How unique is Sid, aka “MyRegalBeagle”? He ran for mayor in his hometown of Austin, Texas, in 2015. Although he didn’t win, the Lab-basset-beagle-corgi mix is still considered the unofficial “Austin dog mayor,” claims his owner, Alex Hopes.
“We received an email from the mayor’s office that there would be an event to recognize Sid,” Hopes recalled. “But it never happened.”
That’s not a big deal to Hopes, who feels Sid has changed his life since entering it while Hopes was attending college in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2010. According to Hopes, a friend of his approached him with the offer to get a 6-week-old puppy that was being forced to live in a business because its owner couldn’t keep him at his apartment.
“He said, ‘I know you’re looking to get a dog,’ which was completely untrue,” laughed Hopes, who added that when he saw the awkward-looking pup, he knew they were meant to be together. “I’ve been obsessed with him since that day. It was his personality that did it. I was 21 and in college, and he was the catalyst for my photography career.”
Hopes started the “@MyRegalBeagle” Instagram account (named after Sid’s “regal” facial expression) in 2013 as a way to share Sid with the world. There were the usual photos of the dog lying on a couch, interacting with other dogs and wearing sunglasses or a cute costume. Then it was one photo—the “pizza shot” as Hopes calls it—that went viral.
“His account had 25,000 followers before it, then it gained another 40,000 from that shot,” he reminisced.
Today, there are more than 107,000 followers who view and comment on posts that feature the barrel-chested dog with the droopy face. Hopes takes most of his photos of Sid in and around his home in Austin and is a regular at Austin’s Zilker Park, where he photographs dogs for his business.
In many of Sid’s photos and videos, the well-behaved mixed breed with the odd stance will pose with a food item between his lips, be it bacon, a burger, hot dog or even a carrot. He can be seen in photos with pet products ranging from PrideBites toys and clothing to Heritage Ranch food products by H-E-B. And when it’s a special occasion, he breaks out his pizza bow tie by zee dog.
Sid has starred in a video for Insurance Zebra that appeared last year on the main page of the Austin company’s website. His popularity even reached the national level when Sid appeared in a Domino’s Pizza commercial featuring Sarah Hyland (of “Modern Family” fame) in 2015.
However, that stardom nearly didn’t happen. Life changed for both Sid and his owner in spring 2014, when Hopes was planning to relocate to Croatia with his dog later that summer. After selling most of his belongings, Hopes was packing his car late one night when he realized Sid wasn’t with him. He soon discovered Sid, lying in the street and covered in blood.
After a passerby drove him and Sid to an emergency vet clinic, he learned that his beloved beagle mix had four broken ribs, punctured lungs, a herniated diaphragm and a cut spleen. The tale has a happy ending, as Sid pulled through and has made a full recovery. The medical bills reached $10,000, according to Hopes, but some of that was covered by donations from the dog’s social media fans, who watched him recuperate via videos and photos (some of which are graphic) posted on Instagram.
When it comes to social media pet influencers, few—if any—are tougher than Sid.