4 dogs boarded the Skagway bus. The Internet rejoiced.

Mo Mountain Mutts

Mo Mountain Mutts have caused a stir before.

Not by howling or barking, but by warming the hearts of dog lovers around the world.

Owned and operated by Mo Thompson, Skagway-based Mo Thompson has produced some viral videos over the past year. But a video of four dogs taken by Puppy Bus last month has become an undeniable sensation, receiving more than 48 million views on Twitter. Tik Tok Alone, not to mention other social media platforms.

Shot from a bus driver’s point of view, the video begins when a black-and-white German Shorthaired Pointer mix named Jake hops in, meets up with Thompson, greets a few canine friends and finds his seat before securing his harness. Amaru, a Malamute mix, waits alone in the snow for the bus to arrive, quickly jumps in and sits down. Bama, the black lab, is next to be picked up and seated. Slade, a young St. Bernard mix, seems the most excited, but after a few licks, he takes a seat.

The whole scene unfolds in about a minute as a handful of dogs already on the bus wait excitedly for their friends and walking partners.

Thompson said people connect with work videos on many levels. But the latest one has taken on a life of its own, with celebrities like “Sheets Creek” actor Dan Levy sharing it on Instagram. Earlier this week, Thompson gave an interview to CNN.

One seen widely Version From the video he presents the Puppy Bus pickup as an answer to the question: “What is your dream job?” On Instagram, one user commented: “I can’t handle this. I’m going to be logged off the internet for the rest of 2023. I don’t need to see anything else for the rest of the year.”

“Someone has a lab or someone has a pointer and they’re like, ‘This looks like my dog ​​or he looks like his family dog,’” Thompson said. It’s kind of related because there are so many different dogs out there, and then, there are just like, super mutants — all different shapes, sizes, and ages. So I feel there is a recognizable dog (for everyone). “

The dog boarding process is remarkably structured, which Thompson said comes with a daily walking routine. “Why can’t high school teens act this way on the bus?” one TikTok user asked.

“Those who come regularly, they know the drill,” she said. “They know they’ll do what they want faster if they’re calm and polite. So the newbies, like, you can see the older dogs basically rolling over like, ‘Come on, sit down so we can get our treat.’”

[Bad weather snarled holiday travel for many. Flight cancellations cost one Alaskan a new heart.]

Those who watch the videos have also picked up on the large scale personalities of the dogs. Some seem businesslike, while others are more curious and playful. Many of the dogs in the video skip Thompson entirely to hang out with their friends.

“Some of them care, like say hello to me, and some of them don’t,” Thompson said with a laugh. “Some of them are like, ‘I’m here for the dogs and such, we don’t really care about you, Mo.'” “

The videos started naturally, as a way for Thompson to share the dogs’ daily routines with their owners.

“I’ve been posting on Instagram and Facebook since the beginning because people would be like, ‘Where did you go?'” Who was my dog ​​with? What did they do? How are they doing? “So if you just posted a video of them walking and took a group photo at a destination, they would know where we went and what they were doing. Instead of answering the same question… I just started using social media.”

Before he got into business and long before Mountain Mutts became a social media sensation, Thompson was at a crossroads. She had initially made the decision to take on walking one group of dogs, who were sandwiched between two jobs. She eventually joined a second group and continued to focus more on dog trail walking and puppy training, also a company speciality. It started mostly as a dog walker for seasonal workers, but with more dogs being adopted over 2020 and 2021, it has expanded.

“I worked less and less at my job, switching from full time to whatever I liked, four days a week, to two days a week,” Thompson said. “Every year it’s been a little less. It started as just a seasonal thing. Then COVID hit, and all the dogs needed to be socialized, and I kind of had a new niche. That really got me into being a steady job with the actual local community who lived here all year.” “.

Mo Thompson (left) and her husband, Lee Thompson, with their son, Vern

Now up to five sets a day. Last year, she hired her husband, Lee, to drive the bus and help with other aspects of the business. At first they had a pickup truck, but when that broke down just over a year ago, they upgraded to what’s known as a Puppy Bus.

Thompson said she put out an SOS for a car, and in the meantime, they were walking from house to house to pick up the dogs. The temperatures dropped below freezing, and they had to stop walking for a while. Finally, they found the bus via Jeff Hamilton, who runs Hamilton Construction Skagway.

“He gave us a really good deal,” she said. “We were actually about to meet him, and we saw it, and we were like, ‘There’s no way we can afford that.'” This is a nice bus. “

That’s when they started finding bigger audiences with their social media videos. Someone showed Lee Thompson as the city bus driver only to reveal a load of dogs at the end. Another showed Mo Thompson doing an impression of a flight attendant, handing out free liver treats to all passengers. While some posts have approached 20 million views, none have come close to the popularity of a pickup video.

With so many groups to walk, Thompson gets mixed up where she takes the dogs depending on a number of factors. She avoids taking large groups on trails with narrow lanes or blind corners, opting instead for wide-open spaces. Younger puppies and dogs probably can’t afford to go on rigorous walks, and there’s always an element of juggling between groups.

“You can’t put any dog ​​with any dog,” she said. “You really have to find the right energy matches and put the good dogs together. Finding the right set up for the group, the right atmosphere and making sure the dogs love the training they need to be successful on these walks is very important.”

Thompson created a file website With dog calendar for sale and merchandise He’s on the way. Lee Thompson said that while they create more content for social media, they try to keep it as original as possible.

“I think the most important thing is that a lot of people who do things on social media, they’re really trying to force content, they’re really trying to invent something,” he said. “For us, that’s something that we’ve been really, really doing. So we don’t go out of our way to make certain types of videos or anything. We just kind of do what we’re already doing.”

• • •

Leave a Comment