Harley’s Hero Spotlight – Meet John Fenlaw

Why did you become involved in animal welfare and are now a Harley’s Hero?
I became involved in rescue when I adopted Emmitt, a little one-eyed Yorkie. At the time I was crossposting dogs in shelters on my personal Facebook page. People on my friend list were complaining about all the ‘sad dog pictures’ I was posting so I decided to start a Facebook page for Emmitt.

Emmitt and Harley became friends because they both had just one eye.

In my work with rescue, I was asked to help transport 15 Chihuahuas that were being surrendered by a local puppy mill because the owner passed away. To be 100 % honest, I was in no way prepared for what I would see that day. It was in January 2012. I arrived at the location and it was 13 degrees outside. Those 15 dogs were in an open pole barn in rabbit hutches, living on wire. I will never forget one male, whose legs were so encrusted in feces, his legs were stained brown. We named him Boots,

The day before Emmitt passed away in February of 2013, I agreed to foster a tiny Yorkie named Tanner (a puppy mill survivor), and on the day Emmitt passed away, the rescue I work with, Texas Star Rescue, took in several dogs from a puppy mill in Louisiana. One was an old girl without eyes. The rescue named her Emma, as a way to honor Emmitt. Emma lived with me until she passed away in October of that year. Tanner lives in Florida now with his Mom.

Which city/state are you working in as a Harley’s Hero?
I am in Gilmer, Texas – in the northeast corner of the state.

What difference do you feel you are making as a Harley’s Hero?
It is my hope, that as a Harley’s Hero, I am helping to educate people about the horrors the breeding dogs in puppy mills have to endure.

What motivates, inspires you in the fight against puppy mills?
I am motivated to fight against puppy mills because of the dogs that don’t have a voice. Emma, Tanner, and that tiny Chihuahua named Boots motivate me.

What would you like everyone to know about puppy mills, pet stores and animal welfare laws in your state?
I want people to know that when you go to a pet store and buy a puppy you are adding to the problem of puppy mills. I know from the dogs I have rescued from puppy mills, the health of the breeder dogs, both male and female, is not something the breeders care about. Health care/vet care is an expense they don’t want to deal with. Sadly, here in Texas we have very lax laws when it comes to animal welfare. Dogs and cats are considered property by the state of Texas. Hopefully, one day we can change that.

Tell us about your pets!
Now I have a tiny little blind lady named Bindi. My getting Bindi was not planned, but I have always heard that sometimes the best things in life are not planned. In March 2016 I went to the animal shelter in Paris, TX to pick up 2 dogs to transport to our rescue. The lady that was doing the paperwork for me to pick up the transport dogs was holding this tiny matted blind Yorkie. I asked about her story and was told that she had just been turned in by a backyard breeder because she was no longer useful to them. Needless to say, I left the shelter that day with 3 dogs instead of 2. Bindi has taught me so much about love and forgiveness.
I am also the hospice/senior foster for Texas Star Rescue, so there are always old dogs running around here.

Can you offer words of advice to someone who is considering becoming a Harley’s Hero?
To anyone thinking about becoming a Harley’s Hero, it is so rewarding.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
My favorite quote is simple, just one word…..  Believe.

Be sure to follow John’s Facebook page, Emmitt’s Place!

Learn about Harley’s Heroes: www.harleysdream.org/harleys-heroes


  1. Keep doing what you are doing John – we are seeing more and more positive results by working together

  2. John is the epitome of a wonderful, caring and generous person who is being the voice for those without one, our animals. Thank YOU John for all you have done to inspire all of us to become better people than we are! <3

  3. John Fenlaw is truly an earth angel! He takes in the senior dogs that no one wants, and he is like the dog whisperer with them. The minute they lay on his chest, they calm down and just totally fall in love with him. His kindness, compassion, and dedication to animals is inspiring. He truly is a Harley’s Hero!

  4. What a wonderful man….<3 <3 <3 Rescue is often very difficult….but its nothing compared to what those sweet creatures are going through…… Bless you John for helping them…

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