‘Sharing pictures of my golden retrievers online earns me over £30,000 a year’


Getting a dog can often be an expensive choice for families, but one pet owner has found a way to make the animals pay for themselves.

Ursula Aitchison, a photographer who lives in the UK, decided to start making a living out of sharing pictures of her golden retrievers Hugo and Huxley online when a picture she captured went viral.

“My dogs have earned £30,000 in the last 12 months,” she claimed, speaking on a Channel 4 Documentaries YouTube video in April 2020.

At the time, Ursula had 132,000 followers on Instagram, but this has since doubled to 277,000.



Ursula has opened up about her career as a dog influencer

Looking back to how her unusual business venture idea had come about, Ursula referenced one photo, which saw her posing in matching circular glasses with Hugo.

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“When I took it I thought, ‘oh we look a bit like Steve Jobs’, and I put [as the caption] ‘Steve Dogs’, and it had around 50,000 likes.

“I didn’t then decide, ‘I’m going to make loads of money from it’, I just thought, ‘wow that’s really fun’.”



Hugo and Huxley
Pictures of Hugo and Huxley have helped Ursula earn over £30,000 a year

Still, the decision has been a profitable one for the trio, with Ursula admitting: “A year ago, I was just photographing one post for £300. It’s now £1,000 a post and I should probably be putting it up a bit.”

The most popular posts, the dog owner explained, involve the goofy double act sticking out their tongues, or “humping” her leg.

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And, with funny costumes integral to the influencer’s success, the documentary showed Ursula taking Hugo and Huxley to a store to try on matching outfits.



Ursula and her dogs
Ursula poses in matching costumes with her pets for her 277,000 Instagram followers

“My USP is the fact that Hugo and I dress up together, and people like the dog and owner rather than just the dog,” she acknowledged.

“I won’t take on any paid jobs that I can’t have fun with. I think it becomes difficult when people decide, ‘I’m going to make money out of Instagram’

“If you’re doing something you love anyway, then it becomes the best way to become good at it and for people to enjoy watching it.”

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In her own line of work, Ursula stressed that her companions often needed to be coerced into posing for the camera, and stressed that she sometimes takes up to “400” photos before capturing the perfect shot.

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