LIVING LONG & PROSPERING
Crusoe the wiener dog is doing very well, thank you very much
The new picture book Crusoe The Worldly Wiener Dog contains the following dedication:
“This book is dedicated to, well, me. Because my awesomeness is inconceivable, and because I’m probably the only wiener that actually looks good in a Speedo.” Well, Crusoe, you got that right. As for the dashing dachshund’s bravado, it’s no wonder really. As one of the world’s top animal influencers (oh, that’s a thing), he has more than three million online followers and his first book (written by his human, Ryan Beauchesne and titled Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund: Adventures of the Wiener Dog Extraordinaire) landed on the New York Times bestsellers list just a week after being released in 2015.
That indeed is nothing to sniff at. “Our fans have really grown over the past couple of years, so it is looking pretty good,” said Beauchesne, who left his career in digital marketing three years ago to focus full time on Crusoe’s career. “I would have never guessed it would be like this. It’s quite remarkable.
“When I first started, I didn’t have any intention of making him famous or making it my job or anything like that. I’ve just always needed a little creative outlet,” added Beauchesne, who shares his Gatineau home with his girl- friend Lauren Dionne, Crusoe and Crusoe’s younger and also popular half brother Oakley.
In fact, Beauchesne didn’t even want a dog and initially balked at the idea when Dionne started bringing up the possibility of getting a four-legged friend almost a decade ago.
“My girlfriend bugged me for about a year to get a wiener dog. I finally gave in,” said Beauchesne. “At first I was embarrassed to walk down the street as a guy with this little wiener dog, but now it has kind of come full circle where she’s the one that is embarrassed as I am dressing him up and taking pictures and all that stuff.”
Those pictures are what made this dog a social media superstar, so it’s those pictures that Beauchesne has returned to with the new book. This time Crusoe is travelling around the globe in many bespoke outfits carefully created and curated for each outing by Beauchesne.
Like a motivated supermodel, Crusoe really sells it in the shoots. For his trip to Switzerland, he is high in the Alps breathing deep and posing hard as a wee avalanche dog. In California, he laps up the L.A. movie star lifestyle and pokes his nose into a glass of red wine in Paso Robles. In Mexico, he heads underground — safety wear in tact, of course — for a tour of the underground river cave system at Rio Secreto (near Playa del Carmen). He eats hotdogs in Chicago, wails on a sax in New Orleans and, of course, sports some lederhosen for a visit to his ancestral homeland of Germany.
As for Canada, Crusoe carries the flag proudly. He gets bundled up in Quebec City and digs the dinosaurs in Drumheller. For his trip to Banff, he gives a nod to his gene pool and has a howl of a time in a wolf costume. In Vancouver, it’s the classic tourist shot by the totem polls in Stanley Park then a trip over to North Vancouver and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
“He would do it, but he had a very wide stance,” said Beauchesne about Crusoe’s feelings about the wobbly bridge some 70 metres above the Capilano River.
Again, this dog is no dummy. Crusoe is small, so he fits comfortably in a soft-sided carrier that can be slipped under an airplane seat. Beauchesne says the tiny traveller is always game for a getaway.
“He travels very well,” said Beauchesne. “He loves to come with us when we go places. You should see his little face when we arrive at a new hotel room. He’s excited. He loves it. He’s always the first one in the door, of course. He runs around checks out every room making sure it is to his standard.”
While the book is packed full of fun and games in gorgeous locales, life for Crusoe did take a serious turn as he got the news all dachshund’s and their owners fear. He had back issues. In 2016 it was discovered that Crusoe had a burst disc. Surgery happened and the little guy had to learn to walk again.
But if you want to silver lining this one, you can say Crusoe inspired Beauchesne to be creative again, and this time he built a special ramp to help Crusoe get up on the bed. So far Beauchesne has sold 3,000 Doggoramps at a cost of $250 each.
The wiener empire shows no signs of crumbling and others have taken notice.
“I get messages all the time about how can I make my dog famous, stuff like that,” said Beauchesne. “I give some advice here and there, but I also feel if you are going to do this, it should be with the right intentions. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with wanting to make your dog famous, but it should be a way of expressing your creativity, you know, adding something you feel people will enjoy. The only thing I don’t like and that I have seen a couple of times is where people say they are getting a dog just to make them famous.
“Everything we do is based on how he actually is in real life, of course a little bit exaggerated,” added Beauchesne. “I think people relate and see humour in what Crusoe sees as a dog, and they relate that to their own dog and how their own dog might see the world. A lot of people say they live vicariously through Crusoe and his travels and adventures.”
Right now Crusoe is getting ready for a North American book tour. His Canadian stops will be in early 2019.
He is one busy sausage and happy to be frequently flying and meeting and greeting (you can pat him at his events), but he is nine now and that’s getting into senior territory. And sadly all dog lovers know that dog lifespans, even famous dog lifespans, are way too short. Seriously, tortoises and parrots live forever. How is that fair?
With that in mind, what about cloning Crusoe?
“It’s funny you asked that — I was just watching a documentary on that last week. My girlfriend and I had a little just for fun conversation about it. But I don’t think I would do it,” said Beauchesne. “It just wouldn’t be the same dog no matter what, right? I think it would be almost sad to see the same dog but know it’s not him inside.”
And there’s no guarantee a clone would be able to pull off a Speedo.
Much like a supermodel, Crusoe the celebrity dachshund travels the world to have his picture taken in a variety of bespoke outfits.
Life’s a beach for Crusoe the celebrity dachshund.
Crusoe loves travelling and is small enough to fit in a carrier under an airplane seat.
Crusoe travelled to Drumheller, Alta., to dig for dinosaur bones. There was no chewing allowed, though.
Crusoe, The Worldly Wiener Dog Ryan Beauchesne St. Martin’s Press