Calling on athletes and visitors from St. Kitts and Nevis, or St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Dagny would really like to meet you.
Known on social media as the “Pan Am Pup,” Dagny and her owner Sue Janzen have been scrambling to fulfil a challenge: to get a photo with someone from each of the 41 countries represented at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
So far, they’re 28 countries down, 13 more to go.
Janzen, a Distillery District resident, has been scouring her neighbourhood to track down out-of-country visitors. She then posts photos of them posing with Dagny on her Pan Am Pup Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
She has enlisted a few friends to help out.
“They’ll text me and say they have an athlete from a certain country and I’ll go meet them,” she said.
It’s been easier to tick some countries off the list than others. Right now, the duo is on the hunt for representatives of St. Kitts and Nevis or St. Vincent and the Grenadines, two island countries with small contingents at the games. She’s also prioritizing countries without athletes at next month’s Parapan Am Games.
Dagny, a mutt — likely a Pekinese, poodle and terrier mix, Janzen says — is posing with more than just foreign visitors. Last week, she visited Pachi, the games’ porcupine mascot. She’s also posed with police officers and Games volunteers.
Janzen never intended the project to become so extensive. She initially made a private album on her Facebook profile and went public only after her friends seemed taken by the dog’s encounters.
She said the reaction from her photo subjects, many of whom are visiting athletes, has been positive.
“They even pick her up, or if they’re not comfortable holding her, I’ll have them squat down beside her or just hold her leash,” she said. “Some of the athletes, if they have Instagram accounts, I have them tag themselves in the photo right away.”
Janzen admits that her Pan Am Pup isn’t exactly a pup: Dagny is 11 years old, but young at heart.
“For years, I’ve had people walk up to me and exclaim ‘look at the cute puppy!’ and want to pet her,” Janzen said. “She’s very used to the attention.”