People and Places

Meet Ottawa’s very own pet celeb: Crusoe, wiener dog extraordinaire

Almost five years ago, Ottawa dog-dad Ryan Beauchesne started a blog to share photos of his laid-back and adorable dachshund puppy, Crusoe. From there, the costume-wearing pup became Internet sensation “Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund,” starring in videos as intrepid characters such as Batdog and a Star Wars Jedi, racking up millions of views on YouTube and winning fans across the world.

After a whirlwind tour for their New York Times bestselling book Adventures of the Wiener Dog Extraordinaire: Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund, Beauchesne and the dog with the big ego shared some fashion tips and insider information with Ottawa Magazine:

What’s your signature style?
Crusoe: I like to go for a rugged, adventurous sort of look, but I can get pretty chic, too, when trotting the city. I’m a country dog born and raised, though, so for the most part, I like to wear something that will still show off my burly shoulder and leg muscles.

Do you have a favourite designer and go-to outfit?
Crusoe: I like the harnesses from Buddy Belts, a Canadian company. They’re leather and fit very well. I also prefer the jackets of Noodle & Friends — a company that makes jackets and coats just for the unique shape of a dachshund. In terms of a designer, my own dad makes a lot of my outfits, but they need the fashionable insights from Mum to really be something I’d wear out in public.

How do you keep things fresh?
Crusoe: My wardrobe is ever expanding. I don’t pay Dad well, but if he wants me to keep performing, he needs to continue making my outfits. I have a couple hundred outfits in my wardrobe — including character costumes, outfits, hats, superhero masks, and the lot.

All Business Crusoe is wearing a silk tie and bespoke pinstripe suit made of 100 per cent polyester. His white shirt and red necktie are sewn into the jacket to facilitate easy costume changes. Crusoe has an extensive wardrobe that includes “a couple hundred” outfits. Photo: Ryan Beauchesne

How was the book tour in the fall?
Ryan: Extremely busy and tiring. Every day we were moving around and exploring all the best places of each city we visited, which included New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, as well as Toronto and Ottawa. There was a lot of logistical planning in getting all that done — plus all the activities — in such a short time frame. It was a pretty amazing experience to meet all our fans, some who have been waiting years for the opportunity to meet us.

Crusoe: It was very fun and even relaxing. Mum and Dad just took me from one city and one adventure to the next, catching little naps in the car or the plane in between. The only “work” I had to do was sign pawtographs at the book signings in each city, which wasn’t anything to complain about because I got a LOT of cookies and many back scratches from all the fans who came to see me.

How has the blog changed your life?
Ryan: It’s been pretty mind-boggling, to be honest. I still don’t think the reality has kicked in. If you had asked me five years ago if I thought I would be a published author, let alone of a New York Times bestseller, I would have only wished. It’s now what I do full time, and I love it because it’s really my passion and a mix of my favourite hobbies (writing, photography, dogs, etc.). Crusoe is really a member of our family — a son, even. He comes everywhere with us and is a big part of our lives. It’s kind of cool to make a living and bring such joy to people just from sharing little pieces of our and Crusoe’s life together.

What’s the reaction to Crusoe been like?
Ryan: It’s been pretty incredible. We’ve grown a lot, especially in the last year. Living in Canada, we don’t always feel the effect that Crusoe’s made because, to be honest, there aren’t that many dachshund owners here (I guess because of the colder climate). But when we were in the United States, especially Texas and lower states, people were recognizing Crusoe on the street. We had more than 300 people come to meet us in Dallas, some waiting five-plus hours just to get their book signed and meet Crusoe. But one nice thing about the book is that it’s made many of our Canadian followers — especially people in Ottawa — realize that we’re Canadian and live in Ottawa! Most people just assume we’re from the States.

Has all this attention affected your ego?
Crusoe: Oh yes, but to be fair, it was big even before all this started. Dad always says my ego is bigger than my body. I mean, my tagline from Day One has always been “The wiener dog who thinks he’s more of a celebrity than he really is,” so … you need a big ego for this life.

What’s Crusoe like behind the scenes?
Ryan: He’s very much a regular, happy pup — but we like to think there’s something special about him too. At first we thought it was just us, you know, parents always think their child is the cutest. But over the years, we’ve seen many people comment on Crusoe’s dashing good looks and physique — people who don’t even know about the blog or the fame. So yeah, he’s definitely a character. He loves to play with his squeaky ball, go on long walks through the woods, and suntan by the window. He’s not big on cuddling or kisses.

What’s your personal motto?
Crusoe: “I don’t get taken on walks; I lead expeditions.”

What does the future hold?
Ryan: Well, this past year has been very busy, what with putting together the book, promoting it, organizing the book tour, going on tour, etc., etc. So we’re on a bit of a cruise-control rest period with everything right now — just doing some nice at-home content for Facebook and our social media channels. We are hoping to have a second book, though, probably for 2017, and we’ve even dipped our toes into some conversations about a TV show, but we’ll see!

Crusoe: I KNOW where Mum and Dad hide my squeaky balls, and I will not rest until I’ve found them all. That’s my goal for the next month. Besides that, I’ve already started a new exercise routine for my 2016 summer bod and definitely hoping for more exotic and faraway vacations in the next year, because Mum and Dad definitely set the bar high with all the travelling we did last year. I hear Fiji is nice.