The realization that she had an Insta-famous pet came gradually to Sarah McVey. She was just taking pictures of her adorable Pomeranian named Queso and sharing them online. It finally clicked when she was sent free products for Queso to try. Followers of @thelifeofqueso on Instagram grew and companies were offering to pay for posts with Queso posing with their merchandise.
“I thought it was too good to be true at first but realized he has such a loyal following and people love his quirky personality and a big smile!” Sarah says. “Queso was recognized at the airport by a stranger and it was the most exciting day ever!”
Queso’s road toward Instafame started far from fame and freebies. Queso was up for adoption in a shelter in Alabama. Unfortunately, the shelter flooded and Queso became lost. The Almost Home Foundation found Queso and brought him to Chicago and Sarah stumbled upon Queso’s profile on petfinder.com. He was a perfect, inevitable match for Sarah’s family.
“We first met at a foster’s home who was watching Queso while he was up for adoption. He had rashes on his belly, kennel cough, and an ear infection, but he was still smiling and happy to see us!” Sarah recalls, “Queso was the name he was given at the shelter and we couldn't bring ourselves to change it. We happen to host a dip party every year and Queso was such a fitting name, we knew we had to rescue him when we heard his name.”
Most photos you see from @thelifeofqueso are of the everyday happenings of the happy and beloved rescue dog.
“Queso is great at posing (if treats are involved) so it doesn't take too long to get a good picture,” Sarah says. “I like to consider the timing of the post and if there's a good holiday or trending topic to partake in, but for the most part it's all about his normal life and activities.”
S’wooft: What do you look for in a pet sitter or dog walker?
Sarah: I look for someone who is very trustworthy and easy to communicate with. They must also have patience for Queso while he paces back and forth to do his #2 duties!
Queso went from being listed as an “adoptable pet” by different animal rescue shelters to “Instagram-famous Chicago pet” in the Chicago Tribune. He has even strutted on the pink carpet to raise money for One Tail at a Time. His newest title is big brother to Sarah’s newborn daughter. “He loves the baby! The first night she came home from the hospital was very exciting for Queso. Surprisingly, the baby wasn't the one keeping us up at night that first week. It was Queso, barking at her bassinet like "Get her out to play with me!" He is now used to coexisting with her and is very protective when someone new comes to the house to meet her. He is a huge fan of the new baby smell and tummy time.”
At the end of the day, Queso is a jovial rescue dog who digs, jumps on strangers, and still obsesses over the same green squeaky ball given to him at his foster home. He just happened to warm the hearts of S’wooft and over 6,400 Instagram followers.