Harley, the tiny one-eyed “Hero Dog”, the inspirational force who saved hundreds of puppy mill dogs with National Mill Dog Rescue, and the dog who became the face of puppy mill issues worldwide, sadly passed away on March 20th.
Harley spent the first 10 years of his life in a cramped, miserable cage in a commercial breeding facility (aka puppy mill), losing his eye somewhere along the way when his cage was cleaned with a power washer … while he was still inside. At 10 years old he was used up. No longer able to father puppies, very ill and on the verge of death, he was thrown into a bucket to die but was saved by a compassionate worker. Through a series of circumstances, he was rescued and then adopted five years ago by Rudi and Dan Taylor. Soon thereafter, he began his mission to tell the world about puppy mills.
According to National Mill Dog Rescue founder Theresa Strader, “Harley was a truly remarkable little dog. He personified the forgiving and resilient spirit that we all love so much about dogs. He fought a host of medical conditions like a champion, allowing him to enjoy years of comfort and happiness. With great courage, he shed the horrors of his dreadful past to become a beloved member of the Taylor family. He was a fighter in every sense of the word until his very last day, when he gracefully let go to make his journey to the Bridge.
“In the months following Harley’s adoption as he kept beating all the odds, Rudi and Dan began to see something extra special in the spirit of this little dog. Something that told them his life had a bigger purpose and that it was no accident he had made his way to their loving home. Rudi created a Facebook page for Harley, not only to share his remarkable story of redemption but to channel Harley’s steadfast spirit as an educational tool to share the truth about the commercial dog breeding industry.
“Harley’s page gained popularity quickly as people were eager to learn. Harley’s precious face and candid truths mixed with a wonderful sense of humor kept people enlightened and engaged. What better way to tell the story of a puppy mill survivor than through his own eye? Harley now had a mission of his very own and the success of his mission was being heard around the world!
Soon after, another very special mission was created to further his awareness campaign while also helping raise funds to provide care for fellow puppy mill survivors. “Harley to the Rescue” became a twice yearly event where Harley and his best buddy Teddy, along with their humans, accompanied NMDR’s rescue team on their biggest rescues of the year. “Dogs saving Dogs” became their tagline and the success of spreading further awareness and raising funds to provide vet care, was incredibly successful. Having the boys along with us was just so special. When I think of an empty spot on the bench seat next to Teddy, it’s hard to hold back the tears….
“Reflecting on the legacy of Harley, I am flooded with a hundred memories, precious moments in time where Harley was changing minds and touching hearts before our eyes. When I think of the tens of thousands of people he educated and the incredibly generous support his mission brought to NMDR, I am humbled. I am so very grateful to Rudi and Dan Taylor for your love, support, ideas and courage and above all, for sharing Harley and his truly remarkable life with all of us. People across the globe are grieving along with you, but we are each better people for having known your little, old, one-eyed Chihuahua who in his own very special way, changed the world!”
“This little one-eyed tiny dog was known worldwide. Harley inspired hope and confidence in people of all ages and in all walks of life who were able to relate to his less-than-perfect appearance and his approachable, down-to-earth nature. He was featured on the cover of popular magazines and on television and radio, and was considered a social media sensation. His legacy will live on.
About National Mill Dog Rescue:
National Mill Dog Rescue is a Colorado Springs based 501(c)(3) organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes discarded commercial breeding dogs from puppy mills. NMDR relies on volunteers to care for the dogs, from the moment they are surrendered to the time they are adopted and beyond. The organization depends on the generosity of the public to provide the high level of care for our dogs and to continue to be able to save them.
Harley’s website: http://harleypuppymilldog.com/
Harley’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/harleyfreighttraintaylor
Teddy’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/teddybearburchfield
NMDR Website: http://milldogrescue.org