After six months on the run, abandoned dog finds a home

In May, a family moved away leaving behind not only an empty house, but also the family dog. From that point he was on his own, despite several attempts from concerned neighbors to catch him. Finally on Tuesday, Nov. 20, Patti Colwell of Forever Friends Foster Care and Rescue managed to achieve what others found impossible.

“I think the only reason I could catch him when nobody else could was that he was tired,” Colwell said. “He was cold and he was tired.”

She immediately took the dog dubbed “Fluffy” by the neighborhood to the veterinarian. 

“He was covered in fleas and his hair was matted with stickers,” Colwell said. “I had on a long-sleeved sweatshirt and had him wrapped in a blanket and the stickers were still coming through the blanket and the sweatshirt. So you can only imagine what it felt like to him.”

In fact it was so bad the vet immediately got out his clippers to shave his body before beginning an examination. He was then given a flea pill and stayed overnight at the office. The next day they bathed him and cleaned up the hair remaining on his face.

“He had a clean bill of health and was heart worm negative, which I can’t believe,” Colwell said. 

One factor that contributed positively to his health was the food provided by people in the neighborhood. One neighbor in particular liked to spoil the stray.

“She told me that he knew when she would get home,” Colwell said. “He’d run up to her mailbox and sit there and wait. Then she’d go into the house where she had chicken breasts cooked up for him. So he would have that for dinner every night.”

After taking the dog to the groomer to even out the trim he’d received at the vet’s office, “Fluffy” was no longer so fluffy, and Colwell’s husband suggested they name him Harley.

After almost two weeks in his new home, Harley is beginning to adjust to his new life. He’s already attached to Colwell and sleeps next to her every night. However he’s still unsure about Colwell’s other dogs and her husband.

“Every time he sees him he’ll hide under the bed, but he’s starting to come out of his shell,” Colwell said. “He’s becoming a dog again. He was rolling around on the bed the other night playing, and that’s the first time he’s ever done that.” 

According to the veterinarian, Harley is around three to four years old, so he still has quite a bit of life left to live. And that life will be with Colwell and her family.

“He’s happy, healthy and good to go,” Colwell said. “He’s going to be a great addition to our family.”

For more information about Harley and other dogs Colwell’s Forever Friends Foster Care and Rescue is helping visit