Harry, the paragliding dog
Most dogs like spending their time snoozing, digging holes and chasing cats.
Not Harry. He prefers to take to the skies for some paragliding.
Yes, you read that correctly. Harry, the 10-year-old Collie, is a paragliding dog.
The plucky pooch from Craigavon got in to the unusual hobby through his owner Tony Conway.
The 49-year-old, a member of the Ulster Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, decided to take his pet on sky-high adventures with the help of a harness made by his wife Donna.
The pair have now been on four flights together, including one which marked Harry becoming the first dog to ever jump off Slieve Donard and glide 2,700 feet down.
“I think he enjoys it,” said a proud Tony.
“He now starts barking at the harness we put him in because he gets excited at the prospect of it.”
Tony, currently studying to be an instructor, explained: “Harry hangs underneath the paraglider like me and he has a specially built harness that my wife Donna made.
“He's strapped into a position where he sits on top of my knee and he's really secure. It doesn't bother him at all. You can see by the expression on his face. It takes nothing out of him.”
Harry is certainly a pioneering pet in Northern Ireland, but it's not the first time paragliding dogs have taken to the skies elsewhere.
“I know that there are other dog owners who've taken their pets up with them,” said Tony, who's been a paraglider since 2002 and has flown in countries such as Morocco, France, Spain and even in the Himalayas.
Tony recently feared his pet’s flying days were over when Harry went missing from his home for more than three weeks.
“I had taken Harry out for the day last month when he ran away on me,” added the dog owner who works with the Prince's Trust at the Southern Regional College.
“We couldn't find him anywhere. We were absolutely distraught and feared the worst, but thankfully we later found that a Lithuanian family had found Harry and had taken him in without reporting that they'd found him.
“Thankfully they took really good care of him and when we found out he was safe it was fantastic news.
“In the time he had been with them their wee lad had become really attached to Harry and was very upset when we came to take him away.”
There was a twist in the tail however, as it turned out Harry the adventure dog had stumbled upon a neighbour's female pooch who was ‘howled'-over by him.
“We've just found out that the neighbour's dog is to have a litter of pups with Harry,” said Tony.
“So we're going to give one of them to the young lad to say thank you for looking after our dog.”
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