The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim has plenty of potential companions for the player to choose from, but one of the most tragic followers resides in an unassuming shack to the east of Dragon Bridge. That companion is Meeko the dog.
Compared to other followers in Skyrim, Meeko has a much lower level cap. That said, it’s hard to send him away after learning what happened to his previous owner. Plus, between him and his lookalike, Vigilance, Meeko is arguably the less controversial choice.
Should the player be traveling across the roads directly south of Solitude and east of Dragon Bridge, they might come across a dog named Meeko. Upon approaching, Meeko will be friendly towards the player and then head north. If the player follows him, they’ll be taken to a location labeled “Meeko’s Shack,” filled with drawers and shelves that have fresh produce. However, to the far end of the cabin is a bed with the body of a deceased Skyrim Nord. This is assumed to be Meeko’s owner, and the journal on the bedside drawer confirms it.
According to the journal, the Nord had been living in the woods for years, suffering from Rockjoint – one of the contractable diseases in Skyrim – and eventually succumbing to it. The unnamed Nord writes that he doesn’t feel too bad about it since all of his friends are already dead. The only exception is Meeko, who was always a loyal dog. At the end of the solemn entry, he writes that he wishes he’d see Meeko again soon, perhaps hoping that they’d meet again after death.
By this point, the player can speak to Meeko and ask if he’d like to join in the Dragonborn’s adventures. Meeko will let out a happy bark and the player can choose whether to accept him as an animal follower. Should the player dismiss Meeko, he’ll always go back to his shack in the middle of the woods.
The Other Dog Followers of Skyrim
Meeko is the Skyrim animal follower with the most unfortunate backstory, so even though Meeko’s stats and scaling are lackluster compared to other dogs in the game, some players can’t help but keep him on. Similar to the unnamed Stray Dog followers and the Dawnguard DLC’s huskies, Meeko’s level is capped at 25. The Volkihar Clan also has unique death hound followers, but they’re level-capped at five. Barbas is available too with a level cap of 45, but he isn’t a recruitable follower (and neither is he a real dog), so that doesn’t count.
The last available dog companion in Skyrim is Vigilance. He’s a trained war dog from Markarth in Skyrim and can be purchased from Banning with 500 gold. He is the strongest recruitable dog in the game with a level cap of 50 – twice as much as Meeko. However, there’s more to this war dog than meets the eye.
Should the Dragonborn complete the quest “A Taste of Death,” they’ll find Banning taking part in the cannibal’s feast, alongside other cannibals in Skyrim’s Markarth. Speaking with him then reveals that he feeds his hounds a special mix of spiced beef, which is made with human flesh. He also remarks, “There’s a reason why my hounds are so eager to bite into people.”
So, while Vigilance is the most optimal dog follower in Skyrim, he’s been raised by a self-confessed cannibal. He might not be the best choice for more morally upright players. Meeko, on the other hand, might be weaker, but he’s a good boy – loyal until the end and probably not fond of human flesh.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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