Harley was a rescue dog who came to us as a foster pet in 2002 following a failed adoption. Her first family had adopted her from a Colorado rescue when she was just eight weeks old, but returned her two years later following their divorce. Harley, a Rottweiler-Heeler mix, had been crated for up to 12 hours a day while her family was at work - not a good situation for a high-energy dog. When David and our older son, Kyle, went to pick her up following her plane ride back from the East Coast, Harley came out of the crate barking and jumping like a wild child.
We brought Harley home and David patiently worked with her in an effort to calm her down and teach her basic manners. He realized right off that Harley was an amazingly smart dog - smart enough to know that she didn't need to attend adoption fairs when she had already found her new family. To this day we wonder if she acted out at adoption fairs because she truly didn't like strangers, or because she had made up her mind that we were destined to be together. Harley was in our life for eight wonderful years before we received the devastating diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma. We were told Harley had a matter of days to live, but we couldn't accept her death sentence. Instead, we researched our options and took Harley through chemotherapy at the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado in Englewood . Three short months later, with no miracle in sight, we said goodbye to our beautiful Harley, but took some small measure of comfort in knowing we had done everything we could.
Every companion animal is special in their own way. Harley was personality plus - confiscating shoes and hiding them, stealing cat food whenever she could, and vocalizing with sounds that caused us to dub her our pet moose. She enjoyed daily walks around the block with her mom, and was so jealous when the neighbor's horse received apple slices, that she begged to share the horses' apple, even though she wouldn't touch one at home.
We miss Harley every day, as we do all of the special pets we've lost over the years. In grieving our loss, and knowing that so many other people have euthanized or given up pets because they couldn't afford major veterinary or behavioral care, our mission became clear; start an organization in Harley's honor to help other animals like her. And, that is exactly what Harley's Hope Foundation stands for - helping people with pets facing major health challenges, as well as those requiring additional training and patience to become good family members.
Do you have a Harley in your life? Can you imagine losing a family member knowing there was more that could have been done? The human-animal bond is a powerful connection that should not be broken when other options are available. Please help us keep pets in their homes where they belong. Visit our donations page and make a gift today that may save a life tomorrow!