Paul Lavery and Jen Scott of Belfast, Ireland, never dreamed that the four-month-old dachshund they saw in an ad and brought home in 2014 would turn into the Instagram-famous hound he is today. With over 25K followers, Harlso, now three, has made quite an impact on dog lovers around the world, all by balancing random objects on his head.
The first time Harlso—who the couple originally named Harley (as in Davidson) but nicknamed Harlso and the moniker stuck—balanced an object on his head, it was a complete accident. Harlso has a toy yellow chicken he plays with. One day, after a long game of tossing the chicken, Lavery stuck it on Harlso’s head on a whim and the hound froze. Lavery called Scott to take a look and Harlso still hadn’t budged.
Lavery got a photo of the moment and posted it to Instagram. Later, on Valentine’s Day, Harlso got a rose and balanced that on his head. Cue another Instagram post. Soon, the comments and followers on Harlso’s account came flooding in.
“I never thought he’d get so popular,” says Lavery. “He does have this really cute look on his face [when he’s balancing things].” Judging by Harlso’s the enthusiastic comments he gets on his posts, scores of other people agree.
Out and about, Harlso has managed to maintain relative anonymity. One time, however, Harlso was at the groomer getting his nails clipped and woman grooming him commented that she knew of a dachshund who balanced objects on his head. “She had no idea the dog she was talking about was right in front of her,” Lavery says.
A Natural Balance
As for his balancing skills, Harlso is a natural. He doesn’t balance every day, but he still allows objects to be put on his head with ease for his photo shoots (which happen a few times a week). And he doesn’t do other tricks. “He doesn’t sit, lie down, or roll over,” says Lavery.
“We want to make sure he doesn’t get bored,” Lavery adds. “Harlso knows he’ll get a reward for balancing something.” To date, Harlso has balanced dog food, dog toys, and even a champagne glass (filled with bubbly!) on his head.
Other dogs will balance things on their heads, post to social media and tag Harlso’s Instagram account, but it’s safe to say they’ve yet to reach Harlso’s mega-star status. Lavery is always impressed by the dogs who are even smaller than Harslo because, he says, “it’s much harder for them because of their size.”
At Home with Harlso
Despite his sudden popularity, Harlso is very much just a regular, well-loved pet at home.
“I don’t think he knows any different because he’s always been adored and spoiled here,” says Lavery.
Scott adds that being famous definitely doesn’t keep the dachshund from being a mamma’s boy. When she hurt her ankle recently, Harlso was extra attentive. “He stuck by me like glue to make sure I was okay,” she says.
When Harlso isn’t showing his best affections, he takes his role as pup of the house very seriously. He has a loud bark despite his miniature dachshund status (his actual size falls in between that of a miniature and a standard) and he makes sure to give a stern warning when anyone comes to Lavery and Scott’s home.
Although Harlso is currently one hot dog on the Internet, Lavery and Scott are both taking the calls, fan mail and press in stride. “We don’t know how long this will continue, but it’s been so much fun,” says Lavery.
As for Harlso, he seems to be content to balance a thing or two on his head every now and then, especially if it gets him treats, belly rubs and cuddles. Judging by the thousands of comments Harlso gets on every post, his fans don’t want him to stop any time soon.
Photos: courtesy Paul Lavery and Jen Scott
Christina Chan covers a range of topics from health and wellness to pets. She’s fortunate to have her canine companion, Ellie the pug, snoring by her side during writing sessions.