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Alpena couple, Siberian huskies near social media milestone

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Oakley, left, and Memphis do an agility exercise with the direction of Jessica Hatch. The dogs love it outside no matter how cold it may get in the winter.

ALPENA — An Alpena couple and their pets are on the verge of achieving a social media milestone.

Jessica and Jamie Hatch are nearing the 1 million subscriber mark on their YouTube channel called Gone to the Snow Dogs, which showcases their homelife and adventures of their Siberian huskies, Memphis and Oakley, who are the current stars, and previous cast members Shiloh and Shelby.

From the time the first video was posted, the dogs have become so popular that the Hatch family has received endorsements from large corporations such as Dyson, Sony Pictures, Petco, and Bayer. It isn’t the notoriety and corporate sponsors that drive them, Jessica said. It is the reactions and support they get from their legions of faithful followers.

According to Jessica, her fun and joy comes from the Snow Dogs community, which has become emotionally invested in the dogs. They have been part of a journey that has had its ups and downs over the years. The closeness they feel, Jessica said, causes them to reach out and correspond daily.

The Hatchs’ home is decorated with fan art that was sent to Alpena, as well as letters and other trinkets.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Gone to the Snow Dogs creator and CEO Jessica Hatch checks her YouTube subscriber total last week. The Snow Dogs are featured in most social network platforms and have millions of followers throughout them.

“I have just boxes full of artwork people have made of the dogs,” Jessica said. “It is unreal the amount of things that people send. I can make a comment about Oreos being our favorite cookie and I will get a box with toys for the dogs and of six different types of Oreos for us. People feel connected to us and that is what we wanted. We wanted to build a community where people love the dogs just as much as we do.”

Jessica said she shared some of the difficult times involving the dogs with her followers, which caused tears and sorrow.

She said viewers were watching as three of her dogs were reaching the end of their lives, which was hard on some of them.

“I would get messages from them telling me they had to unfollow because they just couldn’t handle seeing the dogs go through what they were, but after a few months they came back,” Jessica said. “Like us, they needed the time to grieve because there is that attachment there.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Jessica Hatch shows off the YouTube milestone awards she has received. When they reach 1 million subscribers, they will receive a gold Play Button award.

Jessica said “since the YouTube channel was launched,” the Snow Dogs can be followed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and other platforms. Combined they have well over a million followers and are gaining steam upward.

In the coming years, Jessica said, she wants to grow the dogs’ brand even more and offer more products to lovers of dogs and animals in general. She said Gone to the Snow Dogs will continue when the inevitable happens and Memphis and Oakley pass.

“We love our dogs. They are our life, just like the other ones before them,” she said. “It is such an honor to share our lives with our followers and let them see what we are all about. I never expected this would become as big as it has, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Hatch said she has already received a pair of silver Play Button achievement awards from YouTube and, when they reach 1 million, they will get a gold one.

She said they also get paid for their content, but that is not the driver behind what they do.

Courtesy Photo Oakley and Memphis like to pull sleds through the snow with willing riders like Jessica. They love to be outside in the winter and play in the snow.

“I didn’t start doing this because of the money. I did it for the fun of it and for the connection I get with people,” she said. “That isn’t going to change.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Oakley is one of the stars of the Gone to the Snow Dogs franchise and enjoys being outside playing, or just relaxing.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz The Hatchs’ love for Siberian Huskies has led to stuffed animals and other items being displayed in their home.

News Photo by Steve Schultwitz The cast of Gone to the Snow Dogs has changed over the years, as several of the stars have passed away. Their legend lives on however in the memories of the fans, as shown in this artwork that was fan-made.

News Photos by Steve Schulwitz The Gone to the Snow Dogs fans have sent many pictures and paintings that the Hatch’s have on display in their home in Alpena. Jessica said she has boxes of letters, drawings and other trinkets in storage.

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