Instatravellers: Miami the Travelling Dog
What do people love more than pets on Instagram? Pets who travel and do other things that, usually, only humans do. Enter Miami, the tiny, travelling Italian chihuahua whose passport has so much more swag than yours ever will. Here, his owner Marianna Chiaraluce tells us all about how he’s rocketing to fame with his handle @miami_traveller_dog:
Where did you meet Miami?
While on the hunt for a tiny dog, I read on Facebook about a small dog-breeding kennel in Rome called “That’s Amore Kennel” and one of its guests, whose name was ‘That’s Amore in Miami Beach’. I immediately knew it was a sign; my now-husband and I fell in love during a business trip between New York and Miami… This was definitely the dog for us. He was seven months old and unsuitable for canine competitions because of a minor health issue. But this only made me love him even more: his name was perfect, and in his world of pure-bred chihuahuas he was a bit of an unlucky one, so we adopted him. He can’t do a catwalk but he can claim to be the world’s most travelled dog (or so Conde Nast Traveler USA says!).
He sounds very sweet! How old is he now?
Miami turned four in May 2016.
How would you describe him?
Miami is a very unusual chihuahua because he’s so sweet and friendly with everyone.
When did he start accompanying you on your travels?
A year and a half after the business trip between NY and Miami I mentioned, my husband and I get married in the Big Apple. Needless to say, Miami followed us! That was his first trip, and he was in charge of taking care of our wedding rings. He was our tiny security dog.
What was the first adventure you all took together?
Our very first adventure was a road trip of three months in the USA, starting in Chicago. We took the Route 66 and went onto Los Angeles, passing through Memphis, Tupelo, St Louis, New Orleans, Wetumka and Mobile in Alabama, Austin, Dallas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Las Vegas. We finished the trip in California, where we travelled from San Diego to San Francisco before spending a month in Venice Beach.
Where did the idea for photographing Miami come from?
The idea came after getting a comment from a friend of mine comparing Miami to the garden gnome in the award-winning French movie Amélie. It was so funny and true, so I decided to open an Istagram account to share the adventures of a tiny chihuahua that travels the world and loves unusual places.
And is he easy to photograph?
Miami is a little Derek Zoolander. He’s always camera ready!
What’s the reaction been like to your photographs?
Miami has lot of followers from all over the world who are constantly writing to us. I like to think his posts make people smile and also discover unusual places – I am so happy about that.
Do you have a favourite photograph of Miami?
All of them!
What travel essentials do you pack for Miami?
A few things: 1. A valid passport, with evidence of all the vaccinations that you need for the places you are visiting. 2. An airline-approved travel case for dogs. Miami also needs a super-comfy bed, but I recommend you check with each individual airline for their specific requirements. 3. Dog bowls and water so that you keep hydrated and have some favourite snacks to hand during your travels. 4. Collar, leash and tag, with name and my telephone number. 5. Favourite toys and treats. 6. Internet connection to check pet-friendly locations, hotels and restaurants.
Are there any funny stories from your travels with Miami?
When he had just a few followers (less than 1,000), a girl recognised him in front of the Louvre (I was, of course, taking a picture of him) and she started screaming “Is that Miami Traveller Dog”?!? She was from Newport, California. Me and my husband still can't believe it! It was so funny! Of course there is picture of her on his Insta account.
What’s the most adventurous thing he has done?
The road trip in the USA: the picture in the Monument Valley is pretty funny.
Do you have a favourite place you have travelled to together?
Loads: Matera in the South of Italy (Capital of Culture 2019); the Amalfi Coast; Morges in Switzerland discovering Audrey Hepburn’s home and grave; New York (because there is always something new to discover); Venice Beach; and Paris.