Why did you become a Harley’s Hero?
My husband Bill and I live in Tucson. Last year a bill to ban sales of all commercially bred puppies in our state made its way through the AZ legislature. Despite animal loving Arizonans calling, emailing, and messaging, Governor Doug Ducey refused to sign it into law. He said it was anti-business. The US Chamber of Commerce stood at his side cheering.
That day, May 20, 2016, was like a kick in my gut. I felt like I had let Harley down. What now? What chance do we have to get every single Puppy Mill across the country to go out of business? How? We must band together to HELP the customers of Pet Stores and On-line Puppy Sellers find their dogs at Rescues, Shelters and from the homes of Caring (reputable) Breeders. Harley’s Heroes is a brilliant grassroots movement that empowers us all. Together we can effect change.
As soon as I saw Rudi’s first post about Harley’s Heroes, I asked if I could be a member. I just wanted to participate in whatever way I could to further Harley’s Mission.
What difference do you feel you are making as a Harley’s Hero?
Every time we head out the door, we suit up in our “Ask Me About Puppy Mills” or “Animals Are Not Products” tee shirts. We take along some big smiles, add eye contact, and have Harley’s cards ready. It is easy to get into a dog related conversation that turns into a Puppy Mill discussion.
At Christmas, I sent an opinion piece to our local paper using many words borrowed from a fellow Harley’s Hero, Valerie. I plan to write another around the end of November.
The Tucson Chapter of SPEAK (Supporting and Promoting Ethics in the Animal Kingdom) holds a monthly protest at The Tucson Mall. The protest is directed at an Animal Kingdom pet store located in that mall. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, protests will be every weekend. Bill and I are committed to this action and several Harley friends have also joined the protest …I know that there will be more.
What motivates, inspires you in the fight against puppy mills? Do you have future plans as a Harley’s Hero?
I yearn for Harley’s Dream to remain a Big Tent Organization of people who have united because of a single goal: NO MORE PUPPY MILLS THROUGH EDUCATION. Yes, everyone has other issues: no-kill, spay/neuter, breeders, the AKC, rescues buying dogs at mill auctions, dog fighting, HSUS vs SPCA, the list is endless. We need always to remember that Harley’s Dream is laser focused on ending Puppy Mills forever and not become distracted.
The reason I say this is because in my world there is a place for beautiful dogs that are bred for health, soundness, temperament, and type by caring show breeders. Each of our Chihuahuas are from such breeders whom we know and with whom we keep in touch. We have been in their kitchens, have met the momma dogs, have played with the babies on the floor. We know where our dogs came from and if ever something were to happen to us, they are welcome back. One of my greatest joys is training puppies.
Tell us about your pets!
Champy, the oldest and a tyrant, runs his own world by rules known only to him. He is notorious for setting lofty goals. Three years ago, he set his sights on putting a coveted Golden Chihuahua trophy on his mantel piece. All he had to do was beat a lot of other Chihuahuas in the annual Tucson Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua races. So, after 3 years of intensive race training (think SEAL Team Six) and 2 near misses, in 2017 he beat 50 other Chihuahuas in Speedos and brought home the Golden Chihuahua Trophy.
Rocky, is the talented one. He pounds the pavement with me daily. On the road we discuss current issues, sing, practice obedience, and take fun breaks to show off some flashy dog parkour. He is camera-ready 24/7.
Lululemon is our Uber Alpha bitch. She lacks diplomacy and is ever ready to take it to the mat for any reason. Fortunately for all, she has an overbite (like Tuna Melts my Heart) so no teeth occlude … she never hurts anyone.
And then there is little Cupcake who is as sweet as her name. She pours out an endless stream of love and she, like Harley, has one eye.
For me, life without dog …impossible.
Can you offer words of advice to someone who is considering becoming a Harley’s Hero?
Don’t be afraid, timid, or shy. The more you tell your truth for Harley, the more the words become your own. Actively support all pro animal legislation in your city or state. Get smarter. Knowledge is power!
A fact filled book of information about Puppy Mills is “Compassion in Action” by Scotlund Haisley. This book was recommended to me by Valerie Hunter-Goss. It is an autobiography by the founder of “Animal Rescue Corps”. ARC works with authorities to shut down mills, remove the animals, and start their rehabilitation. His descriptions of the conditions in the mills gagged me. I agree with the author who says, “We must not allow our compassion for animals be channeled into hate for people.” His warning is to guard against bickering amongst ourselves about my way is the RIGHT WAY and your way is the WRONG WAY. (p.189)
Another book is “The Dog Merchants” by Kim Kavin. She writes about both bad and good Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescues. There is lots of good information packed in this book, but I expect that you will find parts of the book that will put you into a rant. For example, she explains why Puppy Mills are needed to fulfill market demands. (p.140, 141)
Do you have a favorite quote?
Our beloved Schipperke, Dharmagene Wasinger, always said “Carpe Carpe” … we think she meant Carpe Diem … but were never sure!
We, as Harley’s Heroes must, indeed, Seize Each Day.
Learn about our Harley’s Heroes project here: www.harleysdream.org/harleys-heroes