Mo Thompson never planned on being a dog walker, and she definitely didn’t plan on going viral on TikTok. But recently, her videos of the puppies she walks have racked up millions of views, especially the ones showing how she picks them up: the puppy bus.
“They’re getting on the bus and sitting in their seat, and the internet just went crazy,” he said. “50 million views. That was crazy.”
The videos show the groups of dogs that Mo and her husband Lee take on their off-leash walking groups as part of their walking and training business, Mo Mountain Mutts.
After collecting pups from around their small town of Skagway, Alaska, their minibus makes its way to walk, hike and swim. The obedient approach and individual personalities of the dogs have endeared themselves to viewers.
“There are so many different dogs and there are so many different breeds and ages that there are a lot of dogs on the bus that you can relate to,” Thompson said. “So people say, ‘Oh, my dogs like Lola’ or ‘I’m like Carl.’ They identify, like, with the dog.”
There are certain fan favorites, like Jake.
“Someone made a comment about ‘I bet Jake buckles up,'” he said. “He gets on the bus, says hello to his friends, makes a circle, and then sits in his seat. Every morning. It’s kind of the same thing. If he were a person, he’d be the type who, like, has coffee and toast every morning. for breakfast and read the newspaper.
Or Amaru, shown in videos sitting alone in the snow and waiting for the bus to arrive:
“You stop and it starts to wag its tail,” Thomspon said.
“He gets on the snow-covered bus.”
His popularity took the Thompsons by surprise.
He originally posted on social media just to keep the parents of his canine clients updated. But then again, Mo didn’t intend for dog walking to become a business either. He started out as a favor for his co-workers, even before he had a dog of his own.
“It’s kind of a thing in our city where people walk each other’s dogs. It’s like a really small local community,” Thompson said.
Mo would take a friend’s dogs out on the trails with her, or into town, for exercise and company in the wild. Once she had her own dogs of hers and teamed up with friends, the groups got bigger and bigger. Eventually, people started calling her for help with training or behavior problems.
“And it just became like, alright guys, I’m going through a lot of treats and a lot of bags of poop,” he said.
“Can you guys, like, throw me some money?”
She didn’t always have a bus. She used to drive the dogs around in a van, and before the van, she would round them up on a humble bike.
“I’ve been known in my community for a while, but not on the Internet,” she said. “That took the bus.”
This digital story was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. contributed to this story
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