By Rebecca Drew
MEET THE adorable golden retriever whose dress-up antics have rocketed him to Instagram stardom with over TWO-HUNDRED-AND-FIFTY-THOUSAND followers.
Gorgeous five-year-old golden retriever Rufio, has attracted hundreds of thousands of followers on social media after his owner, Rebecca Mo (34) from Chicago, Illinois, USA, started sharing heart-warming pictures of her pet pooch’s antics online.
Rebecca noticed that Rufio, who usually works as a therapy dog visiting patients in hospital when there isn’t a global pandemic, loved meeting new people when they were going about their daily life and saw how much people’s faces lit up at the sight of him so decided to train him as a therapy dog.
It’s this gentle nature that has garnered Rufio 251K followers on Instagram, where Rebecca not only shares video clips of his day job but also what the friendly canine gets up to on his days off.
Cute pictures show Rufio taking part in a spot of light reading, dressed up as Harry Potter as well as an astronaut and taking a well-deserved snooze on the sofa.
“Rufio is a very happy and cheerful Golden. He is very laid back and relaxed most of the time, but can also be very driven and motivated too,” said Rebecca.
“For example, he’s a goal-setter. Once he decides on a goal, he won’t give up until he achieves it. And of course, he loves to greet all people.
“Even as a puppy, Rufio was very calm, well-behaved, and loved to greet people. Riding the elevators up and down in our building, his whole body just wiggled when he saw new people to say hi to.
“Our neighbours’ faces would light up when they petted him. So I decided to train him to be a therapy dog. We took obedience classes and looked at different therapy dog organisations. We decided on one that was the best fit for us and passed the therapy dog exam.
“We love visiting the hospital, and the nurses and patients enjoy having Rufio over too. The nurses have got to know Rufio really well over the years. He even gets his picture on their bulletin board.
“It warms my heart when Rufio brings a smile to a senior resident, patient, or hospital worker’s face. We love to brighten people’s day.
“Some people are so stressed that they start crying when they pet Rufio. Rufio can sense it and cuddles with them or licks them to give them extra love. I feel really lucky to be able to share his love with others.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to do any therapy visits during the pandemic. Our last visit was in March, right before everything shut down.
“Although we miss our therapy visits, it’s for the best. We are looking forward to resuming again as soon as we can.”
The pair have done over 100 therapy visits so far.
Rebecca never anticipated that Rufio’s social media platform would become so popular.
“I wasn’t planning on trying to make Rufio famous,” she said.
“From the day he came home, I just loved taking tons of pictures of him, and wanted to share them. That’s how the Instagram started.
“I just want to share Rufio’s kindness with the world.
“I think people are reacting to Rufio’s cute antics more than anything. I don’t want to take credit for the images or videos because it’s all Rufio.
“He’s so cute that he makes anything look good, I just try to be there with the camera when I see him striking a pose.”