'Love it, can't wear it' video catapults Montreal pooch Tika the Iggy to online fame

·2 min read

Feathered jackets. Colourful trench coats. Cow-print turtlenecks. Bright yellow sweatsuits.

Prestigious fashion show? No, those are just some examples of one Montreal dog's wardrobe. Her outfits are an online hit.

Tika stars in a TikTok video that, since Wednesday, has earned the Italian greyhound more than 25 million views and at last count she tops 360,000 Instagram followers.

And it all started because Thomas Shapiro's friends complained he was posting too many pictures of his dog to social media.

So he signed Tika up for social media pages of her own. Her eye-catching outfits have catapulted the canine into the world wide spotlight.

"It started off very casual," Shapiro said on CBC Montreal's Daybreak Friday.

"She wears a lot of clothes because as an Italian greyhound, they're very cold all the time. They're not used to this Montreal climate."

Shapiro said the TikTok video, which shows Tika in various outfits and is accompanied by a funny voiceover, quickly took off to the point celebrities were sharing it.

Shapiro said Tika has no problem dressing up as the clothing protects her from the elements, and she's always ready to strike a pose as photo shoots end with tasty treats.

Not only is Tika an internet sensation, there's a social advocacy message as well: she lists "gay icon" in her Instagram bio. Shapiro said the self-proclaimed title is a way of using the international platform to promote happiness and love.

Shapiro said same-sex relationships may be commonplace in Canada, but that's not necessarily the case everywhere.

He also works with a Toronto-based charity called Rainbow Railroad that helps LGBTQ people escape persecution and violence around the world.

"It's cool that I can spread a message and be visible for people, but also just bring a smile to people's faces because this dog brings a smile to our face everyday," said Shapiro.