At The Stables With The TV News Journalist
By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
Living in an urban center, it’s not every day you get the chance to be surrounded by the beauty and gentle energy of horses. For TV news journalist Christina Stevens, the stables are her escape from the demands of investigating hard-hitting news and city life. Lucky for us, she invited us to meet her big show jumper, Elliot, and her special rescue dog, Mensch, who loves any time he can be outside and with Christina. Read on as we get to know this dynamo reporter and her boys.
Please tell us about yourself, your profession, and what a typical work day is like:
I’m a television news journalist and I typically work on in depth investigative stories and projects, so it’s hard to say what a typical day is like! The only thing typical, is that every day is extremely busy. Some days it’s a lot of research, other days it’s interviews, writing, editing, and meeting deadlines – just very busy.
Outside of work life, I spend a lot of time here at the stable. I rode horses competitively as a teenager and I just got back into it a couple of years ago doing show jumping. It’s absolutely my outlet. From the minute I get to the stable, even grooming my horse, just hanging out, riding, until the minute I leave, I don’t think about work once or feel stress once. It’s completely just me here with the horse.
Please tell us a bit about Mensch and Elliot. How did they come into your life? Is there a story behind their names or Mensch’s particular breed?
Mensch is a rescue. We think he is about four now, he was about a year and a half old when we adopted him. He’s from a high kill shelter in Southern Ohio. He was brought to Ontario by a local rescue which goes there and brings back dogs who would otherwise be euthanized. We met Mensch and he didn’t leave us any choice but to take him home. He wouldn’t leave me alone! He came up and stuck his head against my leg and wouldn’t even back up enough so I could see his face. When I moved, he moved, still stuck to my leg so we knew it was a perfect match. Mensch is a Doberman. Some people don’t want to adopt a Doberman because they have preconceived ideas about the breed, but we were happy to, as they are lovable, loyal, athletic and sweet. Mensch was a bit of a challenge at first; he was quite sick with food allergies and he was very detached, he wasn’t interested in us or playing. I tried to give him a ball and he just looked at me as if to say, “What’s that?” But now, he’s healthy and he’s a big suck! He’s 85 pounds but likes to sit on my lap. He’s also become good buddies with Elliot. I’ve been riding Elliot for a couple of years now, and he is truly a gentle giant. He’s the sweetest guy with a heart of gold. He genuinely wants to work hard and he tries really hard to do what you ask of him. He can jump anything and seldom makes mistakes. Despite his size though, he is a bit of a chicken, little things will scare him, so he needs some reassurance.
Elliot came with his name – his show name is Edinburgh. But Mensch, is a mensch. It’s a Yiddish word and it’s basically a person with a good heart or good soul. So you’d say “He’s such a mensch!”
How would you describe your personal style, either at home or on camera?
I would say my style is classic. It is fashionable but definitely not trendy. I prefer really good quality clothes with elegant lines. I have to admit though I like to be coordinated to a fault. I get way too excited if I can find shoes which match a necklace or top perfectly. I’ve always really enjoyed fashion, but when I am out with the dog or horse it is a different story, as I am usually covered in dirt or slobber. That doesn’t sound very classic or classy, does it?
What do you do in your downtime? What’s part of your ideal weekend?
The horse, the dog, the husband! But seriously, I love hanging out at the stable. My husband and I do a lot of hiking with Mensch. We like to find new trails and will go all over the place to different parks to find them. Mensch loves it, and where it’s safe to do so, he enjoys running around off leash. Because I am a runner, people sometimes ask how he keeps up to me, but with four legs, I can’t keep up to him!
What inspires you?
Honestly, I do a lot of stories about people in really difficult situations, often battling the government or the system. Some of the things that these people go through are incredible. But somehow they stay strong and determined in the face of unimaginable challenges. They never give up when it comes to helping their family member or someone else in need. Their stories make me appreciate what I have and they inspire me with their courage. I work a lot and I put a lot of long hours in, but to tell their stories and to be able to help them is extremely inspiring and it is a privilege. I feel like I have to work hard for them because they have put their trust in me.
Was TV always the path for you?
Pretty much! I was always creative and did a lot of writing. I know it sounds cheesy but a lot of journalists will tell you they went down this path so they could make a difference. That is still what keeps me going. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you are having an impact, but then when you do it makes it all worthwhile. I have had many opportunities to tell stories that felt important. Whether here in Toronto, or when I went to Afghanistan to report on Canadian Forces efforts there, or Sierra Leone to work with local journalists on human rights stories. I would say it’s a perfect fit and I can’t imagine what else I would do, other than win the lottery and ride horses all day!
Finally, can you leave us with a funny story about Mensch or Elliot?
In hindsight we could have named Mensch Destructo because he has eaten pillows, blankets, shoes, wallets, a living room chair – I kid you not – and the list goes on. But he has one toy, an ugly rubber chicken and it’s like his safety blanket. He sleeps with it (or on it, which is annoying when he moves and it squeaks in the middle of the night). Every other toy, no matter how durable its manufacturer claims it is, he will destroy in two seconds but not the rubber chicken. It’s his baby and he loves to take it places, he licks it, and he doesn’t hurt it. Every day when I come home, he sees me, runs and grabs the chicken, and then tries to give it to me. What a gift!