Teddy was Harley’s best buddy. They were great friends from the moment they met. Their relationship was unique and they had a very strong bond; always working together trying to make Harley’s dream come true. So now, Teddy is known as #HarleysDreamKeeper. This is Teddy’s story:
For the first seven years of his life, Teddy’s entire world consisted of a small, wire mesh cage housed in a commercial breeding facility … a puppy mill. Until his rescue, this tiny grey Chihuahua had never set foot on grass or known the comfort of a loving touch. Without so much as a name to call his own, he was simply a breeding dog used to sire puppies … just a cog in the wheel of a puppy mill churning out the puppies you see in pet store windows.
But Teddy was one of the lucky ones, and his story would not end in a cage as countless others do. In 2012, at the age of seven, his life was about to have a wonderful new beginning. He was discarded by the puppy mill, relinquished to a puppy mill rescue group, and brought to their facility in Colorado.
Unsuspecting that her life was about to change, too, Teddy’s future mom was there the day his rescue went through their intake process; she was helping with the photography. From that first day she was drawn to him, and this little dog – completely unaccustomed to kindness and human companionship – emphatically and unquestionably chose her. His eyes locked with hers and followed her every move … and the rest, as they say, is history. Five days after his rescue, Teddy – along with his little soul mate Gwinnie, another puppy mill survivor – went home to begin a new life of freedom.
It was a journey. Both dogs were extremely thin, very scared, and completely unsocialized. Teddy had eye ulcers and rotting teeth (a condition very typical of puppy mill dogs who receive little to no veterinary care). He had scars on the top of his nose and small chunks missing from both of his ears, possibly from cage fights or frostbite. Gwinnie suffered from pyometra (a very serious and dangerous infection of the uterus) and hernias from the countless litters she had borne. And both dogs had to learn about life outside the cage. All the experiences that a typical dog learns as a puppy were brand new … but they quickly began to learn about the outdoors, trust, belly rubs, stairs, drinking from a bowl, leashes, doorways, mirrors, treats, and most importantly, love.
Shortly after their rescue, a Facebook page was created for Teddy with the goal of spreading awareness about puppy mills and the pet store connection, and to inspire others to adopt. Teddy’s motto – Life is Good! – reflects his zest for life and he has become known for his undying love of belly rubs!
Along with his best buddy Harley, another puppy mill survivor, Teddy helped rescue more than 700 dogs from puppy mills. These two tiny superheroes not only helped rescue the dogs but also raised significant funds and awareness through the multi-year initiative, Harley to the Rescue. They were caped crusaders with the mission of “Dogs Saving Dogs.”
Sadly, Harley passed away in the spring of 2016 … but his legacy lives on through Harley’s Dream, a nonprofit grassroots organization focused on educating others and raising awareness about the puppy mill industry. Teddy’s soulmate Gwinnie also passed away later that year, making Teddy even more determined to do everything in his power to educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills.
In keeping with the philosophy that everyone can do something, Teddy began creating paw print artwork in early 2017, and Art By Teddy was born. His unique one-of-a-kind pieces not only bring people joy, they are raising funds through Harley’s Dream to help take the message about puppy mills to an even greater audience.
He also created the annual fall-themed “Take a Bite Out of Puppy Mills” campaign, designed to spread awareness about pet stores and puppy mills to children and adults with a unique twist.
Sadly, Teddy battled many health issues and he passed away July 17, 2019, but his legacy will live on through Harley’s Dream.