He's not the biggest #dogofInstagram, but for a little guy who had a rough start in life, Hercules' 4,000-plus Instagram following isn't too shabby.
"It's more than I have!" said dog-mom Nichole Robertson in an interview at her Sacramento home.
Hercules' former family turned him over to the Sacramento SPCA after they arrived home to find him injured one day and couldn't afford the veterinarian bills to treat the spinal damage that left his hindquarters paralyzed.
Thanks to the SPCA, it wasn't the end of the road. With a lot of TLC and expert veterinary care, Hercules gradually regained the use of his back legs -- he's still a bit wobbly and occasionally has an 'accident' thanks to residual nerve damage, but Robertson loves him just the way he is.
Robertson had lost her beloved black schnauzer a few weeks before she saw Hercules in a video on the SPCA's Facebook page.
"He just looked like a little white version of my dog... and I felt like, I couldn't save that dog, but I thought maybe I could save this one," she said.
Robertson attended some SPCA 'Yappy Hours" to get to know him, and a few months later brought him home. Then, Hercules' Instagram success started when she started posting about him on her account.
"People had been commenting about wanting to see more of him so I just got the idea that I'd make him his own account. Then he was featured on Buzzfeed and The Dodo, and that just got people into it," she said.
'Herculesgodofcuteness' is his Instagram handle.
She and Hercules enjoy playing in the yard, napping and attending SPCA Yappy Hours.
Being a special needs dog, Hercules requires a bit more care and attention than other dogs. He occasionally has an 'accident,' probably due to nerve damaged suffered in his injury.
Robertson doesn't mind, but potential adopters should be aware that pets aren't all cuteness and fun and games.
SPCA workers work hard to make sure the animals in their care are a good match in terms of their needs and their human families' lifestyles. But they want people to understand animals are much like children: you have to take the good with the bad.
The SPCA hopes for the same success Hercules has found in his home for other animals they've treated for similar problems in recent months.
Duckie, a frisky Labrador pup, arrived at the SPCA with swimmer's syndrome; which is a condition that develops during nursing when a habitually sprawled position prevents the muscles of the back legs from developing properly.
Duckie mostly just needed some physical therapy to get him up on his feet, and he has since been adopted.
But Shelby, an adorable pitbull puppy required an expensive MRI and other veterinary care to address a spinal condition. But thanks to generous donors, the SPCA was able to come though for Shelby and is scheduled to go to her adoptive home on Sunday.
Eggsy, a sweet-faced dachshund, also suffers from a back ailment requiring specialized care. HIs progress has been good and he will be ready for adoption once he's weaned off medication and monitored to be sure he doesn't regress, said Sarah Varanini.
Furiosa, a long-haired tortoise shell kitten with a loud pur, was a bit too adventurous for her own good, getting her back legs caught in a fence she tried to climb which resulted in serious injuries. Workers thought she would lose at least one of her legs, but after weeks of diligent care, she showed off a pair of good sturdy hind-legs.
Furiosa will soon be available for adoption as well.
The SPCA encourages animal lovers to support their veterinary work on behalf of distressed animals.
"Your donation will support the Sacramento SPCA Paws for Health Fund -- helping animals like Furiosa who need special veterinary care and extra TLC," according to the SPCA website. "Our dedicated staff and volunteers take the time to help ensure the animals who come to us get every chance to find a good home."