Sunflower’s Journey

Happily ever after!

Sunflower and her forever-mom, Grandma Carole

After saving little Miss Sunflower from the shelter in Los Angeles, we knew she needed to be in a home where she could be monitored throughout the day, so … I asked my mom, “Would you be interested in fostering Sunflower?” Mom had to think about it. She had never fostered a dog before, she currently has 2 special-needs dogs, and her heart was still healing from the loss of her dear little Chihuahua, Pulga. It took a couple of days for her to decide, but then mom said, “Yes!”

For 2 months, “Grandma Carole” cared for and doted on little Sunflower. I’d stop by her house daily and she’d give me updates. A few times I asked her if she might be thinking of adopting Sunflower and her response was always, “No, I’m sure there’s a better home out there for her than with me.” But then there were times when my mom tearfully told me, “It will be so hard when Sunflower moves on to her forever home.”

After receiving the results of Sunflower’s biopsies and news of her gallbladder issue, Grandma Carole let us know a few days ago that little Sunflower indeed MUST stay with her. She said, “Sunny loves and depends on me, it wouldn’t be fair to send her to a new home.” I think deep down inside, I always knew that Sunflower was meant to be with my mom. We couldn’t be happier!

PS: The 2 photos at the end are of Mom’s beloved Pulga (Spanish for “flea”), who passed away in November 2016 … exactly 2 years before Sunflower came into her life.

Sunflower and her forever-mom, Grandma Carole
Sunflower with her special blanket, made for her by Auntie Dianne
Mom’s beloved Pulga passed away Nov 2016

Feb 1, 2019

We’ve been slow to post an update about Sunflower until we had as much information as possible. In particular, we were waiting on results from the biopsies and her recent ultrasound. She had many mammary tumors which have all been removed, but the largest was cancerous. Because of this, we will keep a close eye on Sunflower and we’ll make sure she gets X-rays and an ultrasound every 3 months. Also, she has an issue with her gallbladder, but hopefully nothing too serious. Despite everything, Sunflower is the happiest little girl! She is frisky and funny and so loving! And she loves her foster-momma soooooo much!

It was your support and donations that allowed us to save 12-year-old Sunflower from being euthanized in the shelter. We wish you all could meet her and see how happy and rambunctious she is now… it’s incredibly heartwarming. THANK YOU!

PS: Sunflower is pictured here with Dr. Lineberger, her surgeon at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists. He is absolutely amazing, so kind and gentle, we seriously cannot say enough wonderful things about him (and the entire staff at Four Seasons)!!

Jan 17, 2019

Sunflower in her onesie! But the truth is, she hasn’t had to wear it much, she really hasn’t been concerned at all about the 6 incisions (which are healing up nicely).

Jan 14, 2019

It was pretty warm here in Colorado today so Sunflower got to go outside (for just about 2 minutes) … long enough to get her picture taken wearing Frankie’s “peace love” shirt! She’s doing remarkably well since the surgery!

Jan 12, 2019

We made this video (below) to show you that little Miss Sunflower has a big appetite this morning! She really is doing quite well since the surgery and we’re excited to say that she has a very bright future in store for her!

Soon, we will be able to find Sunny her special forever home. We know there is currently some interest; it’s important that she be in a home where she can be tended to on and off throughout the day, as she will likely need drops in her eyes (at least three times per day). She sleeps a lot, sits up like a kangaroo, loves to cuddle and she also enjoys running in the grass. She would be very happy being the only dog because she doesn’t prefer the company of other canines. Inquiries about Sunny can be sent to us at

It’s YOUR support and donations that made it possible for us to save 12-year-old Sunflower from being euthanized in the shelter.

Jan 12, 2019

In this video below and you can see how little Miss Sunflower is doing this morning. Because of the pain management she’s pretty lethargic, this isn’t typical for her because she’s usually a spunky little girl! We’re sure she’ll be back to her funny “begging” little self soon.

Jan 11, 2019

We haven’t much time for a long update, but wanted to let everyone know that little Miss Sunflower is now home from the hospital and she’s doing well. She ate and drank a little and now she’s snuggling in for an afternoon nap! THANK YOU to everyone for supporting our efforts to help us save this precious little girl and give her a second chance!

Jan 10, 2019

One more post before we head off to bed for the night. It’s been such a long and stressful day, but all is well and Dan and I are feeling a bit emotional.

When we decided to add “Harley’s House of Dreams” as a program under Harley’s Dream, we honestly expected to rescue one senior dog at a time. But this time we somehow managed to rescue three … Sunflower, Sammy and Billy. Three dogs who were to be euthanized had we not made the decision to save them. Three sweet and amusing little dogs that we already love dearly!!

But what makes this even more emotional for us is thinking about the kindness, love, and support that YOU give us, the dogs, and our program. If it weren’t for your generous support, Sunflower, Sammy and Billy would very well not be alive today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Rudi & Dan


Jan 10, 2019

Little Miss Sunflower is doing well after surgery. She’ll remain in the hospital where she’s being monitored constantly through the night. We’re grateful to Drs. Sitzman and Lineberger, and to the entire staff at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists for providing top-notch, loving care for precious little Sunny.

Jan 10, 2019

When we rescued little Miss Sunflower from the shelter in Los Angeles, we knew she would require veterinary attention to become as healthy as possible. Over the past month we’ve provided “Sunny” all the basic care necessary, including: vet visits, quality food, warm blankets, and lots and lots of love. But today is the day we worry so much about … today Sunny will have a badly needed dental and, as long as everything is going smoothly while under anesthesia, she will have several mammary tumors removed and be spayed as well. This is life-saving surgery and absolutely necessary to give Sunny the chance for a happy and comfortable rest of her life.

All of these photos were taken just this morning. She’s adorable!

Thank you so much!

Sunflower with surgeon, Dr. Lineberger
Sunflower with surgeon, Dr. Lineberger and dentist, Dr. Sitzman
Sunflower waiting….

Jan 10, 2019

Billy, Sammy and Sunflower with Rudi this morning at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists … before all 3 went in for surgery. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers today.

Jan 3, 2019

Little Miss Sunflower is doing really well in her foster home. Though she doesn’t care much for the other dogs in the house, she does love the attention she gets from her foster mom and dad! Her favorite thing to do is race around in the grass really fast (on warm days, of course) and she also loves long naps in her soft, heated bed.

On January 10th she will undergo surgery to remove several mammary tumors – during that time she will also be spayed. This surgery is something that cannot be avoided if Sunflower is to have the chance for a longer, happy and comfortable life.

Jan 1, 2019

I know a lot of you have been asking for an update on little Miss Sunflower and we promise to post one soon. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of her “sitting pretty” while she watches her foster-mommy cook supper!

Dec 13, 2018

This morning little Miss Sunflower had a visit with Dr. Eberhardt at Berthoud Animal Hospital. The good news is, Sunflower’s heart and lungs sound great and her knees are pretty good (this is unusual for an older Chihuahua). The not-so-good news is that she has some mammary tumors. Tissue from one of the tumors was aspirated and sent off for a biopsy. A blood panel was also done. Sunflower has a very infected mouth, which is also a concern, and she was started on an antibiotic for that. As suspected, her eyesight is limited and there is evidence of past ulcers and age-related issues. Her weight came in as 3.7lbs (she’s a tiny thing). Once we receive the results of the blood-work and biopsy we’ll work with her veterinary team to decide on the best course of action, always keeping Sunflower’s age, comfort and happiness in mind.

Little Miss Sunflower seems to be enjoying life in her foster home (with Grandma). She’s active and bright-eyed. She begs to be held and barks at other dogs using her cute little voice!

This adorable little girl was scheduled to be euthanized at the Riverside Shelter in Los Angeles late last month … and she is only with us today because of YOUR generous support and donations.

Dec 13, 2018

This morning we’ll be taking little Miss Sunflower to see Dr. Eberhardt at Berthoud Animal Hospital. She’s doing great and really blossoming in her foster home with Grandma but it’s time we address the condition of her mouth (many loose and rotten teeth and at least one fistula) to determine if she’s healthy enough to undergo dental and spay surgery. Watch for an update later today!

Dec 11, 2018

Little Miss Sunflower is doing great! I explained to her today that Grandma Carole will be her new foster-mom and she seemed excited about the idea. Grandma lives nearby and she’s home nearly all day so Sunflower can have her undivided attention! On Thursday she has an appointment with Dr. Eberhardt at Berthoud Animal Hospital for an exam, bloodwork and to discuss the possibility of a dental.

Sunflower loves to be loved! She loves to sit on laps and to burrow under her blankets, and she especially loves when Grandma sings to her, it’s the sweetest thing ever!

Dec 9, 2018

Sunflower, Sammy and Billy have arrived in Colorado and they are now all safe and sound (with full bellies) in our home.

And WHEW!!!! What a busy last few days it’s been! I’m looking at these 3 little ones now, knowing that they were scheduled to be euthanized … holding back my tears. I can see how desperate they are to be loved (and to give love) … and knowing they will now have that chance … it’s just absolutely amazing.

THANK YOU to the entire Harley community for helping us save Sunflower, Sammy and Billy. I know it’s cliché, but it really does take a village, and without the help of so many of you, these precious little ones would have died. We are ALL so profoundly grateful.

Sunflower with Grandma Carole

Dec 9, 2018

Sammy and Billy are already cuddled together in their crate and Miss Sunflower is about to climb into hers … soon they will take to the skies! Today’s flight will be at low altitude and will include a few stops to tend to the dogs, so I’m going to (try to be) be patient.

The BIGGEST THANK YOU EVER to my awesome husband Dan and to his great friend Don for helping out, as they bring Sunflower, Sammy and Billy to Colorado. Please wish them all a safe and smooth flight.

Dec 8, 2018

There are so many heroes in dog rescue, but I’d like to tell you about my most favorite hero: my husband, Dan.

Like me, Dan also works a full-time “real“ job but he still helped me orchestrate the rescue and transport of Sunflower, Sammy and Billy from shelters in Los Angeles and San Jose. (This took many hours!) He also set up the veterinary appointments for the three of them, and made 32 random phone calls to supporters of “Harley’s House of Dreams” because he was so touched by the kindness and generosity they’ve shown in helping us save these precious little lives.

And yesterday he spent the day carefully preparing his little Cessna 182 for a flight to Los Angeles. He left this morning and arrived safely at the San Gabriel airport this afternoon. (He even texted me photos of the Grand Canyon as he flew over it!)

Right now he is at America Palma’s home, our wonderful Los Angeles-based foster, and he is meeting Sunflower, Sammy and Billy for the very first time. Dan is in his element; there’s no one who loves dogs more than Dan and he’s absolutely in heaven!

Tomorrow morning, Dan and the 3 new little rescues will fly home to Colorado. On Monday they’ll be seen by our veterinarians, and whatever medical treatment is needed will begin to put them on the road to recovery … and an incredible new life. I asked him to take pictures tomorrow so you can expect some!

I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a husband that supports and helps me and, most importantly, shares my dreams.

PS: In this photo Dan is meeting little Miss Sunflower for the very first time.

Dec 3, 2018

Sunflower is currently in temporary foster care in Los Angeles with our dear friend America and her mother Maria (pictured here). They are two amazing women and we couldn’t have saved Sunflower without their help. Our plan is to bring Sunflower to Colorado in about 5 more days; we will provide the veterinary care she needs and eventually she’ll be ready for her forever home!

Dec 3, 2018

Little Sunflower continues to gain strength as she’s embracing her second chance at life in her temporary foster home in Los Angeles. In this photo, she’s enjoying the morning sunshine along with her foster-sister, Kiko. As you can see, Sunflower is still underweight, but not terribly. Our plan is it bring her to Colorado in 5 more days where we will provide the veterinary care she needs and eventually she’ll be ready for her forever home!


Dec 1, 2018

Rescued from the shelter in the nick of time, Little Miss Sunflower is settling well into her temporary foster home and is showing lots of gratitude to her foster mom, America. She is now eating and even went for a mini walk outside. Her vision is quite limited; there’s a chance she is completely blind, and we won’t know for sure until she is assessed by our veterinary staff. She is also having a breathing issue which we are also addressing. Once she seems well enough to make the trip, we will bring her to Colorado.

Meanwhile, please keep little Sunflower in your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful to America for literally going the distance to help us save this precious little life!

Nov 29, 2018

FREEDOM PHOTOS!! We’re so happy to announce that little Miss Sunflower has left the shelter and is now SAFE in the arms of love!

Our wonderful volunteer, America, rescued her on behalf of Harley’s House of Dreams (a part of Harley’s Dream) and she will temporarily foster Sunflower until we can bring her to Colorado. Thank you, America, for helping us give Sunflower a new life!

It’s YOUR donations that made it possible for us to save Sunflower.

Nov 28, 2018

A few days ago, a little female Chihuahua – listed as “code red“ in a Los Angeles-area shelter – was brought to our attention. She was several days past her “stray hold” and was scheduled to be euthanized. We watched and waited, hoping she would be rescued, but no one wanted her.

And so … beautiful little Miss Sunflower will soon become the next resident of Harley’s House of Dreams! She’s approximately 10 years old and has some health concerns, but you know how we roll … we will do our best to provide her all the medical care and love she needs, and when she’s ready we will find a wonderful home for her where she will be treasured. We’ll make sure the rest of Sunflower’s life is filled with nothing but happiness!

Hang on, Sunflower … life is about to get so much better!

PS: This photo was taken during Sunflower’s medical assessment at the shelter. We’ll have freedom photos soon!