Instagram Account Spotlights Campus’ Furry Friends

Finding cute dogs on the Swarthmore campus can be an exciting break in a hectic day. Now, thanks to the @swarthmoredogspotting2 Instagram account, students and interested followers can get to know the pets that pass through Swarthmore’s campus, even if they don’t personally find them on campus. Nicole Daly ’23 started the dog-spotting account in Fall 2021, after the original dog-spotting account (@swarthmoredogspotting) died down during COVID. After unsuccessfully posting on Facebook to find the original owner, she created an entirely new page — hence the “2” in the handle. 

In an interview with The Phoenix, Daly explained her reasoning behind restarting the dog-spotting Instagram account. After her Facebook post about the initial account, she received a lot of interest and excitement.

“I realized how much people enjoyed walking their dogs around campus, and there were really good reactions on the original Facebook posts that I made about it,” Daly said. “That just affirms how much people love animals and how much joy it brings to us very stressed out Swat students.”

Daly felt the account was needed after talking with friends who missed their pets at home. She also thought students being able to recognize dogs in person and know their names after seeing them online would be fun. Each dog posted to the Instagram account gets a couple of photos to showcase them and a caption with their name, age, and where on campus they were “spotted.” About half the posts on the dog-spotting account are submissions from followers. While Daly enjoyed these submissions and thinks they’re an important part of the account, they can also be a little silly at times.

“We also accepted submissions from other students, and that gave people a reason to approach the dogs to take a picture and send it to us,” Daly said. “And we did get some weird submissions, like someone kept submitting pictures of squirrels.”

Despite Daly’s enjoyment of the dogs and weird submissions, she said running the account solo was a lot. Christine Park ’23 and Inc Thongthai ’23 took over the account at the end of the Fall 2021 semester after initially assisting Daly, and they have been running it ever since. 

“I decided to volunteer to help because it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to share the many dog pictures in my camera roll,” Park said. “I love dogs and love conversing with dog owners as well, so this was great. I thought it would be nice if I could share these photos and interactions with the Swat community.”

A recent favorite pet of both account owners was Biscuit, an energetic dog who couldn’t stay still for clear photos but whose handler went the extra mile to help the account. 

“The dog walker left but then biked back to airdrop me better quality photos of Biscuit, and they said the owners approved of us posting him on our page,” Thongthai said. “I was very thankful and touched because he didn’t have to take time out of his day to help a stranger. It was a very kind act and definitely made me appreciate running the account even more.”

Other recent dogs highlighted include DeeDee, a five-year-old shih tzu, and Cappy, an Australian Shepherd spotted on the Swarthmore tennis courts. 

Park believes the account is a great way to bring the Swarthmore community together and offer light-hearted amusement. 

“I think it helps to know that I’m contributing to our campus well-being in some way,” Park said. “Even though it’s small, I know there are some students who genuinely appreciate and enjoy our posts.”

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