The day before…

Harley was napping on my chest in this photo. It was taken exactly one year ago, the day before he passed away. The photo below was taken that same day, after Harley’s nap. I’ve looked at these photos at least 1000 times, trying desperately to recapture that moment and the feeling of having Harley in my arms and in my heart.

What has kept me going over the past year? It was Harley. Harley inspired me from the first day I met him. I could never quite explain it – and I still can’t, but I know there are many people, even some who have never personally met Harley, who understand. Harley fought to keep going with so many odds stacked up against him. If he could fight as hard as he did to make his life matter for something so much bigger than he, then it was my duty to continue his legacy. And YOU, Harley’s friends and fans … I drew strength from you. You inspired and encouraged me to keep going, and when I thought I could not keep going, you held me up and together we continued on. I thank you, Dan thanks you, and Harley thanks you. I know he is still with each and every one of us, and always will be. -Rudi (Harley’s mom)

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  1. I know you and Dan are still hurting and are missing little Harley..I miss him, too, and did not know him personally. I met you guys one time with Kim over in Berthoud. I was the one who brought over the little female chihuahua that Kim adopted! Best decision I ever made. I was fostering her. Kim is a great person. Anyway, please know that I think of you guys very, very often…

    • I never got to meet Harley, but he is in my Heart forever…..even tho I never met your Special Boy, I Love him to no end…he is Loved and Missed every day by so many. He is sure Loved and always will be. I can only imagine how you and Dan’s Heart is so broken Sweet Rudi….it will always be. God Bless You Both. And Your Boy will be by your side and in your Hearts forever….he is right there beside you Both….guiding you and protecting you both…..He Loves You Both as much as You Both Love Him. <3 I Love that Sweet Baby Boy so much….still get tears in my eyes a lot over this Precious Boy! God Bless You Dan & Rudi…and God Bless all my Harley friends, for I know how your Hearts are Sad and Broken because mine is too….Love & Miss You Sweet Harley….<3

  2. just before Harley passed I remember how excited I was
    to be going to the Hops & Harley event to meet Harley – little did I know a few days later Harley would pass and we would be celebrating his life at his memorial –

  3. I spent the morning with my “Harley” friend protesting one of our local pet stores. We talked about Harley , his legacy and the impact he had on both of us. We know there will never be another like him. He was magical, larger than life and represented so much that we should all strive to be. He was and still is goodness, kindness, strength and forgiveness. Please know that we will always hold him, his family and his dream in our hearts.

  4. When I read you stories of Harley, I cry. It touches me so close to home. I did not follow Harley’s journey until recently. My Mr. Braydee is an 8 year 8 lb old healthy, striving chihuahua that I rescused at 8 months old from an amish puppy mill. We are in northeastern Ohio. Harley is the same size as my chihuahua Gabriella, 4 lbs. I was told when I took Mr. Braydee when I first got him to the vet “don’t get too attached”. What? Challenge accepted. With love, compassion and a strong will these dogs can make great progress. I fought for Mr. Braydee to live. He was weak. Very ill and I force fed him for months. I had to teach him to to live! I thank you Rudi & Dan for giving Harley a chance in life to live. To know freedom. The world needs more people like us! I read your stories and I squeeze my fur babes so tight. You have Mr. Braydee and Gabi standing behind you spreading Harley’s message in Ohio. We love you Harley. We thank you that even in death you touch our hearts so deeply. Together we will end puppy mills! Your mission is our passion.

  5. Thank you for sharing sweet Harley with the world. He was a joy, and the perfect ambassador for the no more puppy mills movement. I was so looking forward to seeing him at the 2016 Hops & Harley event. It was not to be, but I got to meet his fellow superhero Teddy, and Dan. The world is better for having been graced by Harley.

  6. Harley stays busy now at the Rainbow Bridge with both eyes and able to run free. Will never forget our dear little friend.

  7. Bless your hearts for loving Harley and all his siblings, and for giving Harley to the world. He has given each of us a purpose; his dream of no more puppy mills. Harley Forever!

  8. Until my last breath, and last heartbeat I’ll fight to fulfill Harleys dream. Love and hugs Rudi & Dan …

  9. The story and courage of your little guy Harley kept me going when our little Shih-Tzu Rocky suddenly crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge just before Christmas. All we now have are beautiful memories and one day we’ll all meet again. Harley our HERO.

  10. Thinking of Harley’s family during this time of firsts. My eyes leak as I read and view these beautiful post and pics. I never met Harley but I loved him as my own. I share Harley’s story all the time!!! Bless Harley’s mom and dad! Big hugs and lots of love! 💙💙💙💙💙

  11. I loved reading Harley’s posts on facebook. He was truly a special dog and his legacy lives on in the work that you and NMDR do to end puppy mills.

  12. I was on a trip to Alaska last summer, and I saw a woman wearing a Hops and Harley t-shirt. That made me smile.

  13. Oh my, such a tiny thing to leave such a HUGE, gaping hole in our hearts, in my heart. I was just so crushed on the day that Harley physically left us. It wasn’t my first experience losing a “Hero Dog”. First there was Hector, one of the Vicktory dogs. Then Scooby, from The Pongo Fund. I cried most of the day, on and off. he was so sweet, so tiny, so vulnerable and yet so large, fierce and brave. But above all he was loved and cherished and in return he loved and cherished. I was looking at photos of him shortly after he left and I was looking at the one of him sniffing the flower and it spoke to me. It was like Harley saying “Don’t be sad, my physical time here is finished but my Spirit, it will always be here, being loved by you all and I will be loving you all. Sniff a flower every day”. I try to “sniff a flower every day” – find something good in every day, appreciate something every day, be grateful every day, be kind every day………….because everyone should try to “Love like Harley”. Thank you Rudi and Dan for loving Harley and giving him THE best home and sharing him with us.

  14. What a special little dog who ended up with just the right people to carry on his dream.
    Thank you for what you do. You are very special people.
    I miss Harley and his strength. I always try to “love like Harley”❤

  15. ..
    I remember getting Harley’s “Gotcha’ Day” card ready to send..
    and then soon after reading the heartbreaking news..
    Precious Harley had gotten his wings..
    and angels cried..

    I still do..♥♥

  16. Rudi, you are correct when you say you can’t explain how or what it was that Harley inspired in you. I can’t explain it and neither can anyone else. I believe that God used Harley to accomplish a much greater purpose than anyone could ever know. The Bible says “God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong.” Harley was the most unlikely dog in this world to accomplish big things but look what he has done through you, Dan, NMDR and all his fans. And he’s not done yet. This is a movement that continues to grow. My personal belief is that only God could do such a thing. You, my friend, are now in the trenches and doing the work. You are uncovering the horrible things in this world and exposing them to the light of day. You’ve only just started. So I hope you will remember the good fight Harley fought. Fifteen years! How quickly would we have given up? Do not give up. God is with you. He will help you. And he also now has that sweet pup in his lap and he is healed and he is whole. Thank you for your love and commitment to the good things. We all love both of you and we miss that angel just as you do. ❤

  17. I still cry for Harley as I know Rudi and Dan must too! We miss him so much but his mission goes on. Thanks to Rudi an Dan for saving Harley and for giving him 5 wonderful years and sharing him with us. We love you for it and will never forget him or both of you for what you have done to end puppy mills!

  18. MORE beautiful pictures of Dear Harley. I know you will NEVER tire of me saying that he taught me the truth about Puppy Mills! I never knew before I read about Harley how inhumane and cruel these Puppy Mills are.

  19. What a precious boy he was! I know it has to be very hard, but keep those memories alive! You and your family are being held up in prayers!

  20. Yes, Harley was my idol, my example of fighting for what is important in life. Harley couldn’t have done this without you. He needed to become complete, with help of you. He found peace, love, harmony, safety, with you. I will and can never forget Harley. He is one of the lives of my life. Do i sound funny? We can meet all kind of people and animals who settle in our heart and won’t go away. I am very honored and happy that i met Harley. Had i lived in the USA, i would certainly have met him. That was my wish. (I am living in the Netherlands) that’s why i am so gratefull and happy that you show us all his pictures. They keep him so alive. And i want to say that Teddy is my hero too. As dear to me as Harley. Thank you for showing us all his pictures. Thank you Harley, for being a part of my life

  21. I always get emotional when a pet passes, whether it’s mine, a friend’s or a stray. A day or so before Harley passed, I saw a post that made me kinda nervous. I told my husband I was afraid. Then I waited all day till the announcement came and I fell apart. I knew you and Dan had to be devastated. I still occasionally cry thinking about Harley…he had come such a long, long way. I hate death and disease and sickness and old age… they are so unfair and don’t care who they touch.
    Then I lost my good boy Pickles in January. So now, when I see Harley, I think of Pickles. We don’t know a lot about Pickles’ past, except that he was abandoned and left to die in the middle of a very cold winter. He was very sick and close to death when our son found him and rescued him. We don’t believe he came from a puppy mill. I am an animal lover from the word go and reading Harley’s facebook posts only made me appreciate and love animals even more. My husband and I are Harley’s Heroes in Marietta, GA… We haven’t been as active as most of your members due to his health and his battle with cancer. We are active in that we speak to everyone we can; in particular, I speak with pet store managers. We want everyone to know about the mills and we will continue to do what we can to educate others in Harley’s memory. Hugs to you and Dan… God bless.

  22. He is a shining light in our lives. A comet flashing though our hearts and lighting a fire.

  23. Thank you for sharing this with us. We loved your boy so very much and we always be there to support Harley’s Legacy Furever.

  24. I remember the beautiful tribute you made. Heartwrenching! I felt like I lost one of my own. I still have that pit in my stomach and void feeling whenever I think of it. As I sit here with Monty, I can understand your feelings so well about Harley and all the others. Keep his memories going and for all that he has done and still is doing. We love you Harley and miss you everyday.

  25. I feel the exactly the same way!! March 12th is my day. Josie left is on that day, one I will remember forever. Josie was the light of my life, when I got here she would fit in the palm of my hand. I carried her in a stocking cap in my breast pocket!! She went everywhere with me, until her last day. She inspired me to get the 2 mill dogs I have now to ensure we shared the love we had for her those 12 and half years!!

  26. Feeling your heartache and your grief. We know how hard it is and admire you both so much for continuing to love and offer your hearts to so many sweet critters. “And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up” –
    Charles Dickens

  27. Harley inspires me every single day. He made me a better person that I am now more than ever and for that I’m always grateful and thankful for Harley. HarleysDream will continue to gain strength and Harley’s Heroes will come together in unity to make Harley’s Dream comes true.

  28. Harley has helped me in the past and I know he is helping me in the future. This little angel is still with us in all our hearts.

  29. I can’t even remember now how I came across Harley or where I first read about him. It was only shortly before he passed away. Somewhere I saw his photo and was curious about his eye. Since then I have learned so much from him than just how he lost his eye.

    When I read your posts, your love for Harley, Fernando, Winston, Miss Pickles and all of your pack shines through so bright. That love is so inspiring to me and others and it is what keeps Harley’s Dream alive. You inspire me to cherish every moment with my four chihuahuas whom I love so dearly. You inspire me to want to help other dogs not as fortunate. You inspire me to do what I can, no matter how small, because it can make a difference. You inspire me to educate myself so that when I wear my Harley’s Dream tshirt (with Teddy on it) I can say, “let me tell you about a little dog named Harley …”

    Today’s post brought tears to my eyes. My dogs lie on my chest the same way Harley is here. To think that you can suffer a loss so great, and still go on to care for dogs who are seniors and that have special needs so that they can have what Harley did–to know they have a family to love them–brings joy to my heart. I truly think Harley was destined to be your little angel, just as you were to him when he needed you, and just as you are to Fernando and Miss Pickles now.

  30. Harley has touched so many of us, myself included. It was Harley’s sweet face that drew me in, and I have learned so much. I am also very thankful that because of Harley, I know that there are a lot of amazing compassionate people, like Rudi and Dan, that share my philosophy on so many things! Thank you, as always, for sharing your hearts with us.

  31. Harley was an unforgettable experience in my life. I fell in love with him more and more each day and so looked foreword to hearing from him. I’ve missed him and you and your husband’s messages and pictures of Harley & his friend Teddy and all the trip they took yo the doggy mills to rescue the dogs from the clutches of the cruel and abusive breeders.
    So nice to see your tweets. 💞 Look forward to receiving your blog.

  32. I remember hearing of sweet little Harley’s passing, it was such a shock and sadness filled my heart.

  33. This is the first time I have seen these. The last photo of Harley in the winter woods has become my favorite! Even though this was the day before he died, there is something about this photo that captures his strength. That little doggie among the tall and snow-covered trees …. stands proud and with a look of purpose. He is truly still among us. 💕

  34. Harley has been an inspiration to so many. I hope and pray that with the inspiration that was given to us by Harley and his kind and loving family that puppy mills will be shut down . I miss Harley as if he were my own.

  35. R.I.P Sweet baby you will never be forgotten….. thank you for allof your goofy pictures that brought a smile to my face everyday.

  36. Thank you Harley for educating me about Puppy Mills! I’m so glad you had a loving home for your last 5 yrs! You will never be forgotten and forever loved! ❤

  37. I never met Harley or you guys in person. But I have followed Harley for years. And it’s true there are a lot of People who understand and can’t explain the affections that little Harley had on them but they are real … I’m one of those people. I admire you both for all the time and work you gave put into saving all the mill dogs and just educating people on don’t shop, adopt!
    You are always in my prayers?

  38. Harley is very busy at the Rainbow Bridge welcoming all those mill dogs that have passed after him. And he plays in the Rainbow fields with all of them! I know how much you love and miss him but you gave him the best life. I believe dogs live in the moment so I think he forgot all those terrible times before you gave him his forever home. Thank you for sharing those priceless photos of him.

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