The results are in!
Harley the puppy mill Chihuahua won the 2015 American Hero Dog Award on Saturday night.
Harley is one tiny dog with a missing eye. His tongue sticks out of his mouth since he has lost most of his teeth. He may not sound like your everyday cute doggie – but he is beautiful. Harley’s story is nothing short of inspiring. He is more than a survivor — he’s a hero.
On Saturday night, the Chihuahua received the ultimate honor and recognition for a dog. Harley was named American Humane Association’s 2015 American Hero Dog at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The black-tie event was hosted by TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern and television and film star James Denton.
“It was just four years ago that he was pulled from the cage in the puppy mill and left to die,” Harley’s owner, Rudi Taylor, said on stage. “We never would have ever thought he would live this long and make such a difference for so many puppies.”
The Chihuahua spent the first 10 years of his life living in a cramped cage in a commercial dog-breeding facility before volunteers with National Mill Dog Rescue rescued and provided the necessary veterinary care.
According to the dog’s rescuers and veterinarian, Harley likely lost his eye when his cage got power-washed with him inside it – just like many puppy mill dogs. The poor dog had a string of health problems including: a broken tail, gnarled toes, infected teeth and heart disease.
Rudi and her husband, Dan, adopted Harley in 2011. They cared for the little dog in their nice, warm home in Berthoud, Colorado with the understanding that he might live two to three months tops.
To their delight and surprise, the little dog continued to thrive and enjoyed his new-found life so much that Rudi started a Facebook page for Harley “Freight Train” Taylor.
Since then, the 6-pound Chihuahua has become the face of the “Harley to the Rescue” campaign. The movement raises money to help National Mill Dog Rescue. They have saved and cared for more than 500 dogs to date.
“Harley survived in hell for 10 years and there’s only one thing that allows the spirit to do that, and that’s to be indomitable,” Dan Taylor said on stage Saturday night as Rudi stood beside him with the Chihuahua in her arms. “That spirit is allowing him now to be the voice for dogs who cannot speak for themselves… and give everybody hope that tomorrow’s going to be a better day.”
Harley is only one of eight finalists for the contest. Harley represented the Emerging Hero Dog category for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things.
Congratulations Harley! Thank you for the wonderful work that you do!
All eight dog finals were honored at the awards show. Learn more about the 8 finalists here.