Meet Harry Potter, a five-year-old tiny chihuahua who specialises in helping people overcome fear of dogs. Well, one thing that makes him famous is obviously the name as it is one of the greatest wizards and fictional icons of all time. His name, however, is not his only claim to fame. He has met some of the most renowned people in the world including Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson. Harry and his owner, Jane Neary met after the latter’s brilliant therapy pooch, Roo fell ill with Cushing’s disease. It was then, Jane started looking for someone to fill Roo’s paws.
She told the Mirror, “Roo was a twice runner up at Crufts. I was looking at getting another dog to continue his work, and I found Harry on Facebook.” Jane reached out to Harry’s owner who allowed them to meet with the pooch. She said, “He was such a lovely dog and so placid, and we took him with us straight away!”
Harry was always meant to run the show however, initially he experienced stage fright in the ring. He would later work with dementia and stroke patients to de-stress them. So before heading into Warwick and Solihull Hospitals, he underwent his therapy dog training and assessments from Warwickshire with Jane. He often visits the children’s ward and distracts little ones scared of getting medical tests. The kids also love him back more so because his name is Harry Potter.
Jane shared Harry’s experience at the Parliament in 2019. She said, “We do a lot of work at Crufts and met Clare Balding and Supervet there. Harry met Matt Hancock and we were told it was the best attended session they have 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.” It was this meeting that inspired Johnson to get his dog.
Harry is a volunteer with Therapy Dogs Nationwide. In 2018, he helped raise £1,600 by climbing Snowdonia. Harry moved online for Zoom therapy sessions during the pandemic.
His typical week of work would involve about an hour at the hospital and educational talks or perhaps a walk with a phobic client.