Our Featured Guest at Shine with Spot - Michael Allen Harrison


For the Good

While his name, his music and his history are known to many in the Northwest, Michael Allen Harrison made time to chat with Spot, allowing us all to get better acquainted with this gifted, generous, very special man.. 

Pets have always been part of Harrison’s life.  Buffy, a stray Cocker Spaniel mix, showed up on his family’s doorstep when he was around eight.

“She was just the coolest, sweetest dog,” he says.  At age 18, Harrison’s parents were out of town when Buffy fell ill and he had to make the heart-rending decision.  “It was the first time I experienced that kind of difficult emotions,” he says.

Years later, after a divorce, Harrison and his daughter Tahlia, now 30, adopted two cats.  “MoJo and Marty, the best cats in the whole world,” he says, both lived into their twenties. 

The family is larger today, and musical talent flourishes.  Tahlia is a singer, and his wife of three years, Marietta, plays accordion.  Her four children Ben (23), Andrea (22), Tanner (19) and Travis (18) are gifted as well — some naturally, says Harrison, some more trained.  Every one performs at his always sold-out annual Christmas shows.

Even two-year-old Esther is showing prowess:  clapping, dancing and gesturing like a conductor.  “She’s got some moves,” he says, saying that Esther definitely has rhythm and can feel the music inside.  “I think she is going to be dangerous one day,” he adds laughing. 

They’re seeking to add to their full house . . . a fun little dog from a shelter, now that Esther has reached a good age for canine companionship.

Wrapped in musical virtuosity, notoriety, and accolades, this man is a “for the good” homegrown boy who is also a huge gift to the community… for his spirit of generosity and daily practice of giving back.

Come experience Harrison during Shine with Spot July 30, 4-7pm, at the fittingly beautiful Castaway space in Porltand’s Pearl District.  The afternoon opens with Michael on the keys, great food and excellent networking.


Vonnie Harris is a freelance writer, and operator of BowWows & Meows Pet Services of SW WA. She and her brood, Jake and Jessie, both yellow Labs, and parrots Pedro (Yellow-Nape Amazon) and Lorali (African Grey) reside in Vancouver. Vonnie also is “the face of Spot” at many Portland-area pet-related events. Contact her at vonnie@spotmagazine.net.