Chicken… of the Sea
With an Instagram following of over 51,000 and a verified blue check mark by her name, it could be said that this Florida native is on the path to stardom. As it is with most successful personalities, she has an agency and many TV appearances under her wing, but there is something very different about this celebrity that makes her stand out from the rest of the flock. Sammi is a chicken.
Having been featured on People Magazine, “MTV” and “The Today Show,” Sammi has made a name for herself across the country. It’s not often you see a poised chicken who is photoshoot ready at all times, needless to say Sammi draws a spotlight wherever she goes. This jetsetting girl is much more than a chicken who loves the camera, though; her owner says that Sammi “is footing the bill” for the expansive travel as she has her own credit card and tax ID number.
“Each time we went into the water, there would be people lined up and down the beach taking photos and videos and wondering what the story was. They would always say ‘I have to tag you in this on Instagram!’ I was confused by this wondering why I would have an Instagram for my pet chicken?”
“She is a business unto herself,” said owner Dave Cox, who bought Sammi at three days old after his longtime dog of 17 years, Cort, passed away in 2017. “So she truly is footing the bill for our adventures and all of the revenue we collect I put right back into Sammi for the next adventure.”
Cox, 46, spoke with South about his adventures with Sammi since the two were brought together four years ago, after they were spotted recently in Savannah enjoying the sights.
South Magazine: You and Sammi have built quite the following on her Instagram account (@SammiChicken), how did this all begin?
Dave Cox: Our journey together started in 2017. When you have a dog, or any pet, for almost half your life, it’s almost an impossibility to replace it. If you decide to get a new dog, it is hard to not compare it to your old dog, therefore I just didn’t feel ready to get a replacement dog. From there, I decided I needed to do something different petwise. I went to the local feed store and found myself at the baby chicken coop where I didn’t hesitate to pick one up and immediately bring her to the beach. I would say she has been a beach chicken since day one because of this!
For more about Sammi’s adventures and behind-the-scenes shenanigans, visit Sammi @SammiChicken.
S: How did Sammi first get introduced to the beach and to the water?
DC: She was almost a year old and the weather was warming up so we started going to the beach. We would just hang out in lawn chairs and everything and then there was a day when the water was extremely calm. It was a perfect day and I wanted to go swimming, but I couldn’t just leave my chicken in the beach chair and say ‘please just wait there.’ So I decided let’s just see what happens. I picked her up, we went out to the water and I set her down. She was like a duck taking to water. Totally accepting, trusting. She could have easily went back to the shoreline, but she didn’t. She circled around and came over to me and was just completely trusting of me and the water from the get-go.
S: And when did the public begin taking notice of you two in the water?
DC: Each time we would go to the water, there would be people on the beach lined up taking photos, videos and just wanting to know what the story was. We would visit with them, and they would always say ‘I have to tag you in this on Instagram!’ And I thought what? Why would I have an instagram for my pet? Who does that? Well, hello everyone does that I guess I was living under a rock. So I set up an account for Sammi just so these people on the beach would have someone to tag in the photos they were taking. A few weeks after I set up the account, someone messaged us and said a radio station in Arizona had talked about us and that certainly helped (the account) to gain a following early on.
S: Sammi is represented by a pet agency in Los Angeles, what is that relationship like?
DC: Well, it’s interesting to look back because I didn’t know if I needed to get her an agent. I got her as my pet, and of course I couldn’t have known that she would be famous or have these kinds of opportunities, but I wasn’t ever in it for that. So I got her the agent and they now deal with sponsors and appearances and stuff like that. It has been helpful because I got inquiries all the time for Sammi. A recent campaign we did was for Kellogg’s when they came out with a new product (in September 2020) and wanted us to be their “spokes-animal.” So the agents handle all of that and they line up our sponsorship like with clothing companies and others we have a good relationship with. The pet agency really knows that environment so I just let them tell me what to do.
S: What places in the south have you and Sammi particularly enjoyed?
DC: Yeah, Savannah is in the Top-5 for places we have visited, and I’m not just saying that because of who I’m talking to. I absolutely loved Savannah. The community, the people and the layout. Obviously, when you have a pet of my sort, although it may be pet friendly, we are not always welcome there. And I respect that. I totally respect their wishes. But Savannah’s walkability was so nice and the beauty of the city is really easy to see when you are on foot so I’d say that is at the top of our list. Other places I’ve enjoyed were St. Augustine, Florida, Helen, Georgia, Wilmington, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee.