Therapy dog called Harry Potter has climbed Snowdonia and met Boris Johnson | TeamDogs
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Therapy dog called Harry Potter has climbed Snowdonia and met Boris Johnson

The Therapy Dogs Nationwide volunteer has even been doing Zoom therapy in the pandemic

Bethan Shufflebotham

Posted 49mins ago

A tiny chihuahua who helps children overcome their fear of dogs has met Boris Johnson and Supervet.

And it’s not the five-year-old dogs’ only claim to fame - his name is Harry Potter, after the world-famous fictional wizard.

The chihuahua came into his owner, Jane Neary’s life when her therapy dog Roo became ill with Cushing's Disease, and wanted to see another pup fill his paws.

She said: “Roo was a fantastic dog - twice runner up at Crufts and a brilliant therapy dog.

Harry was rehomed with Jane at 18 months old when Jane's other chihuahua, Roo, became ill

“When he was 13 and quite poorly, I was looking at getting another dog to continue his work, and I found Harry on Facebook.”

Despite over 200 comments interested in the long-haired Chi, Jane contacted his owner to explain about her plans for the pooch.

She added: “His owner let us go down to meet him, as we were going on holiday that way that particular week. He was such a lovely dog and so placid, and we took him with us straight away!”

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Harry Potter was destined to be a show dog, but got stage fright in the ring, so underwent his therapy dog training and assessments with Jane, from Warwickshire, before heading into Warwick and Solihull Hospitals to de-stress patients.

The chihuahua specialises in helping people overcome phobias of dogs, as well as working with dementia and stroke patients. He loves to visit the children’s ward to distract little ones scared of having blood tests, as well as heading out to talks at local Brownie groups.

But it’s not just hospital patients that the dog has been de-stressing, and has met with a number of famous faces over the years.

Jane said: “We do a lot of work at Crufts and met Clare Balding and Supervet there. But one of Harry’s most exciting trips was when he got invited to Parliament in 2019.

When Matt Hancock met Harry Potter

“Harry travelled down on the train and met Matt Hancock - we were told it was the best attended session they’ve had in Parliament.

“We were about to leave and I got a tap on the shoulder and asked if we would like to go and meet Boris Johnson. We got to spend about 15 minutes in his private office and he was quite nice and was very interested in what we do.

“Not long after he got his dog so I like to think Harry inspired that.”

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Harry volunteers for Therapy Dogs Nationwide, and in 2018, raised £1,600 by taking his little legs up Snowdonia.

It was the hottest day of the year, so Jane and Harry set off up the mountain at 5am to beat the heat.

She said: “We got to the top for 8.30am, and were back down for 1.30pm. Harry walked the whole way, and when we got to the last mile I was ready to give up. If I didn’t have Harry with me I never would have made it.

“He just kept looking at me as if to say ‘Come on mum, it’s not far now’. We did it for Therapy Dogs Nationwide in memory of Roo, and it was Harry’s way of saying we were doing it for him.”

During the pandemic, Harry’s hard work didn’t stop as he moved online for Zoom therapy sessions.

Jane - who has worked with therapy dogs for 20 years said: “During Covid we’ve been doing Zoom therapy - he’s the perfect size for it! He’s been working with a little boy who is petrified of dogs and we’ll get to meet him one to one soon.

READ MORE: How my puppy saved me from lockdown loneliness

“His typical working week would see him do an hour or so at the hospital, as well as local educational talks and perhaps a walk with a phobia client.

“But at Warwick Hospital, he loves to visit the children’s ward because the kids love the fact his name is Harry Potter.”

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