Perching pooch Maddie shows off skills on TODAY set

After taking her balancing act across the country and becoming an Instagram star in the process, Maddie the dog showed off her skills on the set of TODAY Wednesday.

The cute coonhound gained viral fame last year as she tagged along with photographer owner Theron Humphrey, who traveled the country capturing ordinary people's images and stories. Humphrey's photos of his pet showing her agility by balancing on everything from two shopping carts to a basketball hoop gained a huge following on his blog, MaddieOnThings. Maddie balanced herself on a small table while Humphrey spoke with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday about the project that resulted in Maddie's fame on Instagram and Twitter.

Maddie the coonhound visited the set of TODAY on Monday after having traveled to all 50 states to show off her balancing skills. Here she takes a look over Matt's shoulder as he and Savannah prepare for the broadcast. Yosef Herzog/TODAY
Maddie the coonhound visited the set of TODAY on Monday after having traveled to all 50 states to show off her balancing skills. Here she takes a look over Matt's shoulder as he and Savannah prepare for the broadcast.

"She just has inherently great balance,'' Humphrey said. "While out on the road I wanted to remember my companion I was traveling with so I literally put her on the roof of my truck and took a photo. She just stood there and looked at me and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so amazing Maddie.' The project just grew from there. When you’re traveling, you’re always seeing new things and meeting new folks, and along the way I just started putting her on top of objects I would encounter."

Our new #camera operator, Maddie, hard at work in #studio1A. See more of @thiswildidea tomorrow on the #todayshow. Yosef Herzog/TODAY
Our new #camera operator, Maddie, hard at work in #studio1A. See more of @thiswildidea tomorrow on the #todayshow.
Maddie also did some behind-the-scenes work for TODAY, jumping in as director, headset and all. @MeleaAdrianna
Maddie also did some behind-the-scenes work for TODAY, jumping in as director, headset and all.

Humphrey adopted Maddie from a rescue shelter in Georgia and set out for a journey across all 50 states that he turned into a book, "Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics" that was released in March.

"I was just burned out on corporate life,'' Humphrey said. "The biggest catalyst was a broken heart, which I think a lot of people can relate to. I just wanted to go out into the world and connect with people and tell stories and celebrate everyday life.

"I think the beautiful thing about this project is that it grew organically over time. It started out really small, and over the course of the year, it just gained more and more traction, and more people got into it. I learned quickly that people just love dogs because they see and smell the world in a way that we’ll never be able to, and there’s something beautiful about that that brings us joy into our lives."

Maddie gets ready for her closeup on TODAY with a trip to the makeup room. Peter Kramer / NBC
Maddie gets ready for her closeup on TODAY with a trip to the makeup room.

On Monday, Maddie swung by TODAY and took a tour of the studio in advance of Wednesday's segment. She made herself comfortable in a chair in the control room and even popped up at the anchor desk next to Matt and Savannah as they got themselves ready for the broadcast.

"She’s never fallen, she’s never been hurt, and she lets me know her limitations,'' Humphrey said. "We’ve been doing it so long now that we’ve just gotten really good at it. She’s definitely well-trained."

  • Slideshow Photos

    'Maddie on Things': A man and his dog across America

    In the fall of 2011, photographer Theron Humphrey and his beloved dog Maddie set off on a year-long  journey across the country. Dubbed "a super serious project about dogs and physics," their epic journey is captured in "Maddie on Things."

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    Hitting the road -

    In the fall of 2011, photographer Theron Humphrey and his beloved coonhound Maddie set off on a year-long, 65,000 mile journey across the United States. Dubbed "a super serious project about dogs and physics," the document of Humphrey and Maddie's epic journey is photographically captured in "Maddie on Things" (Chronicle Books).
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
  • 'Maddie on Things': A man and his dog across America

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    Syracuse, New York -

    November 5, 2011 - "This was the beginning of Maddie on things, or at least me pointing my camera her way. Looking back now I remember all the details that are outside the edges of the photo. That afternoon I was helping a friend move his motorcycle when i saw this light shining between the houses. I ran over with Maddie and put her in the middle of that light, asked her to stay, and she just looked at me."
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Lakeshore, Louisiana -

    December 21, 2011 - "By the time we made it down to New Orleans we had driven a few thousand miles and been traveling over four months. I woke up on morning and a friend asked if I could get Maddie to stand on four soup cans. An hour later I was putting Maddie's paws one by one on the soup. This was the start of something."
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Hattiesburg, Mississippi -

    December 27, 2011 - “The adventure is always on the smaller roads, discovering all the Americana. I passed by this giant watermelon on Highway 11 and had to turn around.”
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Monroe, Arkansas -

    Maddie strikes an equestrian pose on January 10, 2012.
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
  • 'Maddie on Things': A man and his dog across America

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    Columbus, Indiana -

    Maddie gets gnarly on a skateboard on February 5, 2012.
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Detroit, Michigan -

    February 14, 2012 - “The fun in creating these images is that they always came together quickly. I just responded to what was around me. My friend had this red bicycle in his house and after he left for work, I wondered if Maddie could stand on it. She could!”
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Ames, Iowa -

    March 1, 2012 - “This image blew my mind. Maddie didn’t slip or wobble at all. Hats off to the sticky patch of moss on top of the globe!”
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Saratoga, California -

    Maddie in a kitchen on May 28, 2012.
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    Kaniksu National Forest, Idaho -

    Maddie way up high on June 15, 2012.
    Theron Humphrey / Chronicle Books
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    'Maddie on Things' -

    "Maddie taught me that I should wake up every day and be grateful. She taught me that committing to something and sticking to it is how we grow. But most of all, she taught me that standing on things, everyday objects, can be incredible. She's my best friend and I wouldn't trade our time together for anything."

Maddie has become such a celebrity that Humphrey said they were stopped five or six times on the streets of Manhattan by people who recognized her and wanted to take pictures. Humphrey is in the midst of a 50-state book tour and is also shooting a documentary called "Why We Rescue'' featuring stories of other rescued animals across the country.

Maddie has been Humphrey's constant companion on the journey and is usually agreeable to anything he wants to pose her on.

"If the treats aren’t good enough she’s not happy,'' he joked. "We literally spent 24/7, 365 days together, so we built a really special relationship, a great bond. I think the beautiful thing about this project is that it’s enabled me to do what I truly love, and that’s to meet people and photograph folks and hang out with my dog.''

For his next project with Maddie, he said he wants to incorporate photos of her and sandwiches.

Maddie stands tall on the couch in Studio 1A, ready for her interview. Peter Kramer / NBC
Maddie stands tall on the couch in Studio 1A, ready for her interview.
Maddie gets a peek at the morning's news with Matt and Savannah. Peter Kramer / NBC
Maddie gets a peek at the morning's news with Matt and Savannah.
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