He’s a rescue dog living in Sydney where he plays a big part in the city’s German Shepherd community.
Continuing the legacy of Rex on social media, Phoenix has 3.2 million TikTok fans and over 53,000 followers on Instagram.
The two-year old uses his platform to educate his followers about the German Shepherd breed as well as put smiles on faces with light-hearted content.
When Phoenix isn’t melting hearts on Instagram and TikTok, you’ll find this handsome German Shepherd relaxing at the beach or playing at home with a stuffy.
We spoke to Phoenix’s owners to learn more about Phoenix, Rex’s legacy (you read our interview from 2020 here) and what life is like owning a GSD.
1) How have the last couple of years been for you?
An absolute rollercoaster. The passing of Rex was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. But then I met Phoenix who needed a good home and he reminded me why I love dogs so much.
2) How did it feel to see TikTok’s huge reaction to Rex’s passing in 2020?
It was heartwarming to see just how many people’s lives he had touched. He was an amazing dog. We had some many messages of love and support (and still get them) along with talented and creative artists providing us with beautiful keepsake artwork. I think his passing shocked us but also those people who followed and loved him too.
3) Can you share some background into how you ended up with Phoenix?
Phoenix’s story is a rough one. For the first year of his life, he spent it with a family with two disabled children. Unfortunately the family went through a divorce and could no longer care for him. The next six months were spent with an elderly lady and her senior GSD. Phoenix was a bit of a handful back then and needed someone who could dedicate time and training with him. This led him to the rescue process for a second time which is when we met him. My wife thinks it was a sign that Phoenix came into our lives when Rex passed as the name means “to rise from the ashes” and I also have a Phoenix tattoo on my back. Maybe it was fate!
4) Can you give us an insight into Phoenix’s personality?
Phoenix is one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever come across. Every morning he comes into our bedroom and sits next to me waiting for me to wake up and give him scratches and pats. He loves a good cuddle and will bury his head in my armpit constantly. Phoenix has a beautiful temperament and loves to play with his stuffed tours, squeakers and balls. Anyone who arrives at our house, he runs to get them and thinks they are there to play with him.
5) How has training Phoenix been?
When we rescued Phoenix, he walked terribly on lead, constantly pulling and lunging towards people and dogs. We sought out a professional to help teach us how to train him and we haven’t looked back. He’s got a very high drive for a showline dog and is extremely intelligent. He just needed someone to set boundaries and help him direct his energy. We have trained him to be a very obedient dog and to get walks off lead perfectly and can even do a few tricks.
6) How did it feel to have Phoenix as part of your wedding? Do you think he could sense it was a special day for you and your partner?
Phoenix was a big part of our wedding day and you could say he stole the show. He got ready with us and was even present for the first look! He wore a little dog tux and carried our rings plus he was the only member of our bridal party so you could say he was very important. Phoenix got a bit excited and ran down the aisle before his cue and then proceeded to say hi to all the guests and when you gotta go you gotta go (lucky it was off to the side) then he came back and laid by our feet waiting for his ring duties.
7) What does day-to-day life look like for Phoenix?
Phoenix has a pretty healthy routine, early morning walk/training session followed by breakfast while I’m at work. My wife works from home three days a week so he gets some company but really sleep as most of the day. Then we go for an afternoon walk when I get home with more training mixed in. Dinner then chill and bed time.
8) What are some of Phoenix’s favourite things to do with you, your wife or his four-legged friends?
At home he loves squeaky plush toys (they don’t last very long!). His biggest motivator are balls! So he only gets to play with a ball during training. He’s a pretty popular doggo at our local park and has a few girlfriends!! He’s got thing for female Staffies.
9) Is there a big German Shepherd community in Sydney?
Yes! Last time we spoke our group had around 10 people. We’ve grown that to 40+ all around Sydney and have a monthly Meetup. We look like a wolf pack hanging out at the park with all the German Shepherds but they play so well together and tire themselves out.
10) How has Phoenix found filling Rex’s big shoes on social media? How has the reaction been to Phoenix?
I think Phoenix rather enjoys it, there is always treats involved or affection. The reaction he received has been very positive, people spot us on the street and know Phoenix from social media. Although he doesn’t have the iconic ears like Rex the fans love his cute attitude and puppy playfulness.
11) Do you prefer photo or video content to capture Phoenix’s personality?
We love both and understand the importance of capturing as much as you can of both forms. But we can’t go past a great photo opportunity at the beach.
12) How does it feel to see your Instagram and TikTok channels grow so much since we last spoke?
Incredible! It definitely feel like we’re starting to make it as influencers and have defined our channels with different types of content for our audience to ensure there is a mix of beautiful photography on the feed, distraction, short form and fun content on stories/reels/TikTok and long form educational content on IGTV. It takes a lot of time, effort and passion to create the content but when we get feedback from our fans thanking us for being a great dog owner and advocate for German shepherds it makes it all worthwhile.
13) What advice would you give to someone looking to start a dog account for their pet?
Be authentic, have fun and be honest with your audience and lastly have fun doing it, it should never feel like a job.
14) Do you have a favourite post of Rex on social media that is guaranteed to make you laugh or smile?
There are so many, but most likely the candid video post where Rex is being clumsy and falling off a rock into the water. This post got picked up by pubity pets and went viral!
15) What has been your favourite trend of 2020 or 2021 that you managed to do with Phoenix?
We do SO many trends with Phoenix that we couldn’t just pick one. Phoenix is constantly being dressed up and put into funny scenarios with voice overs that always ensures the person watching will either smile or have a giggle.
16) What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you first got Phoenix knowing what you know now?
Make sure he wasn’t de-sexed when we reduced him so we could make Phoenix puppies and also enter him into dog shows as we reckon he would win (his brother is a champion)