An adorable Tampa dog has become a social media sensation thanks to his doting owner. Elysse Gorney had moved from Orlando to Tampa for her first law firm job and had been living here for a year when she decided to get Kevin, a golden retriever puppy who has become better known as @agoldennamedkevin.
Gorney built Kevin’s social media following to 486,000 followers on Instagram and 1.8 million on TikTok (as of January 2023). She originally made his Instagram account per a suggestion by his breeder so that she could keep up to date with pictures and see how he was doing. The breeder had her other puppy owners create accounts and it helped her to keep in touch with her puppies.
“Rather than bombarding all my friends, I thought it could be a fun, cute way to create this digital scrapbook for Kevin and put all his photos in one place,” Gorney recalls.
The accounts became their own dog community where she was able to keep in touch with other owners from the same litter and a useful tool if Gorney had questions regarding Kevin’s potty training, sleeping habits or otherwise.
Expanding from just posting pictures, Gorney started posting videos of Kevin and his everyday antics. In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began and many people started working from home, she posted even more videos of Kevin. Since she was home every day, she was able to get real-time videos of him being his silly, outgoing self. This is what really propelled more views and followers to his account. Kevin became known for his duck hat, which spurred wearing other goofy hats in his videos, and he has a huge collection to show for it.
Not only does Gorney enjoy Kevin’s company and capturing his adorableness for social media, but also Kevin helped Gorney come out of her comfort zone.
“Because of his outgoingness, it helped me put myself out there more in the Tampa community and meet new people,”Gorney says.
Gorney got Kevin when he was 8 weeks old. She would take him for walks on the Tampa Riverwalk and he would draw passersby’s attention with his outgoing personality. She then branched out and started taking him to Hyde Park, another dog friendly area. There she would take him into the shops, sparking conversations with owners and other customers.
“I slowly started making friends on Instagram,” Gorney says. “We would have puppy playdates.”
Hyde Park has become Kevin and Gorney’s second home on the weekends. They love to grab coffee at Buddy Brew and hang out at Downtown Dogs. You can also find them walking along Bayshore Boulevard or at Sparkman Wharf where they meet up with their dog friends. Another favorite of theirs is Armature Works, where they can both grab a bite to eat.
Being a part of such a dog friendly community and all the love they have been shown on social media has helped Kevin and Gorney make Tampa feel even more like home.
Like shopping at Downtown Dogs? Get to know the owner René Neff.