Q&A with John Mullan, owner of a cool dog
On Jan. 6, the UNC Facebook account posted a photo album of the dogs who posed at the University seal, all of which are photogenic, amazing and talented. The photo of Stella, however, received more than 1,100 likes and more than 60 shares on Facebook. John Mullan, the owner of Stella the husky, spoke with Swerve Director Sarah Vassello about fate, his dog’s Instagram account and internet fame.
The Daily Tar Heel: Can you tell me a little bit about the process of this photo?
John Mullan: It’s actually funny. Me and one of my housemates — it was actually a pretty nice day, and I have a pretty nice camera, and he was like, ‘Let’s go take some cute pictures around campus. So we went to the seal, because every dog does that, and then just kept feeding her treats. It probably took about a few hundred photos, just trying to get that one.
Then we went to the arboretum and she jumped in some leaf piles. It was all self inspired work.
DTH: How did UNC find it and put it up on their page?
JM: The friend of mine who I was with — his name is Blanton and he’s friends with the guy who runs the UNC Instagram account, so he sent him to it and he put it up there.
DTH: What is your dog’s name?
JM: Her name is Stella.
DTH: Where did you meet Stella?
JM: It was actually pretty funny. My girlfriend goes to East Carolina University and one of her friends got Stella and had her for five days, and she’s just the type of person who couldn’t handle having a dog in college. So my girlfriend’s like, “Do you want Stella?” And I was like, “Haha, good joke.” And she was like, "No, I’m serious” and I told her, “Sure, honestly, why not.” Two days later she brought her here and then the rest is history.
It’s pretty much dumb luck because she was going to give her to someone else, like an adult or something.
DTH: Do you think it’s fated?
JM: Yeah. It was fate. Destiny. I’ve always wanted a husky, too, so it worked out.
DTH: You said your housemate took the picture. Do they help out with Stella?
JM: I live with six other people and they all love taking care of her, and that’s probably the only way that I’m able to do it, to have Stella, because there will be times when I’m in the library studying until 2 in the morning and I'll have to rely on them to take care of her. Blanton, he’s like the guy who’s her second father, he always takes care of her.
DTH: Do you have a favorite memory of you and Stella so far?
JM: Her favorite things to do are to stick her head in air vents — like sticking her head in the vents because she likes cold air. She likes playing with leaves. But I’m trying to think — my favorite memory? Taking Stella to her first UNC tailgate against Georgia Tech. Her Carolina blue eyes brought out her inner Tar Heel.
DTH: How has it been? Has it been weird seeing how the picture’s taken off?
JM: Kind of. She has an instagram account (stella.thehusky) that my girlfriend loves. Blanton did that because he’s like, “Let’s get her famous,” but we’ve only gotten 30 additional followers since posting the photo. It was all a ploy for Instagram fame, however shallow that may sound.