Just over a year ago, Pascale Lemire was working in the banking industry, casually blogging, and chasing after her dachshunds. A pair of underwear changed everything.
After her dog Beau devoured the underwear of her then-fiancé Mike, Pascale decided to take the transgression to Tumblr. Pascale posted a picture of a guilty-looking Beau next to the damaged drawers with a sign reading, “I am an underwear eating jerk.”
Within 24 hours, she received 1000 notes and saw several rebloggers post similar photos.
And so the phenomenon of “dog shaming” was born.
Last month, the concept of dogshaming.com was turned into a book. So you can put the funniest canine faux paws on your coffee table. That is, until your dog eats it.
When did you realize this could become a lasting Internet phenomenon?
I still don’t know. I thought it was a cute thing— like planking—which is funny for maybe a week but then just goes away. But it hasn’t!
Keeping up with thousands of submissions and followers sounds like a full time job.
Absolutely. I actually quit my job back in October, so I’ve been doing this full time for almost a year.
How do you decide which submissions make the cut?
A lot of the process goes into weeding out submissions that don’t fit the criteria. If the picture doesn’t have a sign, I can’t post it. If the sign is horribly misspelled… I have an English literature degree; it would hurt my feelings if things weren’t spelled properly. And I don’t post anything that could be an aggression cue, or where the dog could actually be in danger.
What about deciding what made the cut for the book?
There’s probably less than five total submissions in the book that have been on the blog, that I felt were so good that they needed to be in the book. I basically just weeded through as I was doing my daily blog setup. After I had about 50 really funny submissions, I would send out a mass email asking the senders to be in the book.
What were the reactions?
People thought, “My dog can be famous? That’s awesome!”
Turning a blog into a book is a big step. What made you decide to try it?
I didn’t! In the first three weeks that the blog went up, I was working full time in the banking industry, doing this at night, and trying to keep up with the 30,000 plus posts that I had received. All of a sudden I started getting messages from Random House Publishing and Penguin Books and Gotham books saying, “Hey! Have you thought about doing a book? Let’s throw money at you!” My husband said to go for it. Everyone told me to get an agent, so that’s what I did. She fielded all of the book people’s proposals.
Do you see "Dog Shaming" growing into anything else?
With the upcoming baby, I think I’m going to try to just maintain the blog. If we want to do another "Dog Shaming" book, I would be more than happy to do that. But I think that for now, I’ve had enough of a whirlwind year. I’d like to take 2014 a little slower.
Any recent shame-worthy incidents from your dachshunds?
Oh yes. What have they done lately? I went to the bank and was gone for less than five minutes. When I came back, one of the dogs had pooped on the rug, and the other had peed somewhere. One had gotten into my pumpkin spice latte—the first of the season. I was so disappointed.