March 23, 2021
Balancing Love & Dogs | Dog Edition #10

Dogs help us find balance in our topsy turvy world ... sometimes in unusual ways. Find out what happens when your dog gets involved with your search for love. Also, meet Harlso, the Celtic dachshund whose remarkable poise is admirable AND entertaining.

Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance ... but dogs can help. If your pup is looking for a fresh lap to snuggle, a new dating app can help you find one. And Harlso, the surprise dog with a surprising talent, models poise and equanimity. 

Must Love Dogs 

Have you ever broken up with someone because they didn't get how great your dog is? You're not alone ... and Leigh Isaacson, CEO of Dig, has an app for that. Her new dating service skips the middle man to negotiate with the real decision-makers ... our canine companions. Join her and Lauren Francesca, whose love for George guides her dating choices. Will their human-dog love match lead to a human-human love match? It's a dog-eat-dog world, but George always comes home to a steak dinner.  

Harlso the Balancing Hound  

Paul Lavery didn't quite know what to make of Harlso when they first met. He'd returned to Belfast after a solo vacation ... and Jennifer, his partner, had offered the stubborn dachshund a home. The new family lived in peace for a couple of years before the dog revealed a hidden talent. Harlso's head is a perfect place to balance all manner of objects ... and Instagram finds his efforts both charming and hilarious. His celebrity status enables the family to raise funds for charity, including IVDD. Intravertebral Disc Disease is common to dachshunds and other long-backed breeds. Today, Harlso's hard-headed ways are the much-needed foundation for education and treatment. 


1:44 Actress Lauren Francesca 

2:51 Just How “Dog” Are You? 

3:44 Lauren Thought She Was Dating A dog Person  

5:58 The Dig Dates Theory 

6:50 Dating Is A Little Like Goldilocks 

7:47 First Date Advice 

9:50 Welcome to Belfast! 

10:48 Introducing Harlso – A Normal Family Pet 

11:08 Harlso’s Hidden Talent 

12:55 Harlso’s Internet Success 

14:36 It’s Not All Fun and Games 

15:18 All For A Good Cause 

16:12 Harso Gets Hit With IVDD 

17:15 Back to Balancing! 

18:06 The Wrap Up 

About Lauren Francesca 

Lauren Francesca is an actress and model who makes fitness and comedy videos. She's based in New York and Los Angeles, where she lives with her Shnoodle, George, who is recovering from his cancer treatment.­uren 

About Leigh Isaacson 

Leigh Isaacson and her sister Casey created the dating app called Dig. Dig connects dog-people through one thing that’s already crucial to them—their love for dogs. 

Harlso the Balancing Hound 

Harlso is a 6-year-old dachshund from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has over 250,000 followers worldwide due to his ability to balance almost anything on his head. He has been featured worldwide in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. The videos of Harlso balancing different objects often go viral. One day he hopes to get a Guinness World Record! His owners, Paul Lavery and Jennifer Scott leverage Harlso’s fame to raise money for good causes. 

Harlso Merch: 


>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:00] Hey, Jim, play along with me. Go ahead and open up that email I just sent you. We're going to read it together.

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:08] Okay. I got it.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:10] All right. I just gotta say you and your pup are looking awfully fetching.

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:20] Well, we seem to be into the same things. Dogs included. We should get together sometime and see what we unleash.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:29] Oh, that's a nice dog. Does he have a phone number?

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:40] Okay. Okay. I think we're off to a ruff rough start here. What are we doing?

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:45] What are we doing? Good question. So these are some of the many dog pun pickup lines I found online when researching our first story.

>> James Jacobson: [00:00:53] Dog pun pickup lines. I get it. Okay.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:00:56] Yes. Yeah. You're so you're supposed to go to the dog park and try these out.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:01:00] Meeting at the dog parks would always be a great place to, to meet people because you know that like, Oh our dogs get along.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:07] In the dog, eat dog dating world. Fido is King.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:12] Or Queen.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:14] Hi, I'm James Jacobson.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:16] And I'm Pamela Lorence.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:18] Welcome to Dog Edition. The first show designed for you to listen to while you walk your dogs.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:25] First up you'll hear our story Must Love Dogs.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:29] And later in the show, we introduce you to a surprise dog with a surprising talent.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:35] If you like what you hear, follow Dog Edition in your favorite podcast app, just click that little button and follow Dog Edition, so you never miss an episode.

>> James Jacobson: [00:01:44] So if you love dogs, as much as we do pause what you're doing, leash up your pup, and let's take a walk.

We've got a lot to talk about on today's episode of Dog Edition.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:01:56] Hey Pepper, wanna go for a walk.

>> James Jacobson: [00:02:03] A recent study conducted by One Poll, found that four out of five dog owners say that how their dog reacts to a date is very important in determining a love match. Actress Lauren Francesca would have to agree.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:02:18] Yeah, it definitely would affect the opinion. Cause I, cause I do trust George's


>> James Jacobson: [00:02:23] George is her 13 year old schnauzer poodle or Schnoodle.

He was destined to be her dog.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:02:30] I was working at, I did a modeling job on this TV show, like in 2008. And they had a doggy segment after, and this like billionaire CEO comes up to me with a dog. He goes, this is your dog. And I'm just, I'm very like spiritual. So I was like, it's a sign. It is my dog. And I adopted him that day on the set.

>> James Jacobson: [00:02:50] Because George has now been in Lauren's life for a long time. He's become a determining factor in who she dates.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:02:59] He's been through many relationships that did not work out. It's really sad. It's very hard on the dogs too, I feel like, cause they get attached to whoever you're dating. And it's just a

very, very hard.

>> James Jacobson: [00:03:09] According to the poll mentioned earlier, if you're a dog person dating someone who isn't a dog person, that's worse than dating a bad tipper or having a terrible fashion sense or not wanting kids. Lee Isaacson is CEO of Dig Dates, a new dating app for dog lovers.

>> Leigh Isaacson: [00:03:28] Dogs are not just the animal in your house. They represent a lifestyle. It is how much you spend on your pets. It is how clean you keep your home.

>> James Jacobson: [00:03:40] And before you date someone, it might be a good idea to find out just how dog they are.

>> Leigh Isaacson: [00:03:46] Dogs have gone from the dog house to, in your house, to in your bed. And I'd say there's a next step of everywhere with you. And so where do you fall on that spectrum is very important because dog people are just as varied as the dogs themselves.

>> James Jacobson: [00:04:02] Lauren thought she was dating a dog person for four years. It was over the course of the relationship that her dog George became progressively ill and Lauren found out where on the dog person spectrum her boyfriend fell. One night. George was in a medical crisis.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:04:25] Passed out. Like I had to give him CPR. And I rushed in my car to the, uh, to the emergency vet. And he was like, it was in the middle of the night. He was like, just go to bed.

You're, you know, taking my sleep. He's going to die. He's old anyway.

>> James Jacobson: [00:04:37] Her boyfriend's reaction was a red flag. Lauren was determined to give George whatever medical care he needed. His condition could be improved with open-heart surgery and there was a veterinarian in London who could do it. So she jumped at the chance.

Her boyfriend didn't agree with that decision.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:04:57] He's like, you're picking the dog over me. So he got really angry and he's like, you know, cause the surgery was not cheap. It was very expensive surgery. About yeah. About 30 grand for the surgery. And then staying in LA, not saying I like staying in London for the whole month.

>> James Jacobson: [00:05:12] The heart surgery was a success. Lauren brought George from London to recover at her childhood home in New York. The boyfriend was still in LA.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:05:22] You know, my boyfriend was still there, pissed off that I spent so much money on, on the heart surgery thinking I'm crazy. And he's like, well, if you want to, you know, spend all that money for two more years, he's like, you know, he's like dogs die.

That's what happens.

>> James Jacobson: [00:05:37] While in New York, a new medical issue was discovered. George had cancer and would need treatment. Lauren opted to stay in New York during the course of the radiation treatment.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:05:50] My, my ex was like, well, I just can't wait for you anymore. You're picking the dog over me.

>> James Jacobson: [00:05:57] That was it.

Lauren and her boyfriend were on different ends of the dog person spectrum.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:06:03] He grew up with dogs, but I guess some people have different philosophies.

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:08] Lauren's story is exactly the kind that Leigh Isaacson has been hearing over and over from dog lovers. It's what led to the Dig Dates theory.

>> Leigh Isaacson: [00:06:18] Our theory is don't you want to know that upfront, right?

Don't you want to have these conversations first? Don't you want to, you know, bring these, um, all of these mixes together to say, you know, is this worth it to move forward and to figure out together or not?

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:33] That theory proved to be correct. Last year, Dig Dates heard word of the first engagement to come from the dating app.

>> Leigh Isaacson: [00:06:40] Um, it was a 70 year old man and a 54 year old woman. It was his second marriage, her first marriage. He had a dog and she did not have a dog, but she thought she was supposed to have one to be on the app, so she stole her friend's dog to take photos for her profile.

>> James Jacobson: [00:06:57] She stole the dog and you know, that little deception will give the couple, a very funny story to share at their wedding.

But back to Lauren Francesca searched for a dog person to love. It's a little like Goldilocks trying to find just the right balance. This dog person was too much.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:07:17] The guy, when I got George, he tried to take George when we broke in the breakup. He wanted George and I was not giving him George.

>> James Jacobson: [00:07:25] And this one was not enough of a dog person.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:07:29] I, I went on a date with a guy during COVID. We were at his house watching a movie because we can't do anything. And he like the dog peed in the house. So then he like pushed the dog and like put the dog in a timeout. And it just, I was just so affected by it that I was just like, Nope, no, no second date for you.

>> James Jacobson: [00:07:50] She's dating someone now, but he's not even on the dog person spectrum at all.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:07:56] Maybe this isn't the right guy because he doesn't like the dog. Something is off. Something is how do you not like a dog? I don't get it.

>> James Jacobson: [00:08:05] Lauren says now that when she goes on a date she brings George along to get a sense early on if the relationship can work out.

So then you

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:08:12] can really see how a guy acts, if he's okay with the dog, how nice he is. Cause some guys are just like, totally turned off by it. And then you can tell right away, they're not going to be like the right person, but then some people are like really nice to him. So then I'm like,


>> James Jacobson: [00:08:26] Leigh advises the same strategy on Dig Dates.

>> Leigh Isaacson: [00:08:29] First first date is going on the, the dog walk together. Um, you know, during COVID we like to say, keep two leash lengths apart for your six feet. You know, that was an easy way of doing it.

>> James Jacobson: [00:08:40] A dating app, like Dig Dates might be what Lauren and George need to navigate the dog eat dog world of dating.

>> Lauren Francesca: [00:08:48] Well, I'm just, I'm curious about this dog app.

I'm like, okay, maybe this guy isn't working, I should get on this doggy app.

>> James Jacobson: [00:08:54] For those of you wondering how George is. He completed his treatment and is doing very well at home with Lauren in Los Angeles.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:09:03] Happy ending. That's good. That's

>> James Jacobson: [00:09:05] happy ending in LA George and Lauren. And I don't know, maybe you're listening to this and,

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:09:12] can I buy, can I buy you a treat?

>> James Jacobson: [00:09:17] I don't know what we do with the pickup lines, but I don't think the ones that we read at the top of the show are the right ones. Lauren sounds awfully sophisticated.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:09:24] Yes. Yes.

Stick around for our next story. It starts with a dilemma.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:09:30] Jennifer got a bonus in work and she has always wanted a Dachshund.

And her dilemma was wherever to spend it on getting her hair done or to buy a Dachshund.

>> James Jacobson: [00:09:43] And that turned into her surprise for her partner.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:09:46] I was on holiday with a group of friends and I came home to find that the Harlso was now a part of the family.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:09:56] Harlso, the story of the surprise dog with a surprising talent you're going to want to stay to hear about.

>> James Jacobson: [00:10:02] We'll be right back with more Dog Edition after this.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:10:08] Let's take a little journey to Belfast, Northern Ireland's Capitol city. At one time, it was an industrial powerhouse, albeit one with a troubled past. The ill-fated Titanic was constructed in the many slipways in the shipbuilding district of this port city. And for a bit more trivia, all eight seasons of Game of Thrones were filmed in and around Belfast.

>> James Jacobson: [00:10:28] That is cool. I didn't know that about Belfast.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:10:32] It's become a thriving, modern city, but is it a dog friendly city?

>> Paul Lavery: [00:10:38] Yeah, I think it Belfast is quite dog friendly. Um, Not as friendly as some of our other counterparts in the UK. Um, there are certainly places that we visited, which are a lot more dog-friendly than Belfast, but we're starting to get there,

I think.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:10:54] That's Paul Avery. He and his fiance, Jennifer live in Belfast. Their Dachshund, Harlso, may be a contributing factor to the growing love for dogs in Belfast. Harlso has become famous worldwide.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:11:06] Harlos, um, he's a normal family pet.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:10] Does he sit?

>> Paul Lavery: [00:11:11] No.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:12] Does he roll over?

>> Paul Lavery: [00:11:15] He's he's a really stubborn, Dachsund.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:17] Nothing unusual there.

Right? Dachshunds are notoriously stubborn and difficult to train. No. Harlso's fame came from something surprising.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:11:27] I always describe this as Harlso's hidden talent. And it gives me some hope that maybe I've got a hidden talent that I haven't found.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:11:35] Harlso is the self-proclaimed King of Balancing. This adorable Brown and black Dachshund with his big winsome eyes sits perfectly still while balancing things on his


>> Paul Lavery: [00:11:48] He's not some sort of like circus animal that's balancing stuff on his head all day, every day. Um, he balances maybe once or twice a week, um, things which are fairly safe and dog friendly.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:12:02] Things like a cheeseburger, a roll of toilet paper, a baseball, a slinky, a Rubik's cube, a stack of cookies.

And one of my favorites, a house of cards. I would have bet money it was taped together.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:12:14] It actually wasn't as taped together, as, as people imagined. There's little tiny bits of glue, um, on the corners, but it did collapse. Um, because I, I got a lot of messages from people thinking that, that it was like Photoshop or we don't even really know how to use those types of things.

I wish, I wish it did know how to use Photoshop.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:12:38] Okay, before you start to wonder how Harlso feels about all of this, you can rest assured he sees it as a game one that he gets treats and belly rubs as a reward for playing. And the couple is careful with the things they put on Harlso's head.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:12:51] If they, if it doesn't look safe or, it looks like something is heavy, we're probably doing something to manipulate the items, so it is lighter. It has, his welfare comes first for us. And I think in, I think in five years, I don't think we've even taken 400 photos in five years. So. Um, yeah, once or twice a week, we'll do something and upload it.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:13:13] So you can imagine the images and videos, right?

Cute dog, doing something cute. It's the perfect formula for Instagram success. In fact, Harlso the Balancing Hound won Social Media Personality of the Year and a Webby award. And it all started with a game of fetch when Harlso was about two years old.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:13:32] Our living room is, was quite long and I was throwing his toy chicken and.

Harlso is relentless whenever it comes to play time, like he just wants to play for about six hours. And, um, I was getting really tired of throwing the chicken and he just kept bringing her back and he was exhausted. The tongue was hanging out. He was panting and he still wanted to play. And I just put the toy chicken on his head.

And he stayed perfectly still. I think he was a bit in shock and like, what's going on this isn't the game. Um, and he stayed perfectly still and looked at it. And I took a photo on my phone because I couldn't believe my eyes.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:10] A few weeks after the toy chicken episode, it was Valentine's day. And Paul balanced a single Rose on Harlso's head and sent a photo to Jennifer.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:14:18] And she messaged me back like, Oh my God, Is this something that he can do, like he doesn't do anything else.

This is amazing.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:26] It was Jennifer who first posted a picture on Instagram of Harlso's new found talent.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:14:32] I joked with her at the time, like who's going to want the follow this and she was like, och, it's just for friends and family, to see our little silly photos. And I said, you'll not get a hundred people who will be interested in this.

And I suppose, fast forward five years and there's hundreds of thousands of people people who follow Harlso now. It's, It still blows my mind to be honest.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:14:54] Okay. But being an internet celebrity is not without its stressful moments.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:14:59] We began to feel a little bit under pressure ourselves. You know, like, we'd be getting messages like Harlso hasn't balanced anything for two weeks. You know, and there is an article online in India,

um, and I suppose that's whenever we realized that Harlso was a bonafide celebrity was because there was a, there was an article in India that had said that Harlso had passed away because we hadn't uploaded in so long. Um, one of his followers messaged me saying I've just seen this article in India that says that Harlso has passed away.

And I was like, no, he's sitting on my knee, he's fine.

Paul says, they're not doing this out of self-interest. They've leveraged Harlso's fame for good causes.

Last year, Harlso's page managed to raise around or over 50,000 pounds um, for charities

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:15:51] The Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors benefited from Harlso. And he's an ambassador for a UK charity called Play For Strays, which distributes toys to shelters.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:16:00] Dog toys are so far down on the list of what shelters can afford to spend their money on when it comes to, you know, providing shelter and food and veterinary bills. Sometimes, sometimes toys go unnoticed and it's such an important part whenever you're adopting a dog that you're adopting a dog that knows how to play.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:16:19] And he's also an ambassador for Dedicated to Dachshunds with IVD D. It's a group that loans equipment to Dachshunds in the UK recovering or disabled post IVDD. And it's an ailment Harlso experienced.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:16:38] He went down with IVDD. For, for those listening who don't know what IVDDD is. It's a, it's a common issue in Dachshunds and I believe also dogs corgis, those dogs, which are low but long. Um, and it stands for Intervertebral Disc Disease. And the easiest way I can describe that is when a desk slips and is pressing on your spine.

Um, and unfortunately, Harlso's burst. He went down one Saturday night and was paralyzed at his back legs. And we were very fortunate to be able to get him in and have surgery on Monday morning.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:18] Paul said Harlso had a very long recovery.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:17:21] He got there in the end with lots of therapy and rehab and we've done absolutely everything we could to get him back on his legs.

And thankfully did, and he's running about now as if nothing ever happened.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:17:33] And back to balancing things on his head. So what will we see next on Harlso's head?

>> Paul Lavery: [00:17:44] The big event coming up this year for us is me and Jennifer are getting married. So Harlso is going to be best man at the wedding. And no doubt, he'll be balancing our wedding rings at some point that day.

>> James Jacobson: [00:17:56] Wedding. Happy wedding. Wow. That's beautiful. So it all started with a Dachshund who could balance a rose on his head and now there are wedding bells.

This is beautiful.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:06] It's a great, great, great story. And, uh, you know, I wish the couple well. Paul was very sweet to talk to. I didn't get to see Harlso. He was on the floor next to, uh, next to Paul. Wish I had seen him.

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:18] But you can see him,

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:19] I can see him on Instagram.

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:22] We will link to that in the show notes.

>> Paul Lavery: [00:18:25] He's good boy. Give your dog some, some belly rubs from us.

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:29] Will do. Doing it right now as we talk. Thanks for bringing Dog Edition along with you on your walk today. Why don't you go ahead and give your dog a belly rub. We'll be back next week with another episode, but chances are that you and your dog will be taking a walk between now and then, and we have something else for you to listen to.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:18:50] If you're interested in hearing more from some of our guests, please check out DPN sister show The Long Leash for Jim's extended conversations.

>> James Jacobson: [00:18:58] This week, you can hear my extended conversation with Leigh Isaacson from Dig Dates

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:03] and subscribe to Dog Edition, so you can take us along on your dog walk next time.

>> James Jacobson: [00:19:07] When we consider all things dog.

Every episode we'll bring you stories about history or science or politics

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:15] or true crime, pop culture, and current events.

>> James Jacobson: [00:19:17] We'll speak with thought leaders, newsmakers, and maybe even some celebrities.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:23] Dog Podcast Network is for dog lovers by dog lovers, and that means we want to hear from you.

>> James Jacobson: [00:19:28] Visit our main website at Dog Podcast

And there's a button there on our shows page and the bottom right of every show page where you can easily share your story with us by sending us a voicemail. Or you can call our listener line on a telephone anywhere in the United States at,

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:19:47] Eight, six, six T A L K dog. I'm not going to sing it for you today.


 You can check the show notes for links and information about guests on this episode.

>> James Jacobson: [00:19:57] We are looking for correspondents here at Dog Podcast Network as we grow this network. And so if you are a content producer who loves dogs, check out our Hundred And One Dog Stories Contest, with over $15,000 in

prize money.

>> Pamela Lorence: [00:20:13] And join our pack. Be sure to follow Dog Edition in your favorite podcast app. And tell a friend about the show. I'm Pamela Lorence and I'll see you at the dog park.

>> James Jacobson: [00:20:21] And I'm James Jacobson. I want to thank you for listening today. On behalf of all of us here at Dog Podcast Network, we wish you and your dog a warm Aloha.