From Hurt to Hope: A Canine’s Tale of Overcoming Trauma and Finding a New Life

According to Natalie Olivieri, a well-experienced dog rescuer, Harper was a victim of severe abuse and extremely frightened. Olivieri stumbled upon Harper in Redland, Florida (known as “The Redlands”), an area frequently used to abandon dogs with no concern for their safety. As the vice president of Furever Bully Love Rescue, a rescue organization based in Orlando, Olivieri discovered Harper in this region.

The Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project is a non-profit that aims to feed the stray dogs of The Redlands on a daily basis. As per their Vice President, Jessie Pena, they use around 350 pounds of kibble to provide sustenance to roughly 100 dogs. Despite their efforts, there are still many more dogs that require aid than the group can currently cater to.

According to Pena, our locality boasts a significant population of dogs, but due to the vast size of Redland Island, we cannot cater to all of them. In February 2020, Furever Bully Love Rescue collaborated with Redland Rock Pit to gather donations for dog food and rescue some of the dogs in the vicinity. Olivieri, accompanied by three other volunteers from Furever Bully Love Rescue, went to The Redlands to liaise with the team from the other charitable organization.

Olivieri had an unforgettable encounter recently and he decided to share it with his audience. He narrated how the Redland Rock Pit volunteers managed to set up tables and serve food at a remote location that would have been challenging to locate without guidance. While the volunteers were distributing food, a few dogs suddenly showed up. That’s when they came across Harper, a hound mix who had apparently been living in the field for about five months. The volunteers had spotted her on their previous visits to The Redlands.

As per Olivieri’s account, Harper’s arrival at their rescue center was accompanied by five other dogs, which caused her to become terrified and fall to the ground. The scars on Harper’s head and back suggested that she had been subjected to mistreatment and neglect, which made her fearful of humans. Olivieri decided to rescue Harper, even though she refused to move when they tried to take her back to the truck. Harper and two other dogs from The Redlands received veterinary treatment for anemia, worms, and a tooth infection upon their arrival in Orlando. Harper’s fear issues, however, were going to take a long time to heal. Olivieri recalled how Harper remained motionless for three days and clung to anyone who picked her up, as if her life depended on it.

Jennifer Adorno, the head of Furever Bully Love Rescue, was surprised when a dog she rescued held onto her tightly. However, with traumatized dogs, it is difficult to determine if this behavior is due to comfort or fear of falling. One of their rescues, Harper, has been placed in a foster home with Cheryl Kessler, who has already noticed significant positive changes in Harper’s behavior. Kessler shared that Harper runs around outside and behaves like any other happy dog, which is a joy to see. After about five months, Harper will be available for adoption on the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project Website, along with other homeless dogs. If you are interested in giving Harper or another rescue dog a forever home, please get in touch with Furever Bully Love Rescue.

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