Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Fumipets
Venus Williams: A Tennis Icon and a Devoted Dog Mom
Discover the Remarkable Bond Between Venus Williams and Her Loyal Companion, Harry
When someone claims to do “everything” with their dog, it often sounds hyperbolic, but Venus Williams comes remarkably close to making it a reality.
The legendary tennis champion and her inseparable 16-year-old Havanese, Harry, share a bond that goes beyond the ordinary. Since adopting him as a puppy in 2007, Harry has been by Venus’s side through every facet of her life, from the gym to the office and even during tennis practice.
Venus Williams proudly says, “I always joke Harry’s only job is to hang out with Mom, and he does that job well. He’s very serious about it.”
Their unique companionship has even led them to extraordinary places, including a Spanish museum and even an NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. When Venus’s friend wanted to attend the game, Harry tagged along, becoming one of the few non-service dogs ever to venture into such an event.
But their connection goes beyond just fun and games. Venus Williams and Harry are on a mission to make a difference through the Purina Pro Plan’s “Monday Like a Pro Challenge,” where they aim to raise an impressive $150,000 for “Athletes for Animals,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting pet adoptions and animal-welfare programs.
The Origin of Their Extraordinary Bond
Harry’s arrival in Venus Williams’s life was somewhat impulsive. Fresh off her seventh Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in 2007 and amid the fight for equal pay in tennis, Venus spotted a puppy in a window. She immediately called her sister, Serena, the most decorated tennis player in history, who encouraged her to bring him home, saying, “Get him. I love him already.”
From that moment, Harry became Venus’s constant companion, embarking on a jet-setting lifestyle that matched Williams’s globetrotting tennis career. While she had owned dogs before, she had missed out on so much of their lives due to her tournament travels. A previous pet had fallen ill during one of her tours, causing heartbreak. This time, she was determined not to let that happen.
Harry grew up traveling the world with Venus, becoming accustomed to life in airplanes and travel carriers. To this day, he remains exclusively in the care of Venus, Serena, and their mother.
Venus Williams explains, “Since I travel so much, it would be so sad to miss half of his life. So I don’t have to miss his life, and he doesn’t have to miss his life with me. We get to live that life together.”
A Healthy and Happy Harry
As Harry enters his golden years at the age of 16, Venus Williams ensures that he remains vibrant and healthy. She credits much of his well-being to the switch to Purina Pro Plan Sport dog food, noting improvements in his bone density and vitality.
Moreover, she pays special attention to his exercise regimen and carefully fine-tunes his diet to provide all the essential nutrients he needs. However, Venus believes that an often overlooked aspect of healthy aging for dogs is spending quality time with their owners.
“I think also spending time with your dog helps them to live longer, giving them that real love and attention makes a huge difference,” she says.
The Monday Like a Pro Challenge
The “Monday Like a Pro Challenge,” spanning 10 weeks and led by Venus Williams and the Pro Plan Sport team, kicks off on the Monday following daylight saving time. Throughout these weeks, participants will receive weekly activity challenges, with the ultimate goal of accumulating 1 million collective minutes of human-and-dog activity each week.
Each week, one fortunate participant will be randomly selected to win a year’s supply of Pro Plan dry dog food. What’s even more remarkable is that for every week participants collectively record 1 million minutes, Pro Plan will generously donate $15,000 to Athletes for Animals. If this goal is consistently met, Athletes for Animals stands to receive a substantial total donation of $150,000.
Athletes for Animals, led by David and Kelly Backes, utilizes these donations to provide grants to shelters and other animal-welfare organizations dedicated to finding loving homes for adoptable pets.
As Venus Williams and Harry embark on this charitable journey, they remind us that the bond between humans and their furry companions is not only heartwarming but can also serve a greater purpose in improving the lives of animals in need.