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@gussiethekat 72 followers Gus owes a great deal to Rodney and Sarah Hayden. The couple found the kitten in 2011 when he was about 2 weeks old, trapped under their porch in Durham. Rodney freed him by ripping out boards from the deck. They bottle fed Gus and gave him round-the-clock attention for a few months. Now 9 years old, the Siamese-tabby mix is famed in the community for the leash the couple puts on him when they go to some of their favorite pet-friendly spots, like Guglhupf, Fullsteam Brewery or the Eno River. “Gus is leash trained because he was so little when we found him,” Sarah says. “We just started taking him everywhere, and we would put him on the harness to keep him secure when we were out of the house. So whenever we’re out and about with him, he gets a lot of attention. A friend of mine jokingly said we should start an Instagram account for him, so it kind of started as a joke. We also hear a lot that he’s the only cat anyone has ever seen on a leash.” And Gus is fine with it. Sarah says he’s social and friendly, so whenever he gets the opportunity to meet others, he’s in. “We enjoy being able to take him with us,” Sarah says. “We don’t have dogs because I’m allergic. So it’s nice to have a cat that you can do dog-like things with.”

#PetsOfInstagram These Durham animals are on their way to social stardom

@potatodoodle 3,577 followers In the beginning, owner Veronica Vivona would have never created an account for Potato. “I honestly thought it was too silly of a concept,” she says. “Potato was kind of a hot mess as a puppy. Puppies are cute and adorable, but they also bring a ton of chaos into your home.” But when Barley Labs opened in 2018, the two would go there often, and strangers and friends would constantly ask for Potato’s Instagram. Veronica gave in. Despite all the “chaos,” she realized the account helped her connect with other dogs and their owners in the area, including Canine Chemistry, which helps to train Potato. “I mostly just post on his account the things that he’s up to,” Veronica says. “He likes to nap on top of his crate, play with a metal bowl (long story) and roll around on top of any treat that smells good. He’s pretty funny and has a great personality, so I like to share a lot of those moments on his story, too. I think that’s what people like most about Potato. He’s not afraid to be his weirdo self.” He also frequents spots like Namu and Guglhupf. 106

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october/november 2019

Profile for Shannon Media

Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019  

Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2019