Why did you become a Harley’s Hero?
I became a Harley’s Hero because I (unknowingly) ALMOST PURCHASED FROM A PUPPY MILL! Yep… it’s true!! I have always loved animals, and especially loved dogs. After my dog, Bonnie, passed away, I wanted to help her brother, Clyde, and my heart heal. I began searching the internet, looking for another sibling pair to add to our family. I began communication with a woman who said she was the ‘friend’ of a farmer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She sent me photos of 2 adorable puppies and I immediately fell in love… but as I asked questions about the mother and father of the puppies, the story kept changing. When I asked if I could speak to the ‘farmer’ who owned the dogs, I got lots of strange excuses. I began to research the area to see how far I would need to drive to go pick up the puppies… the more I researched the area, the more confused and concerned I became. I discovered the term ‘puppy mill’ and everything I had experienced led me to believe that this ‘farmer’ was an unscrupulous puppy mill owner! I was floored, thinking how I may have contributed to the living hell puppy mill parents exist in. My continued research of puppy mills led me to Harley, A Little Dog with a Big Dream! It also led me to Rudi and to Dan and to Teddy and to Teddy’s Mom, Michele and many, many others. It was Harley’s and Teddy’s stories, and their strength and their tenacity that inspired me to write to Rudi and ask if I could lead a Harley’s Heroes team in Rhode Island, which I did on 9/18/16! The very next day, Rudi responded to my email – “Hi Kimberly, I loved reading your email. Thank you for all you do!! So happy to have you and your team on board! I’ll add Rhode Island to the map and I’ll add you and your email address to the contact list. Thanks so much! – Rudi”. That was the beginning of a journey that has brought more to my life than I could have ever imagined or to adequately articulate!
Which city/state are you working in as a Harley’s Hero?
Which Team are you a member of? I am the Team Captain for the Harley’s Heroes RI Team: A Little State Supporting Harley’s Big Dream. Our team of 12+ members participates in numerous activities and events across the entire state. Our team members can be found providing:
– Posting Harley’s Dream Awareness cards on community bulletin boards
– Wearing our awareness bracelets
– Organizing and participating in peaceful pet store protests
– Distributing literature at various community events
– Speaking at public events, telling Harley’s story, sharing his life with literally anyone who will listen
– Working with legislators to create, introduce and pass legislation aimed at prohibiting the sale of dogs in pet stores
– Collaborating with and supporting other groups fighting to end puppy mills
– Voting, Voting and Voting some more… to support Harley’s Dream in the various contests and campaigns
– Posting and Re-posting all things Harley and Teddy on the various social media platforms!
Each of our team members determines what their strengths and interests are and we build from there to make real positive CHANGE!
What motivates, inspires you in the fight against puppy mills?
There are 3 things that immediately come to mind which inspire and motivate me to continue to fight against puppy mills – the parents, the puppies and the people. The Parents: Knowing there are dogs across this country that are living in the horrible conditions that the commercial breeding industry is known for: no veterinary care; no enrichment; no love and affection or human touch and interaction; some, with no opportunity to see the light of day or feel anything but wire cage beneath their paws, churning out litter after litter and then, as in Harley’s case, tossed in a bucket to die when no longer serving their purpose. The Puppies: Knowing that these innocent puppies are taken from their mothers too soon, frequently suffering from illness and disease, with little or no socialization and then shipped across the country terrified and confused, then sold for pure profit to unsuspecting families who are left to deal with the aftermath. These 2 things break my heart and infuriate me simultaneously. And then of course there are… The People: I have met the most incredibly kind, compassionate and supportive people both in person at events like Hops & Harley and through social media. I never cease to be amazed by all the uplifting and positive interactions and the tireless collective force of constructive humanity the people associated with the fight to end puppy mills share as they carry Harley’s legacy forward! Working and interacting with people like this, one can not help but be motivated and inspired!
Do you have future plans as a Harley’s Hero?
My team and I have plans to have our state-wide legislation reintroduced into RI House and Senate during the next legislative season. We have already begun organizing our legislative campaign to ensure success. We are also simultaneously working to add additional towns and cities to our ever-growing list of communities with ordinances prohibiting the sale of dogs and puppies as well as assisting our Massachusetts neighbors with trying to stop the expansion of one of the RI pet store chains with a terrible track record of selling unhealthy puppies purchased from puppy mills.
What would you like everyone to know about puppy mills, pet stores and animal welfare laws in your state?
Rhode Island is ON it! We aim to be the next state that puts the welfare of animals first! We’re fighting to prohibit the sale of dogs and puppies in pet store and encouraging those pet stores to adapt to a humane business model by joining with shelters and rescues to end the needless suffering of the puppy mill parents and the dogs euthanized because they never find their forever home.
Tell us about your pets!
My husband Marc and I are the proud parents of ‘our indoor kids’ Lucy & Ricky, 2 Toy Rat Terrorists (as we like to refer to them). Lucy and Ricky are litter-mates and just turned 6 years old! They are not ‘rescues’, they were purchased from a lovely woman who epitomizes the term ‘reputable breeder’: I was able to meet her, her husband and Lucy & Ricky’s parents and had to fly to New Orleans to go pick them up once they were old enough to leave their mother. The breeder wanted to meet the potential owner of ‘her baby’s babies…, she did not ‘ship puppies’. She made sure our family would be a good match and still keeps in contact with us to this day. We also take care of various ‘outdoor fur kids’ including deer, raccoons, possums, along with several skunks… including one that we brush its fur!
Can you offer words of advice to someone who is considering becoming a Harley’s Hero?
Just like the Nike ad. Just Do it! You can start slow…just wear an awareness bracelet and build from there, before you know it you will be setting up education tables and speaking before your local and state legislators about the horrors of puppy mills and why they need to END! You will get back 10x more than you give and feel both proud and satisfied with know you are making the world a better place!
Do you have a favorite quote?
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~ Jane Goodall. I live by this quote. We can move through this world with positive intention and action or stumble through without regard for anything or anyone… Why not work to make life and the world a better place for all living things and while you are at it… why not #LoveLikeHarley?