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This goofy golden shot was taken by one of the most promising new talents in pup photography: Tula the rescue pup.
Equipped with a GoPro and a playful attitude, this rescue dog is taking some of the best canine candids on Instagram.
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While Tula (pictured here) is the one snapping the shots, the idea came from her family. Owner Susie Kixmoeller, who loves photography and volunteering at animal shelters, was trying to find a way to capture adoptable dogs on film in their natural, playful state, but was having trouble getting the photos herself.
“My family started taking Tula to the dog park about a year ago. I would always try to get pictures of the dogs playing at the dog park, but I couldn't get any good pictures, because they would get distracted and stop playing,” Susie told PEOPLE. “So we got the idea to put the camera on Tula. It's easy for her to get pictures of dogs playing, because she is the one playing with them.”
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After some trail and error the Kixmoeller family found the perfect GoPro camera and harness for Tula that allows her to play uninhibited and get adorable action shots.
Now, Susie can take Tula out with a dog who is up for adoption, and return to the shelter with heart-melting photos that highlight the adoptable pet's personality and help the pup get placed into a forever home.
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While Tula and her canine counterparts don't notice the camera, humans do.
“People at the dog parks will say 'Hey, what are you doing?' And I would tell them, and they'd said, 'Would you share the pictures?' And I'd said, 'Sure.' So we set up an Instagram account, and it really was for just sharing the pictures for the people we met at the dog park,” Ken Kixmoeller, Susie's father, explained.
But it didn't stay that way for long, soon Tula's Instagram page, Canine Happy Hour, started attracting dog lovers from all over the world.
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Canine Happy Hour now has over 11,000 followers, including fans as far as Australia. Tula's shots have also appeared in newspapers and tv broadcasts across the globe. So what is next for this international pup-tographer?
“We want to get a book published of Tula's best pictures, and have the proceeds go to animal rescues and charity groups,” Susie shared.
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It's all just another day in the gorgeous dog parks of the Twin Cities for Tula. She continues to live out her dog days unaffected by fame.
Along with keeping up her popular photo career, the unfazed 4-year-old pooch also visits hospitals, libraries and college campuses as a certified therapy dog.
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Naturally gifted and trained at making people smile, it's no surprise that Tula's recent project is bringing sunshine into a lot of lives.
“The things people say is what keeps all of us spending the incredible amount of time this project is taking. People say, 'These pictures make my day' and 'When I am feeling blue, I go and look at Tula's pictures,' ” Ken said.
That's something that makes Ken and his entire family feel great.
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To add a few more virtual dog hugs and smiles into your life, follow Canine Happy Hour on Instagram, and keep an eye out for Tula if you are in the Twin Cities.
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