How much of a difference can a little Chihuahua make? Enough to make Harley, a Chihuahua from Berthoud, Colorado, take the top title in the 2015 American Humane Association (AHA) Hero Dog Awards. This tiny, trembling puppy mill survivor beat out over 170 other entries for the American Hero Dog award to become this year's most courageous canine.
How did this come to be?
Harley lived meagerly until he was 10 years old in a puppy mill cage, suffering from multiple major incidents of abuse and chronic neglect. After he was rescued, Harley's story went on to inspire a canine care campaign that was aimed at raising awareness and funds for the dogs that were rescued from puppy mills. These animals are commercially bred in mass, raised in crowded and often inhumane conditions that lead to not only several health problems, but behaviour problems as well.
Now Harley lives and travels as the spokesdog for Harley to the Rescue where the one-eyed prized pup travels nationwide to appear at school assemblies and public events. He can now add the American Humane Association's award to his growing pile of accolades.
“The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were created to honor some of the most extraordinary heroes the world has ever known, the very best of our best friends,” explained Dr. Robin Ganzert, AHA president and chief executive officer. “These courageous canines have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill, aged and afflicted, bringing hope to those who have lost it and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between animals and people.”
Harley's advocates and those in the AHA hope that Harley's story will continue to be told in order to inspire people to shut down puppy mills once and for all.