10 Dogs Who Made History


Maddie Goes Viral

Theron Humphrey, Maddie, dog
Theron Humphrey and his dog Maddie appear on the NBC News' 'Today' show in 2013. Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

In 1960, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck, went on a road trip across the United States with his dog Charley, a standard poodle. "Travels with Charley" was Steinbeck's attempt to reconnect with the nation he spent a lifetime writing about.

Decades later, photographer Theron Humphrey undertook a similar journey. On his trip, Humphrey stopped at the Marietta, Georgia animal shelter and found a coonhound named Maddie. Humphrey adopted the dog and the two began a cross-country journey of their own. "I figured if Steinbeck had Charley by his side on his American travels, I needed a good dog next to me in my truck," Humphrey told CNN.

As the pair traveled, Humphrey took photos of Maddie wherever they stopped: at dinner drinking coffee, or Maddie sitting in a police car in Palm Springs, Calif. The project, "This Wild Idea," tells the stories of individuals the pair met along the way and the places they have seen together [source: Johnson].

The project went viral on Instagram, with more than 1.2 million people following Humphrey and Maddie's exploits. Maddie's uncanny ability to stand gracefully on just about anything also spawned a book, appropriately titled "Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics."