Wiley the Dalmation wears his heart on his sleeve – well more like his nose. The now one-year-old pup rose to internet fame for his unique heart-shaped marking placed squarely on his face and his over 120k Instagram followers can’t get enough.
Wiley found his way to Smith, who lives in Colorado, from Oklahoma on Saint Patrick’s day of last year and while his unique markings make him stand out, she says that’s not the reason she chose him.
“He came from a litter of 11, and 8 of them were boys, so I had a tough choice in choosing him. The heart was there, but not fully formed to the point where I believed it would stay since dalmatian spots change so much as they grow. I chose him because the breeder told me that all he did was sleep, snuggle, and eat, so we already had a lot in common.”
Well, the sleepy little pup she first met is no more and the 26-year-old said, “Wiley has more personality bundled up into his little body than any dog I have ever met.”
Smith said hiking is one of his favorite activities, “We are so lucky to live in Colorado and have the biggest most beautiful places to play in and explore. He loves hiking or going to one of the many massive dog parks here. ”
“He also enjoys car rides and sits where he can look out the front window like a true copilot. But when he gets sleepy, he really, really LOOOOVES to snuggle.”
When Wiley isn’t snuggling, his mom said he can also be quite stubborn (a common trait among Dalmatians).
“Wiley’s truest dalmatian traits are constantly making me laugh. Usually, it’s a giggle paired with shaking my head, laughing off total frustration from his stubbornness, but that’s part of owning the breed. If you can’t laugh it off and be creative in finding a solution and training the naughty traits out of them, life with a dalmatian would be such a challenge.”
For Smith, she wouldn’t trade Wiley’s occasional stubbornness for the world, “I have been really lucky with Wiley, though. He has the best heart, and I’m not talking about the one on his nose. He loves everyone he meets and is always so excited to make new friends. He has been relatively easy to train and has made the best little adventure partner I could ask for. He requires so much attention and he’s basically attached to my hip, but that’s what I love about him.”
The Colorado native isn’t the only one who appreciates how special Wiley is. Thanks to his growing Instagram, the Dalmatian gets noticed on the street.
“Some people recognize him as “that dog from the internet,” a lot of people notice the heart nose, but mostly it’s just people shocked to see a dalmatian. “I haven’t seen a dalmatian in so long,” or “I’ve never seen a dalmatian in person,” are the most repeated comments I hear when I am out and about with Wiley.”
Smith’s decision to share Wiley with the internet began with her love of photography. “Photography has always been something that I have toyed and experimented with, and suddenly I had an adorable puppy who made the perfect model. I have a personal account, but creating a separate one dedicated specifically to Wiley seemed like a great way to kind of store all my photos of him and keep a running timeline of his life.”
“It truly started as something meant for just me and maybe some of my friends to see his growth and keep the memories of every stage and event with Wiley. When the account first started growing I remember thinking ‘Wow, what if he hits 5,000 followers!’ I never in a million years could have imagined it would be what it is now. And it’s STILL GROWING. I am constantly amazed, shocked, but mostly so grateful. It has been a fun little adventure, that’s for sure.”