Pascale Lemire, the Vancouver founder of the dog shaming internet phenomenon, says she can't believe her luck, after publishing a bestselling book full of naughty pups.
Lemire's Dog Shaming website, which features photos of dogs next to handwritten confessions of an often messy misdeed, has spawned 60 million page views.
"It doesn't seem like a real number to me. People love dogs who do bad things," Lemire said. "I had no idea that the blog was going to be this successful when it started."
It all began late one night on Aug. 16, 2012 when Lemire posted a photo on her personal Tumblr blog, showing her dachshund Beau, who had eaten her partner's underwear.
Lemire says by the time she woke up the next morning, the photo had received 1,000 "notes" and was soon picked up by Good Morning America, the CBC and Macleans.
Within one week, she had bought the dogshaming.com domain name. The website wasn't finished until a month later, but by that time, she'd already received 35,000 photo submissions from readers who wanted to shame their own dogs.
"It was mind-boggling. I just couldn't even fathom this many people reading this blog," said Lemire. "It's a fluke. A one in a million fluke."
Lemire, who has a degree in marketing and communications, was also receiving calls from publishers, who wanted to create a book of dog shaming.
"I was flabbergasted. I was like, 'What is this? Whose life is this? I have no idea what's happening right now'."
'I'm still trying to process how one picture of a dog who ate underwear turned into this...'- Pascale Lemire, founder of dogshaming.com
By Oct. 2012, Lemire had signed a book deal and quit her admin job with an online banking company.
"The revenue from the advertising was enough to pay for my part of the rent," she said. "I needed to focus on writing the book, it needed my full attention...and I just sort of never went back to work."
Lemire's Dog Shaming book was finally published in September of last year. In January, it made the New York Times Bestseller List.
"I'm definitely putting it on my resume...I was looking at the list and right above my name was JK Rowling!" said Lemire, who is a huge Harry Potter fan.
An amazing opportunity
In the midst of it all, Lemire also got married and had a baby girl, Mia. She says her family is extremely proud of her huge success.
"I'm so grateful for this experience. It's been amazing," she said.
"It's a testament to how much people love dogs. I'm still trying to process how one picture of a dog who ate underwear or a dog who stole a potato turned into this...I have no words."
Lemire continues to run the Dog Shaming website from home, vetting submissions sent in my readers. The backlog is so huge, she's currently dealing with photos submitted in August last year.
"We receive pictures from all over the world — South Africa, Australia, Portugal, Brazil. Brazil apparently really loves dog shaming - no clue why!
Lemire says she intends to run the website as long as people keep submitting photos and says the experience has taught her some valuable life lessons.
"I've always been a planner, I love to make lists and plan," she said. "This whole experience has taught me to fly by the seat of your pants and take chances and take a risk.
"Sometimes it pays off and sometimes you're blessed with this amazing opportunity. I mean, who knows what would have happened if I hadn't had a dog that ate underwear?"