It’s difficult to write through tears, but they are flowing freely tonight for the loss of friend and 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog, Harley.
Harley spent the first 10 long years of his life in a puppy mill. During that time, he suffered the unspeakable horrors that are not uncommon to that environment. He also lost an eye when his cage was power washed with him still in it. As his body became worn and frail from the neglect and abuse that was inflicted on him, he became very sick. Veterinary care is not provided for puppy mill dogs. Harley was tossed like so much garbage into a pail and left to die. Thanks to a worker who saw him and had compassion for his situation, Harley made it out alive, but his prognosis was not good and he was given a short amount of time to live.
It was at that point that Harley’s life truly began. Adopted by Rudi and Dan Taylor, Harley was well cared for and loved beyond measure. He never forgot where he came from, however, and together with National Mill Dog Rescue and his best friend, Teddy, countless other dogs’ lives have been saved from a fate too horrible to imagine at the hands of puppy mill operators.
Recently, Harley had some health issues. A plea on his page earlier today for prayers was followed later in the day with a post from a friend: “My name is Mary, and I am a friend of Harley’s mom and dad. They have asked me to let you know that their beloved Harley took his last breath today. He went on his own terms…he chose his moment, he did not suffer, and he was not in pain. He passed peacefully surrounded by the love of his mom and dad.
Harley’s parents, Rudi and Dan, want you to know how very much your love, prayers and support have meant to them today and throughout Harley’s journey. They will have much more to say in the coming days when they are ready. For the moment, they ask for your understanding as they walk through this incredibly difficult time.
We all feel as though Harley belonged to each of us in some way. Now, we all share a common grief that we must each somehow come to terms with. Just know that Harley’s mission will continue, his voice will still be heard, and his light will shine brighter than ever.
This is not the end. As today is the first day of spring – a day of new beginnings – let this be a new beginning in the fight against puppy mills, and let Harley’s voice be heard through each and every one of us.
Harley, run free. You were loved immeasurably, and our lives and the lives of so many puppy mill dogs are better because you were a part of us. You will be missed more than you’ll ever know.”
Harley beat so many of the odds that were stacked against him and had just celebrated his 15th birthday. His absence from daily life will be a burden to bear, but his mission to save puppy mill dogs will live on. To help continue his legacy and to learn more about puppy mills, visit his facebook page.
Rest in peace, my friend. I was blessed to have met you.