Man’s Best Friend:
Dogs in Skyrim
Yesterday one of my best friends of 16 years passed on to the great dog park in the sky. I thought in honor of my dearest beagle friend, Chipper, I would throw together a how-to for acquiring your own furry sidekick in Skyrim. They’ll prove to be lovable and sometimes ornery companions that’ll wade through the darkest dungeons and fight the most dangerous of foes barking happily all the while. Here’s a way to get your own happy go lucky, best friend in Skyrim.
Now there are plenty of dogs you’ll run into while roaming around the mountains and crags of Skyrim. But just like life, you can’t take them all home with you. You can only have one dog at a time and once dismissed for another dog, they will go back to the place you found them.
So here are your options:
Stray Dog- The most common dog that you will run into is the classic mut! This is simply named ‘Stray Dog.’ Now often times you’ll find ‘Stray Dog’ being attacked by some wolves, spiders, or even a dragon. It will usually happen as a random encounter. Come to the aid of the canine and drive off all his would-be snackers. Once all foes are driven off, approach the stray and speak with it. After that it will follow you loyally until you dismiss it or in the unfortunate event, it gets killed. If you want a sure bet to find a ‘Stray Dog’ there will be one at exit of the cave that leaves Helgen’s Keep. This is located within Helgen, East of Falkreath.
Meeko- If you want to find a more unique animal, then head South of Solitude Sawmill and West of Morthal, by the road to Hjaalmarch. If you head up into the hills you may just encounter Meeko wandering about. If this friendly guy notices you he will bark and lead you to ‘Meeko’s Shack’ where you will find his dead Nord master and his journal with a short entry about this amiable dog. Talk to Meeko at this point and you can make him your recruit. Once you have Meeko, he’ll probably break your heart, because he likes to set off traps, is susceptible to friendly fire, and will get himself killed in combat if you don’t look out for him. He’s more brave and loyal than he is smart. Meeko will level up to 25 and have 250 health, but beware because the game only allows him to have the level of health you acquire him at. If you get him before level 25, his health is going to be stuck on the equivalent of your level. Meeko does have one fun trick up his sleeve. If you drop a piece of ‘cooked beef’ from your inventory, Meeko will play a game of fetch with you.
Vigilance- If you want a hardier breed of dog built for the rigors of combat, then ‘Vigilance’ may be the hound for you. This massive wolfhound can be located at the Markarth Stables. Approach the stables and talk to ‘Banning.’ He will offer to sell you the Vigilance for 500 gold. But, be warned if you have killed Banning off in a prior quest than you won’t be able to purchase Vigilance. Unfortunately, Cedran, Banning’s helper, can’t sell you the dog, so if Banning was killed during ‘The Taste of Death’ quest then there is no chance of buying Vigilance. Like Meeko, when you buy Vigilance his health level will be locked at your level. But, unlike Meeko, Vigilance can level with the player up to level 50. He has the highest level of all the dog followers and can speedily track down enemies. This also means that he may get hit often because of his proclivity for charging into combat, so you’ve got to keep an eye on this guy too, even though he is much beefier than other pets.
Barbas- Known for both bark and bite, Barbas is anything but ordinary. This big hunting hound isn’t the average dog, he’s the companion of the Daedra ‘Clavicus Vile.’ He can be found on the road, outside of Falkreath. Barbas can only be driven away from combat by severe damage, but he can not be killed, even after sustaining a lot of damage. You will find that this supernatural hound is invincible and also capable of taking down weaker foes with a single chomp. Because of his invulnerability he is a great meat shield and if he does soak up too much damage he will just flee and return when healed. Now, how do you acquire Barbas? Go into Falkreath and talk to the blacksmith, he will tell you about the dog on the road. He gives you some meat to lure the dog with, and once leaving the city and walking down the road, you will soon encounter the nice pooch Barbas. Now you will have to follow Barbas, and he will take you to Haemar’s Cavern so you can try to get Clavicus Vile to take his best friend back. Now here’s where it gets tricky, if you really want to keep this ‘god-moded’ doggie, then I suggest not finishing Clavicus’ quest. Only complete the first stage of the quest ‘A Daedra’s Best Friend.’ What you will want to do is select the speech option “I wish for you to be reunited with Barbas” in which Clavicus will then send you on a mission to find the ‘Rueful Axe.’ Just leave and keep the dog with you. It’s really just that simple. Just don’t forget, DO NOT complete ‘A Daedra’s Best Friend’ quest and then have to give Barbas up.
If you aren’t one for realism, or just don’t pay attention to what your pup is getting in to then check out this mod. http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=15630
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