Everybody loves a good dog trick, but Chester, the yellow lab of Jump for Joy SF Insta-fame, takes it to another level—specifically to his nose and head. He's balanced everything from tacos to pizza on his furry face, his intensely kind eyes staring back in every portrait—a picture of zen. We needed to find out just how Chester achieves such balance so we reached out to his human, who answered all our questions from his perspective:
OLLIE: Are you a natural-born food balancer, or have you undergone a lot of training?
Chester: I love playing and the game of balance is one of my favorites. The more I play the better I get. I’m always surprised by the crazy things that get put on my head. I try my best to keep them steady no matter how wiggly, smelly or tasty they are. When I conquer a challenging balance I get lots of praise and butt rubs which makes me so happy.
OLLIE: Do you remember the first food item you balanced on your head?
Chester: I started balancing liver: irresistible, tasty, dehydrated beef liver.
OLLIE: Can you tell us about your process? How do you get the shot, and how many tries does it usually take?
Chester: My human goes to the kitchen to get the tasty delight. I prance around near the set and since I love to play, I find my favorite toy to bring with me to the balance. When the food comes out I drop my toy and sit. My human strangely asks me to turn and sit a couple of times then gives me lots of praise when I sit pretty. This is when the fun begins. I get to sniff the item I’m going to balance. The food goes on my head or nose and I try to keep it there by tilting my head. My human takes out the iphone and starts talking to me. Sometimes my human waves toys in the air and does strange things to make me look cool otherwise I would always have my serious balancing expression on. It takes a lot of concentration to avoid dropping food on the ground. As for the number of tries that all depends on the item and the day. Some items roll around and others are easy.
OLLIE: Do you get to eat the food after?
Chester: Sometimes. I have a very sensitive stomach. It took my human years to figure out what I can eat without getting sick. I’m very lucky to have a human that was willing to find a food that would keep me feeling good. A tiny taste is all I need. I enjoy sharing the foods I balance with my friends, both human and dog.
OLLIE: You seem to have a nose for a variety of flavors. What's your go-to favorite food?
Chester: This is a tough question I love so many different foods. Peanut butter, roasted lamb, steak, broccoli, potatoes, yogurt and cheese.
OLLIE: Any guilty pleasures?
Chester: I love destroying stuffed toys and my human appears to be a toy dispensary.
OLLIE: There's a central theme to all of your work: balance. Any tips for other pets and pet parents for achieving balance?
Chester: My human thinks having me brings balance. A routine is a very important part of my life. I live in San Francisco and I get outside three to four times a day. Exercise and play are a huge part of what keeps me balanced and balancing.
OLLIE: When you're not treating your Instagram fans, what do you like to do for fun?
Chester: I love to hike, play fetch, swim, play with my doggy and human friends and get butt rubs. I have a soft spot in my heart for puppies and young humans.
OLLIE: Do you have a favorite photo? If so, why?
Chester: I don’t have any one favorite. I really enjoy balancing items that my IG friends request, including pizza dog and Chewbacca dog. Both of these photos were made by requests from humans who had loved ones in the hospital. I also balanced peanut butter for a company that donated peanut butter to a food bank in return for the photos. This made me super happy. I love peanut butter and think everyone in the world should have some.
OLLIE: What's your adoption story?
Chester: I came to my forever home when I was around 9 months old. My human explains that I was listed on Craigslist for free but that I’m now priceless. I live a very plush life, balancing amazing foods, hiking some of the most beautiful trails in the world with as many belly and butt rubs that I could ever wish for. I have my human wrapped around my paw.