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Vancouver dog with Instagram account loves to get people to fetch

Hannibal is a golden retriever with his own Instagram account.

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Hannibal prefers to play outside of the box.

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The 18-month-old golden retriever is obsessed with retrieving. But the regular visitor to Nelson Park dog park in Vancouver’s West End does so with a twist.

Instead of having someone on the dog park grounds throw their toy so they can pursue and retrieve them, they actively seek out random passers-by to do the deed.

So many people were surprised when the big dog dropped his colorful ball over the fence for them to throw that he’s become a local online celebrity. Signs at the park edge proclaim, “Play fetch with Hannibal: Then tag me in your video on Instagram #HannibalisFetching.” There’s even a QR code for “more adorable fetch content.”

Owner Jonny Alex Power, 31, says retrieving was genetically imprinted on his pup, whose full name is Hannibal Barka after the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca.

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“He got used to it without any training and used to play with me when he was very young, but he got bored of it quickly and started playing with the other people in the park,” Power said. “One day the ball was thrown across the floor, someone picked it up and threw it back and he had the revelation that he could play while the whole city went by. Now he’s the easiest dog to tire because he does it on his own.”

Just don’t change locations and he’ll play all day. Come through the gates and you don’t exist.

Jonny Alex Power with Hannibal at Nelson Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022.
Jonny Alex Power with Hannibal at Nelson Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

“Kids will throw the ball outside the fence for him a couple of times, then come in and be totally ignored,” Power said. “He’s already at the edge of the park looking for someone new to get into the game. He doesn’t even care that much about food, he’d rather play.”

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Power, a software engineer from Belfast, has been on Instagram for a while. He admits he wasn’t very active. That’s all changed now that he’s overseeing the account of a rising neighborhood celebrity.

“People at the park watched his antics over the fence for a while and finally said if I didn’t Instagram him they would, so I set it up,” he said. “But I didn’t put up the signs in the park, someone else did that and sometimes takes it for a walk. Now he has more Instagram followers than me.”

Hannibal may only have 130 followers so far, but a community of digital dogs is growing. Among those he follows are murphythebrownlab, bernie.blueberry and the one and only rocket_bully.

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Hannibal poses with his own poster at Nelson Park Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022.
Hannibal poses with his own poster at Nelson Park Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG
Hannibal poses with his own poster at Nelson Park Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022.
Hannibal poses with his own poster at Nelson Park Dog Park in Vancouver on June 16, 2022. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

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