How One Hashtag and a Little Bit of Luck Reunited Two Long Lost Siblings

Kyle Krajewski
January 12, 2018

Hey folks. Kyle here. Yes, much to everyone’s surprise, I am talking/writing about my dog again.

Some of our readers who go back to 2016 may remember one specific dog blog that I co-wrote with my colleague Justin. In this blog, he and I conducted a friendly little debate on the merits of having an Instagram account for your pet. I of course, as someone who has an account for my dog, argued in defense of the subject. Justin, also a dog owner, argued the opposite.

I will be the first to admit that Justin made some good points. Maybe it is ridiculous first-world nonsense. Maybe it’s too much work with not enough reward. Maybe maybe my own personal account should be the one getting all of these precious likes and engagements, not Brenda’s.

With so much to question, my convictions faltered. My @brendatheshepsky account fell to the wayside. I was posting little to never. Our sponsorship offers fizzled out. The bit of beauty in the world that was this content failed to find its way into the world at all:

What’s the point?” I asked myself.


One day – Brenda’s second birthday to be exact – something incredible happened that would effectively act as the be all end all to the Great Pet Instagram Debate.

‘Twas a regular evening in late December – aside from the fact that we had a birthday to celebrate and honor. As many do in celebration of a loved one’s birthday, I fired off a quick “Happy Birthday” post on my personal Instagram account:

To create optimal engagement on this post and strengthen my clout amongst the hot shit kids of the internet, I popped my usual hashtags in a comment:

#philly #savephilly #phillypulse #peopledelphia #philadelphia #shepsky #shepskysofinstagram #husky #huskylove #germanshepherd #germanshepherdsofinstagram #gsd #dogsofinsta #dogstagram #dogselfie #dogsofphilly #philly

80+ likes. 30+ comments. Not too bad.

The evening goes on.

So there I am a couple hours later, watching Bojack Horseman on Netflix for the second time around with my fiance by my side and my dog at our feet. What do I get just then but a direct message request from a complete stranger on Instagram. Sure. I’ll take a look.

Ummm… Ok. I’m listening. Accept. Reply:

Ok, now that’s actually interesting. Two things to note here:

  1. It’s her dog’s birthday. Today is BRENDA’S BIRTHDAY.
  2. “They all had names that start with B.” Brenda’s birth name was Berta. All brothers and sisters in that litter had names that started with B. We honored that tradition by only slightly altering her name.

Weird. Let me take a closer look at this lady’s page.

Her dog:

My dog:

Her dog:

My dog:




*Scrambles to find paperwork*


Small. World. I don’t know whether to be 1). mind blown over the fact that this complete stranger who happened to be looking through a very specific hashtag stumbled upon us only to discover that our dogs are birth siblings or 2). pissed over the fact that she almost took my dog and gave it to her mom. Sorry lady, but that’s my dog.

Long story short, we got to talking and I found out that Brenda’s birth brother, Leo, actually has his own Instagram page too! Check it out:

Runs in the family, I guess.

So the moral of the story? Sure, pet accounts are maybe a little (ok, a lot) extra and goofy. But the fact of the matter is that I hadn’t used that hashtag in probably a few months before that post. Where, for a while, I was using it every day.

Had I never slacked off on @brendatheshepsky, how much sooner would Leo’s owner have found me while scrolling through the #shepsky hashtag? How many more of her brothers and sisters would we have found? Most importantly, how many sponsorships and endorsements would @brendatheshepsky’s Instagram stardom have led us to by now?

We may never know. But what we do know is that social media is a powerful tool that sometimes brings with it unexpected and delightful experiences if used the right way.

(Also, if anyone wants to start a Gofundme to send us to Boston to meet Leo, it would be greatly appreciated.)