Animals become famous for all sorts of reasons. Most of the pet influencers on social media are well-known thanks to a unique physical appearance that is just too irresistible, but sometimes, others are famous for a little personality quirk or trick.
And there is one little dachshund that earned his viral fame after he showed off his interesting ability to balance random objects atop his head.
That’s a skill that is quite enviable for all of us.
30-year-old Paul Lavery is the owner of the little dog, who is named Harlso. He was the one who made the discovery that his dog has a secret talent. The way he found out about this “hidden talent”? He placed his dog’s squeaky toy on his head as a joke.
Rather than grabbing at the toy, little Harlso sat perfectly still, balancing it on his head. Now, the talented five-year-old Harlso wears a bow tie while performing his cute little tricks. His repertoire includes balancing a globe, a glass of water, and a stack of doughnuts on his head.
Because of his quirky talent, he is now a social media star. In fact, the pint-sized pooch managed to amass more than 160,000 followers on Instagram.
Paul, who lives in Belfast with his partner, 29-year-old Jen Scott, Belfast, Northern Ireland, said, “We got him five years ago and we just fell in love with him at first sight and brought him home. For us, we didn’t know he knew any tricks, we tried teaching him to sit, lie down, roll over and he wasn’t interested.”
Paul added, “When he was about two years old I sat a chicken toy on his head and he just sat there looking at it really still. I called Jen down and said, ‘Jen! Harlso has a hidden talent!'”
That was all it took to get the couple to set up their pooch with his own social media accounts. And after just nine months, he was up 14,000 followers. And from there, it just kept growing and growing.
Paul, who is a social worker, continued, “It really started growing quite quickly. People from all over the world follow him. When we created the Instagram account it was mainly just for us, family and friends. We never expected it to take it off.”
But take off it did.
Paul shared, “I just thought, ‘Who is going to be interested in seeing these photos and videos?’” he recalled. “Harlso’s got his very own VIP fan club for the most dedicated fans and we get messages through from people wanting to meet him.”
“We got one message from a couple from Australia who said they were in the area and asked if they could pencil in a time to meet him and pet him,” he added.
Paul continues to get Harlso on picture and video for his Instagram balancing all the things. So far, he’s shown off his ability to pull off a balanced Toblerone bar, an eggplant, and even a watermelon slice.
Harlso even had a long list of outfit options, including more than 300 bow ties to pick from – lucky dog!
There is a reason for the amount of selection, as Paul explained, “We always try to match his bow tie to what he’s balancing on his head. We try to do themes for Halloween, Christmas, and Easter too.”
There is also a limit to what Paul is willing to place on Harlso’s head.
The dog owner stated, “Anything long and tall we like to try and balance on his head. You can put pretty much anything on his head as long as it’s not too heavy and too dangerous. It’s amazing because when he was balancing things it used to surprise us, but he can balance almost anything and 99 percent of the time, he manages to do it the first time.”
Paul has also revealed that people often send him messages seeking advice as though he’s “Cesar Millan,” but Paul has admitted that Harlso’s talents aren’t anything that he’s trained him to do, nor does he think that it’s something that could be taught.
“I do not know how he does this, one day he might decide to just stop,” Paul said.
Harlso’s talents haven’t gone unrecognized, as he did go on to win a 2019 Webby Award for his talents, as well as be listed as one of the Guinness World Records’ “Amazing Animals.” In addition to that, Harlso also managed to win Northern Ireland’s Social Media Personality of the Year, something quite impressive as he beat out a few humans for the title!
Regardless of his fame, he’s still the same dog as always.
Paul proudly stated, “He was always really bossy and a bit of a diva so the fame hasn’t changed him because he’s always been like that!”