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Former Puppy Mill Dog Wins American Hero Dog Award

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Once confined to a cramped cage, a former puppy mill dog took center stage as he was honored with the top title at the 2015 American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards for shining a light on one of the darkest corners of the dog world.

For a decade Harley, a Chihuahua from Berthoud, Colorado, endured life as a breeding dog. Locked away from both physical and emotional comforts, the torment took its toll on his tiny body. Losing one of his eyes from a power cage-washing while he was still trapped inside, Harley has also suffered a broken tail, rotted teeth, a fused spine, deformed legs, and diseased heart. What the puppy mill operators could not destroy, however, was Harley’s spirit.

Saved by National Mill Dog Rescue, today Harley lives with Rudi and Dan Taylor, a loving forever family who helps him with his mission to end the plight of puppy mill dogs. Through his “Harley to the Rescue” campaign the tiny Chihuahua with a big heart has made public appearances, raised funds which saved and provided medical care for over 500 dogs from puppy mills, and joined life-saving rescue missions to help alleviate the dogs’ fears as their cage doors are finally opened.

Harley’s story won the hearts of more than one million voters and a celebrity panel of judges (including Victoria Stilwell, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Alison Eastwood, Adrienne Maloof, Lisa Vanderpump, Kristin Bauer van Straten and Lou Wegner), and on September 18th the Emerging Hero Dog winner was awarded the title of American Hero Dog during a presentation held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. To help his ongoing efforts to help others, Harley received a $1,500 donation for his favorite paws cause as the awards’ Emerging Dog Hero, and garnered an additional $5,000 for the charity of his choice by winning the American Hero Dog title.

Fans of Fidos and famous faces will get the chance to see Harley and his proud pet parents– as well as the seven other deserving dogs who were also award finalists– accept their accolades from such A-list admirers as Michelle Beadle, Derek Hough, Bindi Irwin, Cameron Mathison, Brandon McMillan Pauley Perrette, Charlotte Ross, Mark Steines, Alison Sweeney, Lea Thompson and many more when The Hero Dog Awards airs October 30th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The Hallmark Channel.

Photo Credit: American Humane Association/Facebook

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