Harley The Puppy Mill Survivor Named 2015 American Hero Dog

Written by: Stephanie Valente

September 21, 2015

Harley the dog is teeny tiny but he is mighty.

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This tiny Chihuahua is missing one eye, has a permanently sticking-out tongue due to teeth removal, and his legs are deformed. But, that doesn’t stop Harley from being pawmazing.

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Recently, Harley was named American Humane Association’s 2015 American Hero Dog. He’s a hero in so many ways. You see, he was rescued from the tragic confines of a puppy mill.

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At The Hero Dog Awards, Harley’s owner, Rudi Taylor, commented: “It was just four years ago that he was pulled from the cage in the puppy mill and left to die.”

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For the first ten years of his life, all Harley knew was living in a cage for puppy mill breeding. No toys, no treats, no love and warm cuddles. He likely lost an eye due to the cage being power washed while he was still in it. While these images are gruesome and tragic, Harley has proven his indomitable spirit.

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Then, he was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue, and his life began to change. Vets discovered little Harley had a host of infections, his bones were bent due to living in a cage, and he had a level five heart murmur. Still, this pup persevered with love in his rescuer’s arms.

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Rudi and Dan Taylor of Colorado knew they had to rescue the pup and even drove all the way out to Kansas to give him a loving home. Doctors thought Harley would only have two to three months to live. That was four years ago.

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Harley used his newly found love to become a hero. Within four years, Harley has become the poster pup for Harley To The Rescue campaign, where he’s aided National Mill Dog Rescue in placing over 500 dogs in homes.

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This pup knows what it means to be resilient. Dan Taylor gave a touching speech at the ceremony: “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. 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.”

For more pupdates on Harley, visit his Facebook page.

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Other heroic pups were finalists at The Hero Dog Awards, which included seven other awesome, compassionate dogs.


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Axel is a service dog from K9 For Warriors, where he was given to Captain Jason Haag. He supports Jason every day for his PTSD and traumatic brain injury.


Chara is a trained service signal dog and learned how to detect impending neurological attacks in her handler 15 to 45 minutes before they occur. She even saved her handler’s newborn baby when she sensed he stopped breathing.

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Dax saved police officer Chris Alberini’s life when the pair was searching a house and the suspect hid in the attic with a fully loaded shot gun. Dax stopped the suspect before he could shoot.


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The first of two hero pups named Glory. This dog is a certified accelerant detector and can sniff out the possibility of arson in mere minutes.


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Glory is an 8 year old Bloodhound dog, who is certified in searching and rescuing lost pets.

Hudson the Railroad Puppy

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Discovered abused near a railroad track in Albany, New York, Hudson desperately needed his paw amputated. He was one of the first dogs to be fitted with a prosthetic paw. Now, he visits schools, hospitals, and other facilities to support people during hard and tragic times.


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Rambo was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011-2012. After a medical retirement, he needed his front leg amputated. Today, the pup is a mascot for Gizmo’s Gift, a network that helps retired dogs with medical expenses.

H/t via Today

Featured image via American Humane Association: Hero Dog Awards

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Written by: Stephanie Valente

September 21, 2015

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