Stephanie Stricklen

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The Harley Chronicles

by Stephanie Stricklen

Posted on December 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:42 PM

So, I twittered about this yesterday.. but 140 characters isn't enough to explain the drama that my poor dog went through before she found her way into our lives.


That's Harley, AKA Sally, AKA Montana, AKA Boo.... she's a shar pei mix we adopted from the Oregon Humane Society after Milo passed away from his long battle with cancer.

As someone who has always adopted her pets, I can tell you it's not often you get much in the way of background. So, imagine my surprise when the husband told me we got a call while I was at work from the woman who rescued Harley. Who. Rescued. Her.

The poor husband had to tell me each and every nugget of the conversation like three, maybe four times.. just in case he forgot some detail. Of course this totally annoying behavoir of mine is reinforced because often upon the third telling I do uncover some new nugget.

It still wasn't enough.. I had to call her.

This woman told me she found Harley through a shar pei rescue agency in Canada, of all places. They had gotten wind of two dogs running around in Prosser, WA. Apparently there were so many complaints about these dogs that the owner either agreed to give them up or animal control took them. Either way, they ended up in the dog pokey.

That's not a great place to be for dogs who have little or no training (stubborn, aloof shar pei's to boot. If you know the breed you know what I mean). And they almost didn't make it out of there. But this local gal who heard about these dogs from that agency in Canada begged another dog rescuer in Sunnyside, WA to please, please, please just go get those dogs and hold them for 3 days until she could make the drive over.

And that's how Harley and her mom ended up in Portland. Harley's mom had too many behavoiral issues to find that 'forever home'. She was dog aggressive, people aggressive, kid aggressive, everything aggressive.

And Harley spent a fair bit of time in the shelter herself (6 weeks) before we adopted her. I suspect it's because she looks mean and ignores people. As for improving her PR image.. I've resorted to a pastel pink collar to make her seem more approachable. It works. She used to have a tough-looking black one, and no one would touch her.

The truth is-- she is a perfect balace. Protects the home, like shar pei's do.. but is full of loving, sweet, goofy, gentleness with us. And she does positively great at the dog park.

Milo was part shar pei, too. And he ignored people as well. And he could stare at you with an intensity that made people assume he might bite. I think I saw that in her.. and knowing what a great dog Milo was, I figured she was worth taking a chance on.

I've got to send the folks at OHS pictures and updates. I got the woman's email address, too. Just to show them that sometimes all the hassle is worth it.

Meanwhile, in the time it took me to write this, Harley has added approximately 327 new noseprints to the back door while she waits for me to get home so she can stalk squirrels.