Teddy the Spaz Man is a 3 1/2-year-old hound mix who lives with a man, a woman, two dogs and a cat, last name Warren at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.
The Warrens, Diane and Aaron, first met Teddy at a shelter in October 2014 and brought him home here to Canton, where he has lived happily ever since.
You might have heard of him. He’s goofy. He’s funny. He’s every man’s dog. And perhaps most important of all, he has more than 65,000 Facebook and Instagram followers, which is more than a lotta humans can say, including this writer.
Actually dogs, cats and, I’m told, a growing number of hedgehogs have become all the rage here lately with not just Facebook pages but Instagram accounts as well. There are literally thousands of them.
“Part of it is pets have so much charisma and it gives owners an opportunity to show off that personality, to put a voice to their four-legged fur babies’ unique character and personality,” said Danica Kombol, CEO of the Everywhere Agency, a social media and influencer marketing firm in Atlanta. “It really allows owners to speak on behalf of their pets and share with the larger community what their pets are thinking and doing.”
It’s not clear who exactly speaks for Teddy — that cute and forever expressive face of his or Diane Warren, the spaz kid turned grown-up digital marketing consultant.
While Teddy lounged upstairs in his golden coat and burgundy bow tie the other day, I sat down with Warren to get the 411. She’s a little better at newspaper interviews than Teddy, so here it goes.
According to Warren, Teddy, first believed to be a coonhound-greyhound mix, was born 62.5 percent mixed hound, 25 percent American foxhound and 12.5 percent basset hound.
She knows this because in March she had a DNA test done.
That might seem extreme even to a pet lover, but Teddy’s fans were always asking, and because he’s so unusual looking, Warren was curious.
Plus no one really knows who Teddy’s parents were or where he came from. Volunteers at Big Canoe Animal Rescue found him tied up one day outside the shelter.
In any case, when Buddy their redbone coonhound mix passed away from liver cancer in July 2014, that left the Warrens’ black Lab mix Roxie all alone.
“It was devastating,” Warren said. “She and Buddy grew up together and were super tight.”
Unwilling to see Roxie go it alone, Warren logged onto the internet in search of a new friend for the Lab, and that’s when she happened upon a photo of Teddy.
She and Roxie and Aaron hopped in the car and headed to Big Canoe, where after a long walk around the place, Roxie and Teddy, then about 6 months old, started to bond and the rest, as they say, is history.
They brought Teddy home that day and discovered in no time flat that the hound was nuts. Absolutely nuts, tearing around his new Canton digs at 100 miles per hour, knocking over everything in his path.
“I immediately called him Teddy the Spaz Man,” Warren laughed.
As it were, Teddy reminded Warren of her younger self, when like the Spaz Man, she had loads of energy and was always making others laugh around her childhood home in Iowa.
“I guess I was a funny kid, but when I was growing up, Spaz was a term of endearment, it meant that you were being a little wacky or making someone laugh.”
Teddy is what the shelter called him. Warren added the Spaz Man and tagged the hound that soon thereafter as she started posting his funny little mug on her personal Facebook profile.
When friends noticed the many “insanely crazy faces” of Teddy, they suggested Warren create his own page and she did just that shortly after, with the sole intention of just sharing him with friends.
We all know how that turned out. In just three years, Teddy the Spaz has become quite the celebrity with his face plastered on calendars, coffee cups and T-shirts. And come 2018, he will be the face of a Hallmark Christmas ornament and greeting card.
Despite his celebrity, the fast-talkin’, she-dog lovin’ sweet golden hound still prefers cheese curds and bacon to vegan any day. Vegan is Warren’s idea, but Teddy’s not having it. Nothing moves him like cheese curds, bacon and even pizza bones, which he and his fur pack often enjoy while dining on the patio at Ipp’s in Woodstock.
And that’s not all. Teddy loves the outdoors, being active and going places with the Warrens.
But he lost any interest in those things when Roxie passed. For six months, he watched his old friend battle lymphoma. Then in August 2016, after the Warrens tried everything to save her, Roxie couldn’t go on anymore.
Her death left Teddy in a tailspin.
“He didn’t want to do anything anymore,” she said. “He wouldn’t go in pet stores or even walk across the a parking lot.”
That’s when the Warrens set out in search of another friend for Teddy. This time, they found Violet, a black treeing walker coonhound mix and pointer of some sort at the Atlanta Humane Society, and brought her home, and Teddy was soon himself again.
Turns out Kudzu, the nickname they gave her because she clings to Teddy, is nuts, too. On top of that, Teddy lives with Yogi, a wise three-legged senior Chihuahua, and Mama Kitty, a diva calico cat.
Guess that means you have to be nuts to fit into this family, but to the naked eye, they look fine to me.
Crazy in a funny kinda way but fine.
Teddy wags his tail and jumps for treats just like every other dog I’ve met, so don’t let the burgundy bow tie fool you. He’s still, well, a dog.
But I couldn’t help wondering where he got all that attitude that’s so evident in those Facebook posts. And, Lord, the sense of humor.
Is it Warren or Teddy alone? For the life of me, I still can’t tell.