Meet Topher Brophy and his 2-year-old dog, Rosenberg. It didn’t take long for people to notice how much they look alike. In fact, walking down the streets of New York City, they have been stopped so many times that they started dressing alike too.
“One day, as a joke, we wore matching outfits and people started to crowd around us, all with smiles on their faces,” explains Brophy. “Seeing that this brought happiness to people was energizing and has become our engine.”
They've both rocked a purple polo
“Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of emails from people going through a hard time that find our work uplifting or therapeutic, which is more gratifying than words can express,” Brophy tells CBS News. “There is so much turmoil in the world right now, and we are trying to add levity and help people live in the moment.”
One look at the pair in their matching double polos with sweaters tied around their necks, and it’s clear why Brophy’s Instagram account is bringing some much needed levity into the world.
They both have black belts in living in the present
Brophy also hopes his photos with Rosenberg help people live in the moment. He says that is one of the many lessons that being a “dog dad” has taught him.
“Because animals aren’t aware of their own mortality, they aren’t tortured with our anxieties and are permanently in the present. In a way, they are enlightened,” Brophy explains.
They're upstanding gentlemen
Brophy and Rosenberg hope to spread deeper messages with their photos, as well.
“On the surface, this is a humorous art project, but our goal is to use the attention as a portal to deliver ideas that are important to us. Rosenberg and I consider ourselves so lucky to have found each other,” Brophy tells CBS News. “So, we are on a mission to spread love, compassion, kindness, and understanding to as many people as possible. We use our photography and video work as a portal to spread this message.”
A better look at the twins
Brophy adopted Rosenberg a little over two years ago, when he was going through what he describes as a rough time.
“I wasn’t in touch with my feelings and didn’t feel emotionally healthy,” he says. “To mask this, I was overindulging in competitive sports as an escape. I spent all my time playing rugby, wrestling, squash... weight training to make up for the lack of connection. I pushed myself to the point that I badly herniated a disc in my back.”
Time for self-reflection
Brophy’s back injury restricted him from all athletic activity, and with his escape stripped away, the young real estate investor was forced to spend a lot of time alone, reflecting on the state of his life.
“My problem was that I was self-absorbed and narcissistic,” Brophy tells CBS News. “I knew I badly needed meaning in my life and thought caring for someone else would be healthy. This is when I started the adoption process for Rosenberg.”
Then Brophy's canine doppelganger changed his life
“I suspect that narcissism could be a larger problem in our society that many people are suffering from unknowingly,” Brophy says. “For me, becoming a dog dad was the key to overcoming this. Now, by always putting Rosenberg’s needs before my own, I am more self-aware and now incessantly focused on making other people happy. This, in turn, makes me very happy.”
Ducks in a row
Rosenberg, the canine half of this social media sensation, is half Australian Shepherd, half Poodle. It’s a combo known as an Aussie-Doodle, which serendipitously looks just like Topher Brophy.
And the resemblance doesn't stop with looks
“Our personalities are similar in a lot of ways,” explains Brophy. “We’re both introspective, but can also be super playful and can feed off other people’s positive energy. Rosenberg loves to lure people in, than [sic] make them chase him. He follows this up with a ‘you can’t catch me’ dance, while smiling, which is super adorable. I have my own versions of playfulness, which probably comes out in the photos.”
They're beasts of the same nature
“We’re also both very affectionate, athletic, and can be a little moody when we haven’t eaten, which is something we need to improve on.”
They can both rock a sweatband
“Growing up, my father told me ‘never hesitate to express yourself’ and that ‘only real men wear pink’,” writes Topher Brophy in the caption to this Instagram post. “I pass these words of wisdom down to my son, @rosenberg, who like me, is also drawn to this color. We just learned that pink represents compassion health, unconditional love, as well as the giving & receiving of nurturing. Pink also symbolizes hope, which more than ever, is needed in the world right now.”
They're both curious
“Curiosity: a strong desire to know or learn something, is a defining characteristic of children, but not most adults,” write Topher Brophy in the caption to this Instagram post. “Seeing the world through @rosenbergthedog’s eyes allows me to live curiously, where everything is a learning experience, everyone is a potential friend, and the world is filled with infinite possibilities again.”
They both like hip hop
“@rosenbergthedog and I are music enthusiasts,” write Topher Brophy in the caption to this Instagram post. “We have respect for all genres, but our favorite, by far, has always been hip hop. For us, it is a constant form of inspiration, as well as motivation. Its the only music we listen to at the gym.”
He then includes the following rap lyrics by KRS-One: “Rap is something you do. Hip hop is something you live.”
...clearly a philosophy, which Rosenberg the dog has fully embraced.
They both admire tech giants
In addition to spreading messages of love, levity and equality, Topher Brophy and Rosenberg use their photos as a vehicle to praise American heroes. This pic, for example, was snapped in homage of Steve Jobs.
“On top of creating millions of jobs, he also pioneered a new way to interact with technology, which changed the world,” Brophy wrote in the caption to this Instagram post. “His life’s work is proof that if you follow your dreams relentlessly, nothing is impossible.”
They're culturally fluent
“We dress up in different characters because we are proponents of diversity and want to pay homage to different cultures, religions, orientations and professions,” Brophy tells CBS News. “We have a profound respect for everyone and consider ourselves citizens of the world. We also want to unite people together. So, by playing these different characters, we aim to break down barriers and illustrate through metaphor that we’re all really the same. This message is very important to us.”
They both observe the Changing of the Guard
Topher and Rosenberg snapped this upstanding shot after an appearance on a British morning show.
“@rosenbergthedog and I have great affection for the people of the United Kingdom,” wrote Topher on Instagram shortly afterward. “They are our cultural forefathers, and as fellow homo sapiens, our bond with them is more important than ever... [We] are excited to spread our message of companionship, love and understanding to the people of this delightful civilization.”
The hats certainly help!
Too many to choose
When asked which photo is his favorite, Topher Brophy told CBS News that it’s far too difficult to pick just one. “At least every third photo becomes our new favorite, so it’s constantly fluctuating,” he said.
They both wear pink polos
Brophy took to Instagram with this photo in honor of NYC Pride.
“I support equal rights,” he wrote in the post’s caption. “If you can’t deal with that, I can’t deal with you.”
The magical power of a dog
Brophy says he’s aware of how lofty it sounds to try to communicate such weighty messages with photos like these.
“But I feel that animal companions can help us be more tolerant of our differences and be an important bridge in conflict resolution,” he explains. “If they are treated with love and respect, they give directly back and never judge us based on our race, religion, cultural differences, income levels or political affiliations. As humans, particularly in these contentious times, we can learn a lot from this. In 2017, Rosenberg and I will do everything we can to spread this message. If we can reach even one person, it would be very worthwhile.”
They both love their home
“While @rosenbergthedog and I consider ourselves citizens of the world, New York City holds a very special place in our hearts,” writes Topher Brophy in the caption to this Instagram post. “Its dynamic melting pot of people from different cultures, races, religions and sexual orientations breeds compassion, understanding and equality. These are the core philosophies of our mission and life’s work.”