Dog Hasn't Stopped Smiling Since He Was Rescued From A Shelter
"You really can't have a bad day when he's around."
Meaty. McMeat. The Meatster.
Sometimes you love a dog so much, you can't stop giving him names.
And since the day he was rescued from a shelter in Central Valley, California, all this dog has ever known is love.
Officially, this pit bull mix goes by Meatball, or Meaty for short. About two years earlier, however, he was just a number. A dog facing an untimely end at a shelter.
Lisa Reilly spotted him in a photo posted online by Fresno Bully Rescue. Meaty reminded her of her own dog, Kitty, who had died three months earlier.
She went to visit him at the shelter and found him sprawled in the baking sun.
Meaty was, like so many shelter dogs, needy.
"Fresno Bully Rescue did a great job nursing Meaty from the first time I saw him until I was able to bring him home," Reilly tells The Dodo.
But what he seemed to lap up most was the camera. Every time Reilly went to take a picture, the dog went full-on "Zoolander."
The star in Meaty didn't fully emerge until Reilly got him home, where he joined two other rescued pit bulls, Punky and Ricardo Tubbs, as well as dachshunds Bitty and Dappe.
Indeed, it seemed there had been a (rather large) Meaty-shaped hole on Reilly's couch just waiting for him.
"Well, he looks like a bowling ball," Reilly says. "It's hard to really tell just how short he is in person, but he's so low to the ground and wide like a Mack Truck. And he would just barrel into you like a bowling ball of dog fat when we first got him. Thus, he became known as 'The Meatball,' Meaty for short."
Then Meatster. And other times, when the dog accompanies Reilly's husband to his job at the police department, it's McMeat the Crime Fighting Dog.
But Meaty's proved to be so much more than just a physical specimen. He knows how to work the camera. And his owner.
"One benefit to having a fat dog is that he's extremely treat motivated," Reilly explains. "He's also extremely toy motivated and loves to play. So he's willing to 'work' for any toy or treat, which makes taking pictures of him so easy."
He also knows his way around a wardrobe department.
Evening wear? No problem. TREAT.
Formal wear? TREAT.
Santa called in sick? TREAT.
Despite Meaty's explosive fame - more than 30,000 people follow him on Instagram - he stays refreshingly grounded. At least when he isn't going completely insane about how great things have turned out for him.
"When he's not on the job, he literally only has two speeds: completely comatose or batshit crazy," Reilly says.
And, despite his passion for being photographed, Meaty never forgets where he came from or the family who took a chance on him - unleashing his inner superstar.
"He's truly a mama's boy, though, and just wants to be next to me all the time," Reilly says. "It's great to have though, as you really can't have a bad day when he's around. I'd dare anyone not to smile being near him."
Good boy, Meaty. Or Dervine (short for der vienerschnitzel). Or Baron VonMeathauffen.