Sheila Flaherty

A fine wine importer and her hilarious rescue mutt

By the Get leashed Doggy Style Team

Sheila Flaherty - Get Leashed Ma

We love rescue pets for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that they’re full of gratitude. Pets that understand they’ve been rescued are so thankful; they’re oftentimes such attentive, personable members of the family that meeting and photographing them is an absolute delight. While some pets display their thanks with joyous bursts of tail wags and affection, meeting Hokee was a whole different, hilarious experience that we won’t soon forget.

Sheila rescued Hokee from a far away town in northern Ontario and the mutt may have the most chilled out attitude of any dog we’ve ever met. It seems that her gratitude comes in the form of relaxation. It’s as if she’s saying: “thank you for saving me, now go about your business, I won’t get in you way.” Sheila has a lot of funny anecdotes about her time with her dog, which is just the best; there’s nothing better than a good dog story. So without further ado, we’ll leave it to Sheila to fill you in on how Hokee fits into her life.

Sheila Flaherty-GetLeashedMag

Please tell us about yourself:

I am an importer and distributor of fine wines in Ontario. I mainly work with producers from the Burgundy region in France, but also some in Champagne, Tuscany and Napa Valley. It’s funny because if you told me ten years ago that I would be in this line of work, I would have called you nuts. Growing up I wanted to be a human rights lawyer and my end goal was always to work for the UNHCR. Life works in crazy ways, but I really love where I’m at now. No one is ever mad when you walk in the door with a bottle of Champagne.

A bit about your pet:

Her name is Hokee and she is my angel. To this day I’m convinced that she found me, not the other way around. My mother also happens to be an angel and helps run Cat Lake Friends of Animush, which runs missions to Northern communities to both educate people on respect for animals as well as running spay and neuter clinics. Four years ago, I was just about to begin a new job when my mother called, having just returned from Cat Lake. I remember thinking that there was just no way I could get a dog in the flux state I was in at the time. I was walking down Queen as my mother told me the story of ‘Peeps.” She was born a stray and always had been. She set up camp out back of the grocer and always had to make her way on her own. She suffered stab wounds, getting hit by a car and multiple breaks over time which has left her legs a little wonky. The community became tired of her and asked that she either be removed or put down. Needless to say I was a sobbing mess by the end of the story and two days later had this greasy, very overweight old bear standing in front of me. To this day, she is very independent. We’re like really great roommates. I’m just more into wine and shoe shopping and she’s more into squirrels and rolling in dead things.

Hokee - Get Leashed Mag

What does your ideal weekend look like?

On Saturdays, I love being able to get out of the city. Any weekend that I’m not away, Hokee and I are usually Caledon-bound, where my father has almost 400 acres of adventure zone. I’ve lived in the city for a long time but I crave the woods. Hokee and I will go on long walks in the back fields and hang by the fire with good vinyl. It is so quiet up there and resets everything at the end of the week. Sunday is totally family day. My better half owns a restaurant, so Sunday is always the day we have to either be around the house or go on sweet dates!

Describe your personal style:

Hmmm… Constantly contradictory. Boyish and girlish all at once. Emmanuelle Alt in more Marant. If I’m too put together I don’t feel like myself.

What inspires you?

My family. I come from a big one and everyone is very successful and happy in their own right. They are all completely unabashed in doing what they love and have built themselves great lives by being really loving, cordial and smart go-getters.


How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

I don’t think we’ve been here long enough yet to know! I love the comfortable and rustic elements combined with modern touches. I’ve realized that it’s a totally different design game moving from an industrial loft to a classic row house – so it’s slowly coming together. We face a park and have a backyard now, so needless to say, Hokee has no complaints.

A story about Hokee:

One day, in the first month or so that I had her, we stopped by a friend of mine’s home for a glass of wine. We couldn’t stay as we were late for an event, so took off as steaks were going down on the barbeque. As you can imagine, Hokee is extremely interested in steak. I coaxed her out the front door and we were strolling down Bathurst towards the house when she stopped, quickly pulled herself right out of her collar and went running back up Bathurst, around the corner, down the street and to the porch of the home we were just at. She was dead set on making that steak a reality. There was no coaxing happening and finally I picked her up and waddled all the way home in 5” heels with her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Lovely bystanders all assumed something must be terribly wrong, to which I could only mutter “She’s fine. She’s just an a**hole.” For awhile it was as though she thought it was too good to be true – like she didn’t believe her meals were going to be great and come regularly for the rest of her life. I think she gets it now, but man, she sure still does love barbecue.