as of mid-month.
“It has been amazing. I have met so many friends (on Instagram) who have become real life friends now,” said Kristen Mills of Edgewood, the owner of Pablo the Chihuahua (@therealpablochihuahua).
“And it’s nice to have friends who don’t think we’re crazy,” Mills added with a smile.
Other pack members include Stacey Hearn of Severna Park, whose bulldog Clementine is @_darlin_clementine, and Katy Housen of Baltimore, owner of Bruno (@bmorebrunothebulldog).
“It’s definitely brought us together, with the end goal of helping the SPCA,” Housen said.
Check out my and my new lady friend! @_darlin_clementine and I both have a thing for treats! I had a great time hanging with the whole pack today, including @therealpablochihuahua and @ipartywithbrucewayne...somehow I only made it home with photo evidence of me hanging with Clementine because SOMEONE was afraid I'd eat the Chis if not closely monitored. Geez. #itsnottheeating #itsthesittingonimworriedabout #bmorebruno #bmoreIGpups Just a reminder to check out the awesome contest that @_darlin_clementine is hosting to help raise funds for our pack for the @mdspca's March for the Animals!
The group is definitely an odd mix, especially for a walk-a-thon, Housen added.
“None of these dogs are the most athletic breeds,” she said.
But they are breeds with a loyal following, which their owners say is one reason they’ve become so popular on Instagram.
“Hashtagging helps a lot,” said Hearn, who also has two other dogs, a pug and a puggle. Clementine has almost 7,000 followers and frequently is re-grammed to other bulldog pages, she said.
Responding to messages from fans has also helped, pack members said.
The love from followers is apparent.
“Oh I just LOVE this!!!! Double the cuteness and double awesome shirts moms!” one Instagram user wrote on a recent picture of Bruce Wayne and Pablo posted on Bruce Wayne’s account. Kauffman and Mills were both wearing shirts with pictures of Chihuahuas on them.
You know it's going to be a good interview when you and @therealpablochihuahua show up matching! ? #WeBothHaveCrazyDogMoms ? #ButAGreatTasteInFashion ? #ChiestaFiesta ? ____ Candy Cane Power Tie: @dressedbyfinn ____ Thank you to my @mdspca March for the Animals pack members @therealpablochihuahua, @bmorebrunothebulldog and @_darlin_clementine for coming out and being part of the @abc2news interview! ? More pack pictures to come ? ________________________________________
Pack members are giving away a backpack full of dog goodies on Instagram as a way to encourage donations. Anyone who makes a $5 donation to the Maryland SPCA and sends a pack member a screen shot of the donation will be entered into a drawing, which will take place after the walk. Visit any of the dog’s Instagram accounts for more details.
♥?♥?♥?♥? HEY FRIENDS!!!! DO YOU WANT TO WIN THIS PRETTY BACK PACK FULL OF ALL THESE GOODIES???? PLUS A UNISEX BANDANA SCARF (not pictured) that was graciously donated by @a.starry.knight AND A UNISEX POLKA DOT BOW TIE HAND MADE AND DONATED BY @cleverclementine (also not yet pictured) WELL I am participating in the March for the Animals 4/24 with my pack team mates:::: @ipartywithbrucewayne @therealpablochihuahua and @bmorebrunothebulldog We are trying to raise money for the SPCA!! To have your name entered in a drawing to win all these yummies please make a minimum donation of $5 by clicking the link in my bio or visiting this link ???? http://support.mdspca.org/site/TR?team_id=1093&fr_id=1040&pg=team ???????????? THEN DM ME A SCREENSHOT OF YOUR CONFIRMATION ?????????? I WILL DRAW A WINNING NAME SUNDAY NIGHT, 4/24/16 after the March, so Sunday afternoon will be the cut off point. PLEASE PLEASE DONATE IF YOU CAN FRIENDS. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! LOVE TO YOU ALL!!! TAG A FRIEND!!!! ????????????????????????????IF YOU CANT DONATE MAYBE YOU WOULD HELP AND REPOST THIS FOR ME??? I WOULD BE EVER SO GRATEFUL ?
The pack has also organized a fundraiser through MoJo’s Morsels, which sells all-natural pet treats. Through April 18, use the promo code BWSCPA for a 5 percent discount, and $1 for every bag purchased will be donated to the Maryland SPCA on behalf of Baltimore IG Pups.