Social Media Star: How One Border Collie Came To Own A $500,000 Pet Mansion

If you’ve spent time on Instagram or Twitter, you’re bound to have watched a video or seven of dogs eating watermelon or even follow a few furry friends. The trend of people posting photos and videos of their pets has become so popular that it’s evolved from being just a comfortable form of engaging on social media. As one good boy proves, simply posting viral clips on social media can lead to the success of a pet product empire and living in a luxurious mansion.

Meet Sylar, a celebrity Border Collie who is living his best life and owns a $500,000 pet mansion in Beijing, China. Sylar’s owner, Zhou Tianxiao, 31, transformed an old warehouse into a doggie dream house quipped with every possible luxury from air-conditioned rooms filled with giant pillows to an indoor pool. Better yet, murals of Sylar decorate the walls of the entire mansion.

Zhou built the home for Sylar because the dog turned his life around. After watching YouTube videos of dog trainers and studying their techniques, he taught Sylar to perform all sorts of tricks from walking like a human to leaping on tables. Using his phone to film Sylar’s tricks, Zhou began posting the footage, set to pop music, on Meipei, the Chinese version of YouTube.

One share rapidly spawned into millions, and people began to write to Sylar, draw fan art of the dog and ask advice on dog training. Sylar garnered nearly 800,000 followers and with such a huge spotlight on his best friend, Zhou was inspired to start a dog food and toy store on Taobao, a Chinese online shopping website. The immediate success of the store helped Zhou to afford and renovate an old warehouse in Shunyi, an upscale Beijing suburb.

Now, the mansion is open to the public and pet owners can treat their best friends to medicinal baths, soothing oil massages, an overnight stay in air-conditioned rooms or a swim in the pool.

Zhou and Sylar’s story goes to show just how much social media can leverage the popularity and success of a pet and its owner.

By: Maytinee Kramer

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