This one-time shelter dog is so famous, fans sought her out at a Hilton Head resort

How Instagram-famous dog ‘Tinkerbelle’ spent her Hilton Head vacation

Tinkerbelle has 170,000 Instagram followers and her own pet-friendly travel blog. Here's what brought the pup to Hilton Head Island — and how she spent her vacation.
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Tinkerbelle has 170,000 Instagram followers and her own pet-friendly travel blog. Here's what brought the pup to Hilton Head Island — and how she spent her vacation.

Beaufort County sees its fair share of celebrities enjoying its luxurious resorts, award-winning restaurants and picturesque beaches, but Hilton Head Island’s latest big visitor weighs only 5 pounds.

Tinkerbelle the dog, who has 177,000 followers on Instagram, and her owner Sam Carrell were staying at the Sonesta Hilton Head Resort this week and sharing their adventures on social media.

“Tinkerbelle’s travel blog is all about pet-friendly resorts, and it gets out the word that you can come here with your pet and it’s OK,” Carrell said.

Their trip to Hilton Head was sponsored by Sonesta Hilton Head to help spread the word that dogs are welcome there and to highlight the resort’s amenities on social media.

“We do have several rooms that are dog-friendly,” said Margaret Hoynes, spokesperson for Sonesta Hilton Head.

Carrell, who said it was her first time to visit Hilton Head, called the island “super-friendly” and “welcoming.”

She said local residents saw on social media that Tinkerbelle was in town and came to the resort to meet her and take photos with her.

Sam Carrell Submitted

The adorable papitese — a 6-year-old papillon-maltese mix — who has sponsors for her clothing and food, was named the second-most entrepreneurial dog in America by Entrepreneur magazine.

That’s a long way from the life she was living in an animal shelter when Carrell rescued her.

At that time, Tinkerbelle weighed only one pound and didn’t seem to have a promising future.

“She wouldn’t eat for them,” Carrell said. “She wouldn’t come out of the corner of the cage for them.”

That changed when Carrell, who said she was visiting the shelter to see a friend, not choose a pet, saw Tinkerbelle.

“There was some connection between us,” the actress and dancer told InStyle. “I took her right to the vet and they told me she had been traumatized and she just needed love. ... I brought her everywhere I went. Everybody would stop me, and after awhile she was happy to meet people.”

One of those people was an agent the pair met on a casual walk in New York City.

Sam Carrell Submitted

Tinkerbelle’s first job was for Ralph Lauren, and she so charmed the company officials that they made her the face of the campaign.

Since then, she’s worked for numerous major brands like Swiffer and PetSmart, among many others.

In 2016, Fox Business reported, the diminutive diva dog grossed about $20,000. Carrell said she’s been even more successful since then.

“She’s really good at posing,” Carrell said. “I just talk to her and she listens. She’s so cooperative.”

One section of the pup’s website is dedicated to her travels.

Sunday, on Instagram, Tinkerbelle posted a photo with a Sonesta Resort beach bucket of dog treats.

“Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat. Will be my motto for this vacay,” the caption reads.

In other photos this week, the pampered pet is pictured waiting for breakfast in bed wearing hot pink pajamas, chilling in a hammock with a large pair of sunglasses, and posing poolside wearing a pint-sized robe (and a different large pair of sunglasses).

Tinkerbelle’s travels have taken her to Europe, the Caribbean and all over the United States, according to Instagram. Earlier this year, she was photographed on the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Each of her Hilton Head photos had more than 3,000 likes by Friday morning.