Heroes are not judged merely by their size, but by the size of their hearts.
A tiny Chihuahua named Harley from Berthoud, Colorado has been named this year’s most courageous canine and biggest dog star, beating out 170 other heroic hounds to become "American Hero Dog" at the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and to be broadcast on Hallmark Channel on October 30 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central Time.
Harley spent 10 years living in a small cage in a puppy mill before he was rescued and found a loving home. His journey of physical and emotional healing inspired a campaign called "Harley to the Rescue," which has raised the funds to save and provide medical care for more than 500 dogs from puppy mills over the past two years.
Harley personally goes on rescue missions, and there is no doubt Harley is keenly aware of what is happening. There is something indescribable in the way he communicates with the sad and scared dogs. As a spokes-dog against puppy mills, Harley has educated thousands of people of all ages about the horrors of the commercial dog breeding industry.
Harley also makes public appearances at events and schools where he gladly accepts love and attention from everyone. Harley’s battered appearance is a testament to the neglect and rough treatment he experienced, leading to a diseased heart, a mouth filled with rot, a fused spine, a broken tail, gnarled toes, and legs that were deformed. And then there is his missing eye – the result of his cage being power-washed with him in it (an all-too-common practice in puppy mills).
All of these conditions were the result of years of horrendous neglect and abuse. To change this reality, Harley is a voice for the countless breeding dogs still living in puppy mills around the country. As a result of his work, Harley won the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards’ Emerging Hero Dogs category, for "ordinary" dogs who do extraordinary things. This year, the Emerging Hero Dog category is sponsored by Merial, maker of NexGard® (afoxalaner) Chewables. Thank you to them for helping draw attention to Harley and further his vital mission.
The Hero Dog Awards were created to to recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs.