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Instagram's favorite French bulldog 'Manny' celebrates his third birthday By Nicole Cash


Published: Monday, February 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 24, 2014 00:00



Manny, an Instagram-famous French bulldog, celebrated his third birthday Saturday with his owners and a number of guests, both human and non-human. Manny’s birthday party profited a number of charities and featured several sponsors.

The event took place at Paradise 4 Paws, a dog and cat resort, located in Schiller Park near O’Hare. Manny’s owners, his cousin, Cooper, and Cooper’s owners ran the party, while a number of guests arrived with their own French bulldogs and other small breed dogs. Sugar cookies and puppy chow were available for the human guests, and special dog treats sat on the table for the many canine attendees. A portion of each dog registration fee, which was $20, goes to French Bulldog Rescue and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Sponsors such as GNC Pets and Beggin’ Strips dog food also helped bring in donations.

Manny, a white French bulldog with a black patch over his right eye, initially became Instagram famous when his owners, Amber Chavez and Jon Huang, began to post pictures for their friends and family to see, Chavez said.

“He’s really photogenic and personable … it kind of just blew up from there,” she said. Manny is known for sleeping in the bathroom sink and has more than 400,000 followers onInstagram, under username manny_the_frenchie. Manny was the last of the litter and a little rambunctious, Chavez said of her dog, but he loves being around people and dogs, which is what makes him so fun.

Chavez says they chose Paradise 4 Paws because of their dog-friendly attitude and the pool, which is bone-shaped and sits in the middle of a large, grassy arena enclosed with a white fence. The pool, complete with a lifeguard to keep smaller dogs afloat, has numerous dog toys such as yellow Frisbees and red balls floating in the water. “They really treat them like part of the family,” she said of Paradise 4 Paws.

The party also included raffle prizes, such as large gift baskets full of dog accessories, and a Frenchie kissing booth, where guests could donate $1 to kiss the French bulldog stationed behind the booth. According to Chavez, their main demographic is the typical Instagrammer in his or her mid-20s. “There are some 10-yearolds too with their own Instagram account,” she said.

Chavez says she and Huang did not try at all to make Manny famous. “It just happened,” she said. “Since he’s gotten so popular, we’re always getting requests like ‘oh you should have a party, we want to meet Manny,’ so … we thought this would be fun.” Chavez said they have also done a Halloween party and anend-ofsummer party, both benefitting different charities.

Cooper, Manny’s cousin, is from the same breeder as Manny. His owners have had him for just under a year, and he is also Instagram-famous with more than 93 thousand followers. “We try to come up with new ideas, new situations … it’s tough to keep it fresh. My wife is the mastermind … she posts a couple pictures a day,”MinDong Chang, Cooper's owner, said. He believes it’s the captions that make the photos funny and keep bringing in more Instagram followers for Cooper and Manny.

French bulldog owner Barbara Pon adopted her dog from French Bulldog Rescue and heard about Manny’s birthday party through the organization. It was her first time attending one of Manny’s events, but Pon plans on attending more. “They have a lot of meet-ups, so it’s, you know, like socializing for the dogs,” she said.

“We love French bulldogs,” Abigale Miller, dog owner and party guest, said, while holding her bulldog over her shoulder. Miller’s dog was wrapped in a blanket, wet and cold, as she just finished a swim in the pool.

Manny’s third birthday party ended as Manny enjoyed his treats in his special birthday hat, while the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to the guest.