Why did you become a Harley’s Hero?
I’ve followed Harley’s Facebook page since 2014, right before attending my first Hops and Harley. Before that I knew nothing about puppy mills. Being changed so profoundly by our little hero, I felt becoming a Harley’s Hero was the least I could do to repay Harley for all he’s taught me and means to me. Harley even moved me to adopt a puppy mill survivor, my sweetest Susie Q. She spent 9 years breeding at a puppy mill in Missouri. I do it for Harley and Susie Q and all the dogs still trapped, abused and exploited.
Which city/state are you working in as a Harley’s Hero? Which Team are you a member of?
I’m a Harley’s Hero in Loveland and Ft. Collins, Colorado as a member of Harley’s Heroes: Ft. Collins, CO.
What difference do you feel you are making as a Harley’s Hero?
Every person I educate about puppy mills counts. Whether they know about puppy mills and are learning Harley’s story for the first time or are new to the topic of puppy mills I’m impacting that person’s thought process. If I can prevent one person from buying a puppy or inspire one person by telling them about Harley I’ve done something amazing. Who knows how many people that person will educate, and that person, and so on. When I participate in a peaceful protest I’m causing those passing by to pause even for a second and question what we’re doing and why. It may lead to someone going home and researching puppy mills and finding the truth about where pet stores get their puppies. Some passing by may know about puppy mills and feel motivated to do more in the fight against puppy mills. I can only do what I can do, but together our voices are growing and we are being heard by shoppers, voters, those in the political arena, and the general public.
What motivates, inspires you in the fight against puppy mills?
Harley and my Susie Q motivate me and inspire me in the fight against puppy mills. I think about what they have endured and overcome and I think if they can be that strong and resilient I can push through my fears, insecurities, the occasional doubt, or feeling of discouragement and keep on using my voice for those who have none. My team co-leader, Valerie, inspires me and keeps me motivated by constantly looking for and setting up venues for us to set up tables. She researches and shares her findings on relevant animal welfare news and laws and is an exceptional networker with those in the animal welfare world. Valerie’s dedication and tenacity is contagious and definitely helps keep me going!
Do you have future plans as a Harley’s Hero? If so, please tell us about them.
My future plans as a Harley’s Hero are to continue participating in educational outreach events and peaceful protests. I would eventually like to approach our City Council about enacting a retail ban. That will take some planning and research and gathering people and resources.
What would you like everyone to know about puppy mills, pet stores and animal welfare laws in your state?
According to Colorado Citizens for Canine Welfare “Currently there are approximately 157 licensed large and small scale breeding facilities in Colorado. Likely there are many more that are not licensed and regulated. Small scale breeding facilities are defined as those transferring 24 to 99 puppies per year. Large scale facilities transfer more than 99 puppies per year. There is no limit to the number of dogs or puppies a breeding facility can own or transfer. Regulation in Colorado is through the Department of Agriculture’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA). There are 5 inspectors in Colorado and they are charged with overseeing over 1800 pet animal care facilities, which include breeding facilities, pet stores, doggy day cares, groomers, shelters and rescues. Pet shops and mills are inspected on a rating system. Those that have had numerous violations are inspected more frequently, although with only 4 inspectors available consistent inspections are difficult to accomplish.”
Tell us about your pets!
I am owned by a 10 year-old Chihuahua named Sancho and an 11 year old Havanese named Susie Q. I got Sancho when he was 5. He was my cousin’s dog. She left him at my Grandma’s house when I was staying there and he and I fell in love. My cousin gave me permission to have him for a while because he was helping me so much and later let me keep him saying she knew he was better off with me. My husband and I adopted Susie from our local Humane Society right before her 9th birthday. We’ve had her for a little over 2 and a half years. Sancho and Susie bonded immediately upon meeting at the shelter and it was obvious we found our fourth family member! They are the best of friends. Both Sancho and Susie were nervous, timid dogs when I got them and have grown into the calmest, most laid back dogs. They have their moments of fear still, but are entirely content and love their lives with us. They go everywhere with us and have flown several times as well as been boating and on many a road trip. They are our surrogate children.
Can you offer words of advice to someone who is considering becoming a Harley’s Hero?
Being a Harley’s Hero is a rewarding and amazing experience! I feel connected to and supported by all the Harley’s Heroes teams. It’s so nice being a part of something so large yet still so meaningful and personal. I don’t have any previous volunteer experience. Being a Harley’s Hero allows me to go at my own pace with my own level of involvement. It’s very flexible as far as time required and level of commitment. Finding a team to join may lead to some great friendships. If there’s no team in your area to join, creating a team could be as simple as finding an interested friend and distributing Harley’s Dream flyers, brochures, cards etc.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant
Learn about our Harley’s Heroes project here: www.harleysdream.org/harleys-heroes