Interview With Dog Influencer Puggy Smalls: On Life, Love, Fame, and Living With a Disability

Celebrity Pets managed to catch up with Puggy Smalls, a viral dog influencer who hasn’t let his disability slow him down. He’s best known for his influencer work, which includes notable clients such as Versace, Apple, Amazon, and Disney. In recent years, Puggy has bravely faced near-death health complications and needing a wheelchair due to Pug Myelopathy. If you’re currently or a soon-to-be fan, we cover it all so you can get better acquainted with Puggy – From his viral fame, career, family, love life, to living with and advocating for doggo’s with disabilities.

Interview With dog Influencer Puggy Smalls - Living With a Disability
Credit: Puggy Smalls

Celebrity Pets: What was your puppyhood like? And how did you and your humans meet?

Puggy Smalls: Puppyhood was a breeze! My dad got me at 8 weeks old, then met mumma a few years later… It was love at first sight!

CP: What would they say makes you “You”? Do you have any funny quirks?

Puggy Smalls: They’d say I’m hilarious and entirely food-driven. And mealtimes are my favorite time – I flip my bowl when I’m finished to let them know. I’m also a friend to all humans and animals. I’ve even formed a strong bond with some local sheepies who we visit regularly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yl9CD9yP2I

CP: How would you describe your humans? And how do they assist your influencer career?

Puggy Smalls: My humans are obsessed with me and classify me as their child. I love them both equally but Mumma is usually the crazy one, always coming up with fun things for me to do to keep me enriched and engaged. Dog dad is a professional videographer and photographer, so he’s usually behind the camera capturing as much of my life as possible.

CP: I still remember your first viral video back in 2019 and I bet plenty of our readers will too. Can you share how you were inspired to make that video and what it was like becoming an overnight sensation?

Puggy Smalls: The first ever viral was born through my dog dad being bored at work and doing silly things with me. He popped me out of his office drawer with the title “How to sneak your dog into work” – uploaded it to Facebook – and overnight it boomed!

I am treated like the king that I am and have a wonderful life with everything a pug could ever ask for. However I do exhibit some diva behavior and won’t allow my humans to sleep in too late. If breakfast is even a minute late, you can expect me screaming at them until it’s served!

Puggy Smalls, on stacking over a billion views and being one of the most famous pugs on the planet

CP: What are a few of your favorite videos you’ve made and why?

Puggy Smalls: My mumma’s favorite ever video is one we shot for Star Wars Day years ago, with me dressed as Darth Vader using the force to get a snackie. It’s never gone viral, but it never fails to make her laugh out loud. We create a lot of branded content as that’s our job, but we also blend it with lots of wholesome real-life content and silly memes to keep people entertained. We also try to use our platform to raise awareness for specially-abled dogs and show the world how we manage as a family since I became paralyzed and deaf.

CP: As a top doggy influencer, what are some of the most fun brands you’ve worked with and why?

Puggy Smalls: We have worked with so many over the years, with a few standouts being Versace where I had to show off a very fancy dog robe.

Puggy Smalls Versace Robe
Credit: Puggy Smalls

I also loved dressing up as Beetlejuice on a green screen for the Amazon Halloween special.

Our current favorite has to be Sony as we are teaming up with them to show off how great their camera gear is for capturing moments with your dog. We have so much fun filming for this brand and we are long-term super fans of the Sony camera range. It was a real ‘pinch me’ moment for us!

CP: You offer personalized shoutouts. What’s one of the most unusual requests you’ve received?

Puggy Smalls: Oh we have had SO many! But the most unusual was definitely congratulating someone on finally going to the toilet after they had been constipated for so long lol.

CP: Given your massive fan following, what’s the most touching or memorable interaction you’ve had or response you’ve received from a fan?

Puggy Smalls: We have messages of encouragement and support daily, which makes our hearts explode. But the stand-out moment was undoubtedly when I was fighting for my life after a series of health issues. It went on for over a year, and I was eventually on a ventilator after being resuscitated. I had a tracheostomy tube fitted and the vet bills were mounting up beyond our control. Of course, my humans would have sold our house if they needed to, but they set up a GoFundMe as a lot of followers had asked to donate.

Within 3 days we raised tens of thousands of pounds and were able to pay my bills and onward recovery without any stress or debt. That’s been the most humbling experience for us and we still get choked up when we think of how many thousands of people wanted to help and support our little family!

CP: You once helped a superfan propose. Can you tell us that story?

Puggy Smalls: A fan messaged and asked if I could be involved so we headed into London to surprise the lucky lady. She was so happy to meet me, that she failed to notice the ring box strapped to my harness and her partner on one knee! Once she realized, of course, she said yes and celebrated with heaps of Puggy cuddles!

I’m a pro, and I love filming, whether it’s with a huge crew in a studio or with my humans at home. I rarely miss the mark and I have laser sharp focus (when a snackie is on offer)

Puggy Smalls, on keeping it professional on set

CP: On that note, I understand you’re a married man – Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about your wife Pop Sausage and your relationship?

Puggy Smalls: Of course! Pop Sausage, or as I call her, PopPop has been my wife for over 4 years now. We actually got married by an ordained minister (as part of a PR stunt for a brand!) Pops is a few years older than me and she’s definitely the boss! But we get on like a house on fire and we genuinely adore each other deeply.

CP: You also have two other pup partners in crime: YumYum and Pomegranate. What’s their deal?

Puggy Smalls: We rescued Pomegranate when we left London and moved to the countryside. She’s been the best addition to our family, she’s sassy, fun, and a little wild! Then along came YumYum. He was actually a wedding gift for my humans from my grandparents and he’s the craziest little spicy meatball. YumYum is the polar opposite of me and we feel our pack is now finally complete!

Puggy Smalls with his fur family
Credit: @puggysmalls/Instagram

CP: Do you have a special talent or do any tricks?

Puggy Smalls: I have heaps! I’m deaf but I know sign language! Before I went deaf I was trained to bark along to any Biggie Smalls track! I have the steadiest head in all the land and I do lots of tricks balancing things before Dog dad whips a handkerchief from underneath!

CP: What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done?

Puggy Smalls: I was once on a shoot and I snuck off into the kitchen, somehow got onto the table, and ate 6 whole sugar doughnuts before I got caught! (The belly ache was very real)

CP: With a successful career under your collar, do you still have a dream job or project you’d like to take on one day?

Puggy Smalls: I’m already doing my dream job. I get to try out new toys and treats every day and spend every moment with my humans and doggy family spreading joy to millions.

CP: When your life story is turned into a feature film, what celebrity would play you?

Puggy Smalls: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson because he’s badass! (just like me)

CP: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are the 5 essential items you’d take?

Puggy Smalls: Wellness Core pet food because it’s the best! My Walkin Wheels doggy wheelchair so I can explore, An unlimited supply of tasty snacks to enjoy on the beach, DoggyRade hydration drink to keep me healthy and I’m obsessed with it, and my Sony camera to document my adventures and to capture the moment puggy saves the day!

CP: If you just won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy or do?

Puggy Smalls: I would book a flight on a chartered dog-friendly private jet to New York and go to Brooklyn!

CP: Imagine you’re a late-night talk show host of Party Time with Puggy Smalls, who would be your top three celebrity guests and why?

Puggy Smalls: Doug The Pug, because he’s super cool. David Attenborough so I can convince him to narrate all my content for me and Snoop Dog because who wouldn’t want to party with Snoop?

CP: We applaud your openness and bravery living with Pug Myelopathy. Can you summarize that condition for our readers?

Puggy Smalls: It’s a genetic issue that causes a blockage in the spine so the brain cannot get the correct signals down there. It causes weakness/paralysis of the back legs and double incontinence. It’s entirely painless but can cause a lot of other issues such as kidney and bladder infections, leg sores, etc…

CP: How has Pug Myelopathy affected your daily life? And what adjustments have you and your humans had to make to help with it?

Puggy Smalls: It changed my life entirely. At first, I struggled and I was very confused, but I degenerated quite slowly, so we just learned and adapted as time went on. We got my wheels after my legs started to fail me and I took to them instantly. I still zoom around and explore, we even go off-road in the woods! Mum and dad took it quite hard and were very scared for me, but like always I took it in my stride and I’m thriving!

We moved house so I don’t have any stairs to deal with and I also have an entirely flat garden now, so I can access the whole ground floor and still have my independence. There’s a bunch of supplements I take every morning to help me out and my humans express my bladder around 6 times a day to stop me getting any kidney infections.

CP: Can you share details on and the experience of using a wheelchair?

Puggy Smalls: I love it!!!! From the moment it arrived, I’ve loved it and nothing makes me happier than zoom time in my wheels!

CP: I see you sometimes take it easy and get pushed around in a puggy buggy. Tell us more about that.

Puggy Smalls: I can only spend an hour or so per day in my wheels, so we bring the buggy for when I get tired, or if we know we are going to be out and about for a while. The buggy is great as Poppop uses it too, she’s almost 13 now, so it allows us both to have adventures at a more relaxed pace (and it means we never have to miss out)

CP: Has your condition influenced your content or the types of collaborations you take on?

Puggy Smalls: When I got my diagnosis, my humans contacted all the brands we work with to explain that things will be different and that we understand if they wanted to end contracts… Luckily for us, all our clients have been so welcoming and supportive so we haven’t had to change much. Of course, my acting career won’t include me running after a ball or jumping around in a harness now, but I can show off products in many other ways.

CP: How do you keep up your cheerful and energetic personality in the face of your condition?

Puggy Smalls: I’m enriched! Everyday I get alone time with the humans so we can play and communicate one-on-one and I get to feel special. I have plenty of enrichment toys I can play with even though I’m paralyzed and I’m always next to one of my humans for support and cuddles.

CP: What advice would you give to other pugs and dogs that have Pug Myelopathy or a similar condition?

Puggy Smalls: Our advice would be to join the “wheelie pugs” Facebook group as it’s been such a great support network for us! I would urge any dog with symptoms to see a vet and a specialist ASAP as there are options for younger dogs and a lot of additional therapies that may help prolong your dog’s mobility.
Above all, I’d say have patience. It’s really tough at first and there’s a lot of things to learn, but before you know it a new routine will be born and everything will click into place!

CP: And any tips for dogs that are using or might need to use a wheelchair?

Puggy Smalls: make sure your wheelchair is currently adjusted for your dog’s weight and size and don’t get to massage the shoulders and front limbs as they can get super tired from doing all the work.

CP: Do you recommend any exercises, toys, or games for dogs with your condition or that use a wheelchair?

Puggy Smalls: My puzzle ball! Lick mats are awesome too! Nina Ottossan has a huge range of puzzle toys for all different doggos – we highly recommend them!

CP: Is there a charity or non-profit organization you’d like to give a shoutout to?

Puggy Smalls: The Red Foundation is a dachshund rescue charity we donate a lot of items to. We also love the work of the Pug Queen, she’s one hell of a woman!

CP: Top 3 Biggie Smalls tracks?

Puggy Smalls: Juicy, 10 crack commandments, hypnotize.

CP: Have any exciting plans coming up?

Puggy Smalls: It’s our first summer in our forever home with a flat garden for me to enjoy. We’re looking forward to slowing down as a family and embracing every moment with the pack.

CP: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule Puggy! You can visit him at puggysmalls.com and if you somehow aren’t already, make sure to follow him @thepuggysmalls on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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