Brodie is just like any other one-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd Border Collie mix — he loves getting muddy, playing tug-a-war, and snuggling up with his “hoomans”, Amanda Richter and Brad Ames.
Brodie looks a little different from other dogs though. When Brodie was 13 days old, his mom bit him on the head deforming his skull and altering his facial development. As a result, Brodie is partially blind and looks a little like a Picasso painting. But that hasn’t stopped him from living his best life and capturing the hearts of people around the world — he now has over 150 thousand followers on his Instagram, @BestBoyBrodie.
Richter suspects Brodie’s mom bit him in a moment of maternal aggression. “He might have gotten a bit too close to her food dish and just got a chomp on the head,” Richter told CBC Kids News.
Brodie’s original family had returned him to Old MacDonald Kennels at five months old, saying he was too hyper. When the shelter put his photos up to promote his adoption, people were obsessed. Richter and Ames were the first to visit him at the shelter and instantly fell in love. The couple saw 8-month-old Brodie at the shelter last September and took him home that same day. “He just really pulled on my heartstrings,” Richter said. “I just felt really sorry for him but at the same time, he looked like such a spunky little dog.”
From local pet stores in Alberta to news outlets around the world, folks have fallen in love with Brodie’s unconventional looks and energetic nature. Publications including People Magazine, the New York Post, LADbible, Daily Mail, CBS, and a TV broadcast in Argentina have all covered Brodie’s adoption story and his rise to internet fame. In response to the attention, Richter said, “It’s definitely a bit surprising but at the same time, it isn’t because I think people relate to him in a way that he’s kind of resilient to the things that have happened to him and he doesn’t care how he looks.”
Richter hopes Brodie’s popularity will help spread the word to adopt special needs dogs that might not fit the “perfect dog” mold. “They should give special needs dogs a chance, or dogs who may not be perfect, might look a little different or need a little extra attention,” Richter told Global News.
Brodie needs a little more care than your typical pup, with daily eye drops. He also can’t eat larger bones or dental sticks, so Richter and Ames brush his teeth regularly. In general, he needs just as much attention as any other energetic puppy for training, exercise, and love.
Since Richter and Ames got him, Brodie has been quick to learn tricks including sit pretty and play dead. He’s also taught himself how to open doors in the house so he can cause all sorts of mischief like getting into the recycling to play with boxes.
While Richter and Ames don’t take Brodie on hikes yet because they’re still working on leash training, the couple went camping at Abraham Lake with Brodie for the first time in June. “With it being his first camping trip, it didn’t go perfectly,” said Richter. “Once it started raining he got kind of rambunctious and he actually laid right down on top of the tent and folded it over so it was definitely a bit of a challenge.” However, Richter said Brodie loved being outside and playing by the lakeshore.
When the weather got stormy and windy while camping, the Rex Specs helped keep Brodie’s eyes safe from dust and flying particles — though they didn’t stop him from saying hi to the neighboring campsite when he was off-leash! So far, Brodie has mostly used his Rex Specs for sticking his head out the window to feel the wind in his fur, but Richter hopes he’ll use them on hikes and while swimming in the future.
Along with playing with his friends at the dog park, Brodie loves trying to get his older Pomeranian sister, Rosie, to play with him. Sometimes she’ll play along, but at five years old, Rosie isn’t always in the mood to tolerate Brodie’s endless energy. In an Instagram post, Richter wrote, “We never intended to have a giant version of Rosie, then Brodie came along.”