Meet Harley!

Cover Dog, Harley
Meet Harley!
Meet our amazing Cover Dog, Harley, a sweet survivor and spokesdog against puppy mills

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Harley was born in a puppy mill. For those who don’t know, these are horrible places. Selected as breeding stock, Harley was confined to a wire cage with a wire floor that hurt his feet. He had no bed, no toys, no clean water. He never knew a kind word or loving touch. The years ran together, all ten of them spent caged, and nothing changed, save for Harley getting older and more crippled. Then the cough started; Harley was in heart failure. At this point, the puppy mill people had no more use for him. He was tossed in a bucket to die—but, for the first time in his life, fortune smiled upon him. A woman who worked for the puppy mill stepped in and rescued him, turning him over to a rescue.

This is when everything changed. 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.

Harley is now 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. Most of them have already found homes. That’s what we call paying it forward, folks. We couldn’t be more thrilled to feature such an inspiring little dog on the cover of Modern Dog magazine.

>> Learn more about National Mill Dog Rescue at milldogrescue.org.

>> Follow Harley’s adventures at facebook.com/harleyfreighttraintaylor.

Photographed by Mark Stevens Photography

Meet Adorable Josh

Runner up in our Cover Dog Contest!

We felt we’d be remiss not to include a mention of Josh, the runner-up in our Cover Dog Contest with over 170,000 votes. This little dog has won an awful lot of hearts, and with good reason. Josh’s momma, Tina Lythgoe, has worked at Rita’s Grooming in Sun Valley, CA, for 28 years and takes in all kinds of abandoned critters: baby birds, sparrows, pigeons… whoever needs help. So when Tina got a call about a tiny puppy, just 48 hours old, that needed to be pulled from the pound or face euthanasia, she immediately dispatched her husband, Lenny, to go and pick him up. He took the wee slip of a thing straight to the vet who confirmed the little dog had a cleft palate and that there was nothing to be done but take him home and attempt to feed him. He did great with a bottle, and Tina, for her part, knew the minute she held him that she was keeping him forever. Josh has gone on to become a bit of an internet celebrity, inspiring others to overcome their difficulties, but mostly Tina wants everyone to know that birth defects are surmountable problems. Just look at happy Josh, beloved by not only his family but a ton of others too.

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Comments (2)

I've been following Harley on Facebook for awhile...amazing and adorable survivor! Kudos to his family for all they do with National Mill Dog Rescue, giving hope to the forgotten!!! <3
Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:27
Harley was rescued by Barbara and the Because Of You Chihuahua Rescue in Oklahoma. He was the first adoption that was a result of the rescue's Facebook page! Since then, social networking has helped the rescue save a lot of dogs, but Harley is still my favorite success story.
Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:56

Dog of the Week!