Puppy mill survivor rescues son and daughter during Harley to the Rescue

Puppy mill survivor rescues son and daughter during Harley to the Rescue
Michele Burchfield with Teddy, Dan and Rudi Taylor with Harley, Harley Junior and Zoie.

It’s been a busy few weeks for a couple of pint size rescuers who have taken social media by storm. Harley and Teddy – a couple of Chihuahuas rescued from puppy mills – are in the midst of a Harley to the Rescue campaign that will spring around 80 dogs from puppy mills when they’re done. The two-part rescue for the National Mill Dog Rescue got underway this past week with a very special rescue as part of the deal.

Family affair

Harley Junior and Zoie on their ride to freedom during Harley to the Rescue.

Harley Junior and Zoie on their ride to freedom during Harley to the Rescue.

“We have a liaison that just happens to know someone on the inside at Harley’s puppy mill,” says Rudi Taylor, Harley’s mom and one of the architects of the Harley to the Rescue campaigns. “They were able to get seven of the dogs out – two of which where Harley’s son and daughter. We’ve named them Harley Junior and Zoie.”

This part of the rescue operation didn’t exactly go off according to plan. The whole Harley to the Rescue run with the National Mill Dog Rescue was slated for September 6 through the 8. Then, the organization got word that one of the breeders they were slated to rescue dogs from said the dogs would be killed if the rescue team didn’t come and get the dogs immediately.

Teddy and Harley check to make sure all the crates are secure before heading out.

Teddy and Harley check to make sure all the crates are secure before heading out.

“We’ve learned from past experience that these threats aren’t to be taken lightly,” says Taylor. “We got the dogs to safety and hit the road right before Labor Day weekend for phase one of Harley to the Rescue. We saved the 12 dogs being threatened and seven from Harley’s puppy mill. The rest of the rescue will go as planned next weekend.”

Part of that group of seven was a beautiful six-year-old breeding female that looked a lot like Harley – his daughter. She’s been named Zoie in memory of another Chihuahua from the Taylor family that died at the age of seven. A beautiful blue five-year-old male dog turned out to be Harley’s son – now named Harley Junior. The two dogs are now in the care of the National Mill Dog Rescue until the right family comes along to adopt them. Hopefully, they’ll find a home together.

Going social

The National Mill Dog Rescue frequently hits the road to rescue dogs from puppy mills – some facilitated by insiders and others come from the breeders. The organization has rescued over 8,000 dogs from puppy mills since it’s founding in February 2007. What is different about the Harley to the Rescue campaign is the whole social media aspect of the rescue and, of course, it’s pint-sized spokesdogs.

Harley and Teddy hit the road for Harley to the Rescue.

Harley and Teddy hit the road for Harley to the Rescue.

Harley and Teddy – the Dogs Saving Dogs of this campaign – are both puppy mill rescues who have their own substantial social media following. Harley, the leader of the pack, lost an eye when he was power washed while living in a mill, has a broken tail and a heart problem. That hasn’t stopped him from hitting Facebook to tell his story, where he has over 22, 000 fans. His best friend is Teddy, a chunky, spunky dog that is about to turn eight adds his own take on life and the campaign for his 10,000 Facebook followers.

Harley’s mom and Teddy’s mom – Michele Burchfield – both do social media for the National Mill Dog Rescue (Burchfield handles traditional media as well). They launched the first Harley to the Rescue campaign late last year to raise funds for a rescue and to educate about puppy mills from a dogs eye view – the dogs do their own updates during the rescues on social media sites.

Original campaign

“We did our first rescue – Harley and Teddy to the Rescue – in May and saved 64 dogs. Just seven from that group are still looking to be adopted,” says Taylor. “We did updates while fundraising, on the road and after we got back to the National Mill Dog Rescue. The response was overwhelming. The posts were shared and seen by so many people, including school kids who joined us in the conversation.”

Harley and Teddy get ready to navigate and give their play by play of the rescue on Social media.

Harley and Teddy get ready to navigate and give their play by play of the rescue on Social media.

The social media banter between the dogs during the first campaign brought in enough money to fund the rescue and veterinary expenses for all 64 dogs. That’s not chump change considering the medical issues that mill dog rescues often face since they’ve not had veterinary care while in the puppy mills.

When the two vans head out at the end of the week, the Taylors, Burchfield, National Mill Dog Rescue Founder Theresa Strader and the rest of the team really go to work. The bulk of the dogs they take in are being released to the organization, they also have pulled some dogs from auctions – those that haven’t generated enough interest to drive up their sale prices.

“Our work is really cut out for us on the road. The dogs need to be quickly checked by a vet and get some vaccinations,” says Taylor. “With the kind of numbers we’re dealing with, you need to move quickly. And, it’s hot this time of year in many places where we rescue. We need to keep moving on the road.”

Bandy was a matted mess. After she was groomed and shaved for the first time, it was discovered she was very pregnant. The mill probably didn't realize that when they released her.

After Bandy was groomed and shaved, it was discovered she was very pregnant. The mill probably didn’t realize that when they released her because she was so matted.

Taylor says there are many challenges with the number of dogs and stops they make along the rescue mission. During the first Harley to the Rescue Mission back in May, they ended up with a very sick dog on the trip. They sometimes end up with additional dogs that breeders will hand off to rescue at the last minute.

Once the dogs arrive back at the National Mill Dog Rescue, intake teams do initial paperwork to admit the dogs to the organization. The next morning, the real work begins with dogs getting more thorough veterinary exams, a bath (usually their first) and grooming and lots of loves from an army of volunteers that step up to help.

How you can help

While the National Mill Dog Rescue and Harley to the Rescue teams get ready for the rest of this mission, there is still plenty we can do to help as well. The lists of dogs needing help is always growing and the more that is raised, the more dogs that can be saved. The You Caring campaign for Harley to the Rescue  can always use donations to pay for the rescue and veterinary care.

Harley to the Rescue shirts are on sale on Float to support the rescue.

Harley to the Rescue shirts are on sale on Float to support the rescue.

Very cool Harley to the Rescue T-shirts, hoodies and hats are also available on Float through the end of the week. Float will donate $8 from each shirt sold to help the rescue (my pink one should be here any day now).

Teddy is also running a campaign and asking for presents for his eighth birthday this weekend. The supplies collected will be going into special care packages for the dogs rescued during Harley to the Rescue. Toys, treats, blankets and more may be sent to Teddy at 8185 Woodcrest Drive, Colorado Springs, 80908.

You can follow Harley to the Rescue on Harley’s and Teddy’s Facebook pages and also get updates through the National Mill Dog Rescue’s page as well. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll have a slide show of some of the rescues and their intake at the National Mill Dog Rescue.

If you would like to read the story of one dog’s journey from puppy mill to her life as a regular dog – read Pia’s Story. For and update, on Millie from the National Mill Dog Rescue – read this story.

Writer’s note – September is National Puppy Mill Awareness Month. Throughout the month, I’ll be doing blog posts that look at puppy mills, puppy mill rescues and changes in laws aimed at outlawing puppy mills and protecting consumers.

Fill in the box below to subscribe to my feed. You may reach me at kathypetexam@gmail.com and find me at on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I am a crazy cat lady and puppy mill warrior that blogs to advocate and educate about pet issues. In American animal controls, millions of pets are abandoned each year and an estimated 4 million die just because there are not enough homes. It truly seems like it’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

  • Recent posts

  • Tags

  • Monthly Archives

  • Advertisement: