If you’ve seen a man whizzing through Leeds city centre on a hover board with a pram, then there’s a chance you’ve come across busker Hayden Harris.
Then if you were to look a little closer, you would just about make out a furry face nestled inside the pram and wrapped up in blankets.
Underneath the transparent cover lies furry four-legged friend Mollie, a Maltese Yorkshire Terrier – or morkie as the breed is often referred to.
The pram-powered pooch accompanies her owner Hayden, 63, wherever he goes, especially when he’s singing show tunes and ballads in the city centre.
“People do love her but I don’t let people stroke her too much,” said Hayden
Hayden said: “When people look in the pram and say ‘oh my god, it’s not a baby, it’s a dog!’ I tell them, it’s my fur baby.”
The Moortown man loves taking Mollie with him wherever he goes, especially when he’s out busking visiting John Lewis or Pret a Manger.
“Mollie goes in the pram with all the comforts she needs, in the winter a hot water bottle and in the summer she has a fan and a cool pad,” he said, recounting her various luxuries.
‘It does turn a lot of heads’
“I took her out for the convenience to begin with but now I take her out because people love to meet her. It cheers people up and it cheers me up.”
If you want to take a picture with the three-year-old morkie, there are some ground-rules, however. You’re forbidden from using a flash and you must ease up on the stroking, as her comfort is tantamount.
Hayden said: “People do love her but I don’t let people stroke her too much. The most important thing is that she’s relaxed.”
Hayden usually sings in the city centre about two days a week
(Image: Samuel Port)
The idea to take Mollie out in a pram came from a place of “initiative” about two years ago and Hayden prides himself on being able to recalibrate objects to suit his means.
He said: “It’s like the squeezy Fairy Liquid bottle that can be made into a spaceship. I look at things and I think, what can I do with that?
“I like gadgets, I like to make things out of things.
“I realised that I wanted Mollie to be with me wherever I go, so I thought I need something that will look after her while I’m out and about or having a coffee. There’s many dog friendly places now that allow you in, like John Lewis – she goes into John Lewis quite a lot.”
Busker Hayden Harris takes his dog Mollie with him everywhere in a pram
(Image: Samuel Port)
The idea to connect a hoverboard to the pram came soon after, as a way for them to conveniently travel from his canal boat and across town.
Hayden saw a Youtube video of someone pushing a disabled person in wheelchair using a hoverboard and decided to buy one and adapt it to the pram.
“It does turn a lot of heads,” he admits.
The 63-year-old is quick to stress the financial and emotional responsibility of looking after his “fur baby” however, and says all the money he earns busking goes into his grocery shops and products for Mollie and his guinea pig Charlie.
Follow Samuel Port on social media
Hayden, who used to produce videos, busks as a “stress relief” as he describes the practice of singing to people as “therapeutic”. Having Mollie with him “aids” him throughout the day and the pram has been a gamechanger.
After Hayden first adopted Molly from the Dog’s Trust, she was “all over the place” and he couldn’t stop “fretting” over her. The pram solved all of these problems.
Hayden said: “It’s a great way of interacting. The busking, dog in the pram and the hoverboard. It might all seem a little bit crazy but it’s ‘happy-crazy’ and people want to smile.
“We’ve been through the most terrible time and 99.9999 percent of the time, I cheer people up.”
Have you seen any quirky characters in Leeds? Leave your stories in the comments section below.
To get the latest email updates from LeedsLive, click here.