The Journalist Dog Bore
Dog Bore: Fiona Reid
Job: Blogger and journalist
Miniature wirehaired Dachshund, Kirkintilloch in Scotland (we live in Edinburgh)
How did you meet your canine companion?
We - my partner Richard and I - had been thinking about starting a family, which for us meant getting a dog, but we'd decided to wait until we weren't living in a top floor flat in the city centre but had ground floor living and a garden. However, as for so many people, the recession turned all our plans upside down, and we felt that although we couldn't move, we also couldn't put the rest of our lives on hold. My Mum has a wirehaired dachshund, Harris's Uncle Bracken, so we contacted his breeder, who put us in touch with a breeder in Kirkintilloch who had two wirehaired puppies. We knew we wanted a wirehaired dachshund as a buddy for Bracken, and also we needed a small dog and one that didn't shed as I'm reactive to dog hair. So we drove to Kirkintilloch, "just to have a look," we said. And we met Harris.
What’s the story behind your dog’s name?
We wanted a very Scottish name, and we had a few in mind - Baxter was high on the list. But there was a two week period between us meeting Harris and bringing him home, and during that time we thought, "He's a Harris." He had a very dark coat as a puppy - he's dark brindle, but had more black in his coat as a pup - and somehow Harris felt... right. We waited until we brought him home before deciding. There is, of course, the Isle of Harris, and the name Harris suggested ... something connected to nature. Rugged and windswept nature. And it's turned out to be the right name!
How has your life changed since you have had your dog?
Where to begin! We knew what we were letting ourselves in for because we'd spent lots of time with Bracken, yet still our lives changed completely, especially mine. My work had already changed post-recession and I was spending more and more time at home - we'd never have got a dog otherwise - but I found my days and life becoming much more Harris-orientated. Rather than going out - to the cinema, to walk in town or go to a café - I realised I'd rather be at home with Harris. Or out walking with him. Rather than living a city life, our weekends became about what beach or woodland we could explore with Harris. "What would Harris like to do?" became our focus, which means that we've spend longer exploring and walking than we ever did before. I feel much more connected to Harris than I could ever have imagined. He's my best buddy, my constant companion. He's taught me to slow down and pay more attention to the smaller moments of life. I feel a sense of peace being around him, and I realise that no work or job can ever give me that. He's fundamentally changed my priorities.
Which 3 words best describe your dog’s personality?
Gruff, devoted, stubborn.
Who’s your dog’s favourite person?
Ha! Well, Harris adores his Dad, especially as Dad is all about adventures and exploring and fun. But Harris is my shadow.
What’s your dog’s superpower?
Mind control. He has us so well trained (Harris is now 5, so he's had plenty of time to train us to his standard) that he no longer has to bark a need our way. He just gives me a look and I find myself getting him a chew. I don't know how he achieved this.
If your dog had a job, what would it be?
He'd definitely be self-employed as he's way too stubborn and strong-willed to work for anyone else! And he's an outdoors kinda guy. He lives for the beach or a woodland walk. Soooo.... a self employed tour guide for Scotland's beaches?
What’s your dog’s most unappealing / most embarrassing habit?
Trying to scavenge tiny little dried up bits of poop left on the streets round about where we live when we take him out for our last walk at night - very late, when we're both really tired and he knows our reaction times are slower! (Thankfully, this is not a nightly occurrence. Thankfully, people are very good at picking up poop where we live!)
Where can we find you hanging out with your dog?
Beach or woods. Beach and woods. East Lothian is blessed with some beautiful beaches and woodland walks.
Finish this sentence "a dog walks into a bar….”
... and grouches softly but gruffly. Harris likes people to know that he's not there to be friendly to everyone, and to clarify who's boss