You may have seen the new Modern Dog Magazine’s Fall Cover with puppy mill rescue, Harley on the cover. Harley modeled our KISS MY MUTT® ‘Electric Blue Geo Print collar’ on his cover debut and we knew we had to share his story with you. This little guy isn’t just a cover model, he and his new family have raised awareness, funds and rescued puppy mill dogs since his rescue in 2011. He is now the spokesdog against puppy mills and works with National Mill Dog Rescue. Here’s Harley’s story;
Harley was born in a puppy mill and selected as breeding stock. He was confined to a small wire cage, with no bed, toys, human touch or love, and no clean water. He then began to get sick, and the staff learned he had heart failure and was no longer a use for the puppy mill. He was actually tossed into a bucket to pass away (so terrible!) but one of the staff members there seemed to have a heart and turned him over to a rescue. This is where Harley’s luck would begin to change…
Harley’s rescuer, Barbara, wrote about his first night of freedom, March 18, 2011: “He is small, but also badly crippled on the back legs and walks with his elbows out on the front legs, and he carries his head low to take weight off the back legs. His nails are so long. He has one eye missing. His mouth is full of rot. He is so very sweet. As soon as I got him, I bathed him. He was frightened but stood still. I soaped him up three times to get the stench off him. I then towel dried him and put a sweater on him to keep him warm. I cleaned his ears, which were nasty and clipped his nails as much as I dared. He is about five pounds and sable coloured. He’s loved me since the moment I took him. He slept with me—the first time he’s ever slept in a soft place or bed. He wanted to snuggle so close and he licked me over and over. I let him even though his breath was so bad! He will go to the vet the first of the week to see if he is strong enough to withstand anesthesia for a neuter and dental. In anticipation, I started him on antibiotics. He has diarrhea, parasites, and some other issues. This boy has waited a long time for this freedom, and while we have to play games and be nice to the breeders who so badly neglect, it is necessary in order to save the dogs. We will find him a wonderful home, with someone who will adore and love him for whatever time he has left.”
To the vet Harley went. He got neutered and most of his teeth were pulled. He was X-rayed so they could figure out his spinal problems—the cramped cage he’d lived in most of his life was hard on his bones. He had congestive heart failure and his stomach and lungs were filled with fluid. It was even coming out his nose. Added to that was a level-five heart murmur, plus a few other things: a broken tail, deformed toes due to his nails never being trimmed, arthritis, an eye with cataracts—in short, he was a mess. You may have noticed Harley only has one eye? The puppy mill breeders didn’t take the dogs out of the cages to clean them; they just power washed the dogs along with the cages. Harley had a couple of buddies with no eyes.
When Rudi and Dan Taylor heard about Harley they knew he was meant to be with them. To meet Barbara, they drove to the middle of Kansas, accompanied by their two Chihuahuas Cricket and Zoie who cuddled with Harley on the long ride home.
Harley’s new vet didn’t think he’d live three months, but he’s proven her wrong. It’s been nearly three and a half years and Harley’s still going strong.
Today, Harley is a spokesdog against puppy mills and works with National Mill Dog Rescue, an amazing organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing mill dogs. So far, Harley has helped raise more than $150,000, every penny of which has gone toward saving mill dogs and helping with their medical expenses. And this past May, Harley and his new family spearheaded an effort to save 364 mill dogs.
Harley is an inspiration to us. While he may be small, his fight and heart are big. His parents, Rudi and Dan are amazing people who should be honored for all their lovely work. We appreciate great hearts and strong minds full of determination and will power. Thank you to all of those who work hard to save innocent animals in need! We’re honored to have Harley wear our collar on the cover of Modern Dog Magazine, we couldn’t have asked for a better model to represent the love we have for rescue dogs and what they mean to us!