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Nashville Moment: Doug the Pug

From his humble beginnings as a pup to his rise to canine superstardom, Doug the Pug has spent many dog years in the spotlight.

Written By:  Alison Abbey

Photographers:  Shannon Fontaine

Doug the Pug & Leslie Mosier

From his humble beginnings as a pup to his rise to canine superstardom, Doug the Pug has spent many dog years in the spotlight. He and his owner, Leslie Mosier (who welcomed Doug into her Belmont off-campus apartment when he was eight weeks old), have built a global empire with 8 million followers on social media, a New York Times best-selling book, and, now, a coloring book (out May 2). “It’s Doug traveling around the world to lots of different countries—eating in Italy and snorkeling in Australia,” Mosier says. “It’s my favorite thing we’ve ever put out.”

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Age: 5 and 24 (respectively)

The Internet’s favorite pug: “I started posting photos of Doug on my personal Instagram, and I noticed pretty quickly that the majority of my followers were there to see Doug,” Mosier says. “I started going out and buying funny costumes, and he looked so cute. I’d come home from work and dress him up—it was just this fun little project of mine. My boyfriend, Rob, said I should make Doug his own account. Two years ago, his first video went viral.”

Growing a canine empire: Mosier, who used to work in the music business, says, “I’ve always been obsessed with social media and the internet. With Doug, the biggest thing was establishing a brand from day one—the way you would for a musician or band. Before that first video went viral, I made sure everything looked like it was already a brand.” It worked, too: The book, Doug The Pug: The King of Pop Culture, came out in November and became a New York Times best-seller.

“We’re also starting a Doug the Pug Foundation to help childhood cancer,” she adds. “All I want to do now is continue to make a difference and make people happy. I want to take this as far as we can go.” 

Pug life: “He is the most chill dog ever,” Mosier admits. “People who meet him say he’s just like he is on Instagram—the captions match his voice perfectly. He’s always grumpy looking; he doesn’t want to get out of bed. But he knows how to hang, and he’s always down for any adventure,” she says.

Celebs love Doug: You know you’ve made it when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are longtime fans. “Chrissy saw him on Twitter and had him come to meet her on the red carpet. She gets out of the limo, runs up to Doug, grabs him, and starts walking down the red carpet with him. My jaw hit the floor,” Mosier says. “Then, I feel a tapping on my shoulder, and I turned around—and it was John Legend. He was like, ‘Hi, I’m John. We love pugs!’ They’re exactly how you hope they would be in person.”

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