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Two dogs standing and laying in the sand by the ocean

Get to know your Instagrammer: @northwestmommy

Stasha, known on Instagram as @northwestmommy, consistently has some of the best visual depictions of how beautiful day-to-day life is for a photographer and a mother. She regularly highlights her son, Julian, who is often reading or playing with their two Newfoundlands, Max and Bruce. Last year, everyone followed the family as they made a trek across the US before moving to Japan, where they now live. The Figo team had the opportunity to meet them for a few minutes during their stop in Chicago!

We asked Stasha a few questions and her answers, below, make us love her even more:

Q: When did you start on Instagram and what inspired you to start?

A: I think I saw somebody post a photo on Twitter that was from their Instagram account way back when before Instagram was one of the most popular apps. I looked it up and it seemed like a great way to document everyday life without too much talking, so I signed up and the rest is history. I have been using Instagram for about 4 or 5 years.

Q: What is your pet's favorite place?

A: I have two Newfoundlands. Max is the older and his favorite place is right next to me sleeping. Bruce recently turned 3 and his favorite place is swimming deep in the ocean. We are convinced he is part whale.

Q: What's the hardest thing about photographing a pet?

A: My dogs are very calm and obedient, so it is very easy to take their photos. As a photographer I have taken photos of other people’s pets too, and I seem to have a way with them because it was never too challenging. I wish I could say the same about photographing people. The one thing I have noticed strangers struggling with when they ask to take a photo of Max and Bruce is getting the right exposure. For most part, especially with Max being black, turns out just one huge mountain of dark with a pink tongue somewhere in the middle.


Two large docs sitting on street in Japan

Q: How would you describe your pet in three words?

A: Both are kind, loyal and very, very, very, very, very hairy.

Q: What do you love most about having a pet?

A: We move every two years, and having Max and Bruce as constant companions makes every house a home. I love the love they bring into our family and the special bond they have with my son. And because they shed and slobber so much, I get away with blaming anything messy on them.

Q: What's your favorite way to "spoil" your pet?

A: We try to include them in everything we do but we also take time to do things just for them like going to the beach so they can swim or visit a dog park to socialize with their buddies.

Photo by @northwestmommy

Q: What was your first pet?

A: All I ever wanted was a Newfoundland, ever since I was tiny. I grew up in a downtown apartment in the capitol of Slovenia, and my parents thought having a dog would be cruel. So they got me a budgie, which flew out of an open window. Lovebirds, turtle, fish, which all had unfortunate endings or had to be given up; and a cat that we thought was male until it had kittens, ditched them and ran off with her lover.

When I became a teenager, they finally gave in and got me a spaniel who was my everything and lived to be very old. I took care of him just like I promised, walked him, fed him and took him everywhere. Not to brag how I was right all along, but it would have been better for everyone concerned if they just got me a dog in the first place.

Q: What is it like when someone, in person, recognizes your pet from Instagram?

A: It is surreal. Just the other day we were walking in a small town of Kamakura here in Japan, and a young lady stopped us telling me she has followed me on Instagram for years and was so happy to meet us. My dogs make people happy. That makes me very happy.

Q: Which celebrity is your pet most like?

A: Max would have to be Sean Connery, although he barks with a Yorkshire not Scottish accent. He is a charming, polite and an incredibly handsome older gentleman.

Bruce reminds me of Keanu Reeves. He is so cute, nobody gives him credit for being rather clever and talented too--mostly he is just good looking and sweet.

Mark Carrott Odden is the Digital and Product Implementation Specialist at Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology--the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud--and comprehensive pet insurance plans. Mark manages digital marketing campaigns and oversees cloud application development projects. 

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by since 2017.

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