Henry and Baloo: Dog and cat travel companions gain cult following

BBC

Cat asleep on top of dog's head, with dog looking into cameraImage copyrightCYNTHIA BENNETT

Best friends Henry and Baloo have a lot in common – they have both been rescued and now enjoy long walks in the great outdoors. What makes them special to their many fans is that they are a dog and cat travelling duo.

Their unlikely friendship and hiking trips around the beautiful mountainous landscapes of Colorado have gained the pair a cult social media following.

Hundreds of thousands of people follow their adventures on the photo-sharing platform Instagram.

For owners Cynthia Bennett and Andre Sibilsky, their popularity is surreal.

Cat lying on top of dog's head in front of mountain landscape copyrightCYNTHIA BENNETT
Image captionBaloo is known for his unusual sleeping position – on top of Henry’s head

Cynthia and Andre met in Boston, but as New Hampshire and Texas natives, the couple say they are both nature lovers who were destined to move away from city life.

“We wanted to head west, toward bigger mountains. We came upon Colorado and moved on a whim, there wasn’t a lot of planning involved,” Cynthia told the BBC.

The pair started hiking regularly and once settled, decided to extend their family by adopting a dog.

Henry – a tall and lanky German Shepherd, Husky, Boxer, Staffordshire Terrier and Aussie mix – stood out right away.

The couple pose for a selfie in a tent with the two animalsImage copyrightCYNTHIA BENNETT
Image captionThe animals’ popularity has allowed the couple to pursue their love of the outdoors

“He was the same age as all the other puppies but twice the size. As soon as I got into the pen to see him, he crawled onto my lap and went belly up,” Cynthia explains, laughing.

“Andre knew then we were taking him home. I feel like he chose us in a way.”

Cynthia’s family, she says, are dumbfounded by their popularity.

“I told my grandfather, who is my best friend. He’s very outdoorsy and natural so we’ve always been really close. He thinks it’s mind-blowing.”

Andre works a typical office job in finance, but the popularity of the Instagram account has led Cynthia to scale back on her work in event marketing and focus more on updating the account and her passion for photography.

“Taking a leap as an artist is very scary and it’s not very stable in the long side of things, but I tell my followers all the time you are changing my life and allowing me to do what I love,” Cynthia says.

Dog stands on top of hilly landscape with cat on top of himImage copyrightCYNTHIA BENNETT
Image captionCynthia points out to followers that Baloo is not strapped in any way to Henry
“It’s also giving Henry and Baloo a better life, I get more time off to travel and be with them.”It is not all positive, however. Popularity has brought on some backlash against the couple’s alternative outdoor-based lifestyle, according to Cynthia.

“As soon as you get well known, you get the other side – which has been different to deal with.

“I’m like, why are you attacking a dog and a cat? I just don’t get it.”

baloo1

baloo2

But she says the support far outweighs the negativity.

Through the social platform they have been able to connect with others, such as people in the so-called “vanlife” community, who receive similar complaints and criticism over their nomadic lifestyles.

“You just have to ignore it and let it wash over you. You just read the hundreds of other comments that say Henry and Baloo brighten up their day.”

baloo

 

One thought on “Henry and Baloo: Dog and cat travel companions gain cult following

  1. totally wonderful people animals land goodness and art exist in both of you and your cat and dog you are life and love

    Like

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