Taking Flight

A Story About a Dog Who Loved to Play Fetch

Harley Anne had lost her owner, but did not lose sight of some of the best times they had together.
When this lab mix came to Caring Hands, our team had no idea we would be sending her off to California just a couple months later. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Harley had to say goodbye to her owner in March of 2020. During the 8 months she was with her human, Harley spent time playing fetch him with daily. She would always bring the ball back, no matter how many times it was thrown.

Harley didn’t stop fetching the ball when she came to Caring Hands. In fact, when staff would have to get busy with other things, she was be insistent that they continue to play with her, often dropping a foamy, slobbery ball in their lap and barking away in anticipation. We would take her outside to play, and she would fly through the air to catch the ball, with amazing coordination and gracefulness. For some reason, she wasn’t being looked at by too many potential adopters. In hopes that someone else would see her drive as valuable, our Marketing Coordinator posted about her in a Facebook group about sport & working dogs. It was by chance that she was able to describe her in a way that she caught the attention of a woman named Katie who worked with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in California. Katie contacted us immediately and let us know she might have a job for Harley.
The next couple of weeks, Katie & our staff communicated about what was needed to see if Harley would qualify for their search & rescue program. After nearly two dozen attempts at taking videos with specific tasks for Harley to accomplish, and many conversations, the team at NDSDF approved Harley and began working on getting a pilot matched up to pick her up. With COVID-19 delaying travel, we weren’t too sure how long Harley would have to stay with us, but we were all committed to making sure she got her chance at doing something amazing. Soon enough, we got the call that Harley would need to be transported to the local airport and would be able to travel all the way to her destination with one pilot, Sean.

Harley has since arrived in California and will begin her formal testing. If she passes, she will be assigned to a handler and begin training to be a search & rescue dog. If for some reason Harley does not pass her tests, NDSDF will keep her as a part of their Lifetime Care program, while networking her with other working dog organizations and adopters. Part of our protocol for transferring animals from Caring Hands to other organizations is that we make sure that where they are headed is just as dedicated at finding homes as we are. NDSDF will do just that. We are so thrilled to see Harley Anne be chosen for something so amazing, and we can’t wait to see what her outcome will be. We would like to thank Katie, Sylvia, and Sean at NDSDF for all of their hard work to get Harley to their facility, our staff for providing the information they needed, and the most important person – her owner, who gave her the skills she needed and thrives on every day.

Keep looking out for updates on Harley!

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