If you haven't heard of it, which is shameful in itself, dogshaming.com is a photo blog featuring real dogs doing real deeds. The owners hang signs around the dogs' necks explaining the scenario, snap a picture, and submit it. Totally simple, and completely genius. I set out to do a simple "check this out" post about Dog Shaming. I looked over the site's legal mumbo jumbo to make sure I wouldn't be sued if I said I liked it, which seems to be the current trend in society. All I had to do was get permission in writing to use any anything, so I sent a simple email stating that I'd love to "spread the word about your awesome site," expecting to receive a form letter back listing the endless things I wouldn't be allowed to do.
Instead, I got a personal response back from who I now know to be the site's creator, Vancouver-based Pascale Lemire. She didn't give me any rules, but, instead, invited me to inquire further with her personally, if I wished to do so. No restrictions. Every exchange with this creative, witty woman was delightful. Considering the notoriety she's received about her viral creation, I was, quite frankly, shocked and thrilled to be chatting with her. I told her I thought she'd have "people" to field my type of inquiries. Not so. But I'm predicting that might soon be the case, so I feel like I was pretty damn lucky to get in when I did.
After lamenting about our mutual troublesome experience with wiener dogs, we got down to it.
WM: How did you get the idea to start Dog Shaming?
PL: Dog Shaming started one night when my boyfriend, Mike, and I were in bed reading on our tablets when we heard chewing coming from under the bed. Mike (my now husband) reached out and pulled Beau (our rescue wiener dog) out from under the bed. We realized he'd been chewing on Mike's underwear. We burst out laughing and snapped a picture with a sign beside him, and I posted it to my personal tumblr blog. Within 24 hours, people had blogged and reblogged the picture over and over. So Mike urged me to start a Web site. The rest is history!
WM: What is it with rescue wiener dogs and underwear? Mine redesigned me some risqué underwear, that's for sure!
PL: I have no idea! They do seem to be the most troublesome breed I've found. That and pitbulls...the biggest troublemakers!
WM: So you do see trends with certain breeds. What is the most common submission you receive?
PL: I've gotten weary of the "I have no shame" and the "sorry, not sorry" types of submissions. I never get tired of the dogs, but sometimes the signs are lacking in creativity. The eating poop, socks, and underwear has been done to death.
WM: Since you've been doing this for several months, now, do the submissions still make you laugh?
PL: Every once in a while a REALLY good one comes around.
WM: Do you have any favorites you'd like to share?
PL: Hmmmm...I love the double trouble posts. Like these:
WM: Hilarious! This is my go-to site when I need a laugh. It always delivers. Can you tell me about your pets? Do they ever appear on Dog Shaming?
PL: Of course! Beau and Dasha are my rescue wiener dogs. They're both black and tan, so people often mistake them for siblings. They often make appearances when I'm reaching out to our readers. Our logo is also Beau's face. Here's a recent post with their photograph:
WM: Congratulations on your upcoming book release!
PL: We just released the book cover. The book comes out in September.
WM: What an exciting time for you! Please tell me about your book.
PL: The Dog Shaming book is set to come out in late September and will be a collection of never-before seen material! It will be a coffee table book that amalgamates all the best Dog Shaming submissions I've received over the past months.
WM: That is fantastic. When did you start the site?
PL: August 2012.
WM: When you started the site, what were your expecations?
PL: I really had no expectations. I thought it was a cute idea, and then people kept sending more and more submissions!
WM: What percentage make the cut?
PL: About 5-10% only.
WM: Wow. So how much time do you spend working on the site? Do you have another job?
PL: I spend about five hours a day working on submissions. It's my full-time gig. I used to work as an administrative assistant for a credit union.
WM: You help with dog adoptions through the site. Can you tell me more about that?
PL: Adoptable Fridays is a weekly event where people can submit dogs they're fostering or from their shelters for adoption. Of course, the same rules apply: They need to have a sign and be funny. I have been able to match over forty readers with adoptable dogs over the span of this endeavor. It's really satisfying to know that my efforts pay off and I'm doing something to help the community out.
WM: Absolutely. Great job! What do you like to do when you're not busy shaming dogs?
PL: I love walking with my dogs and reading. I spend a decent amount of time on the internet, so Dog Shaming seemed like the perfect fit.
WM: Aside from a good belly laugh, what do you think your site brings to people? Why do you think it has gone viral?
PL: I think people can relate to Dog Shaming. People see things and behaviors that their dogs have done, and it makes them glad to know they're not alone. When I started this Web site, I thought I was the only one who had dogs that liked to lick my legs fresh out of the shower.
WM: I agree. The posts are so relatable! What is your vision for the future of Dog Shaming?
PL: I hope our loyal readers will keep making this site great. It's really a group effort to keep the site fresh and entertaining.
WM: Thank you so much for speaking with me.
PL: Absolutely! I'm always available.
Pascale's generosity of time and candid nature ensure that she'll be around for a long time to come. I'm betting that her being "always available" might be a more difficult feat to achieve.