Meet Harriett the Therapy Dog

Local couple hopes dog will someday aid homeless

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Attending last Thursday’s Homme Home Health and Wellness Fair are, from left, Betty Clabough, Harriett the Therapy Dog and Doris Crick.

Born on an Amish farm and raised with barn cats, Harriett, a 7½-year-old copper golden retriever, has led an interesting life. She was an only puppy, which is rare, and was a Christmas gift for Betty Clabough.

Harriett was afraid of dogs and had to go through special therapy to be able relate to her own species. With the help of dog trainers, Harriett learned to behave like most dogs. She still likes to lay under the gingerbread Christmas tree and bat the ball ornaments; some habits are too tempting to give up.

One of the instructors suggested to Clabough that Harriett might make a good therapy dog because she loves interacting with people.

In order to get her license, Harriett had to overcome one bad habit – jumping on people when she greets them. Clabough, who with her husband, Bob, once owned Clabough Insurance, is well-known around Wittenberg. She took Harriett around to local business owners to help break Harriett of her jumping habit.

The therapy and training worked. Harriett has been a certified therapy dog for six years. Her normal routine is to spend one day a week at Ascension-St. Clare Hospital in Weston and one day a week at Homme Home in Wittenberg.

“It’s very rewarding to do this pet therapy,” Clabough said. “The people love it.”

On Thursday, Harriett and Clabough participated in the Homme Home Health and Wellness Fair. They were positioned near the door to help welcome the visitors.

“Harriett brings a lot of joy to the residents and to all who attended the event,” said Sarah Clark, Homme Home Foundation event coordinator.

The Claboughs sold their insurance company in May to Eric Nier. The company is now Central Wisconsin Insurance Associates. They both continue to work part-time with the plan to retire and spend time here and in Florida.

The Claboughs have spent a couple of winters in Florida looking at different areas. Last year, Betty Clabough found a church that will take in the homeless, providing a shower, fresh clothes and food. Her goal is to be a part of a group like that and have Harriett be a part of the effort to help the homeless.