Natalie Olivieri had rescued enough dogs to know Harper had been horribly abused – and that she was traumatized, writes heavenofanimals
Harper was discovered in a large area in Redland, Florida (also known as “The Redlands”), by Olivieri, vice president of Furever Bully Love Rescue, an Orlando-based rescue organization. “It’s basically a dog dumping ground,” Olivieri said to The Dodo. “They’re just left there,” says the narrator.
Every day, a group called the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project comes to The Redlands to feed the homeless dogs. According to Jessie Pena, the group’s vice president, it goes through roughly 350 pounds of kibble to feed about 100 dogs. Pena explained that there are more dogs than it can help.
Pena stated, “There are thousands of dogs out there.” “We simply have a small area to cover.” “Redland is enormous.” Furever Bully Love Rescue and Redland Rock Pit partnered up in February to collect money for dog food while also rescuing a few canines in the region. Olivieri and three other Furever Bully Love Rescue volunteers flew to The Redlands to meet volunteers from the other organization.
It was an unforgettable experience for Olivieri. “We pulled into this gravel road, and it was very isolated,” Olivieri explained. “On your own, you’d never locate it.” When Redland Rock Pit volunteers began putting out food, dogs began to appear. Harper, a 1-year-old hound mix, was discovered at that time by rescuers. She’d been seen by the volunteers on prior trips to The Redlands, and they estimated she’d been living in the field for around four or five months.
“About five more dogs came out with Harper,” Olivieri added. “She simply fully dropped to the ground in panic as soon as Harper reached us and we met.” Harper had scars on her head and back, in addition to being visibly scared of others. Olivieri stated, “She was certainly abused and abandoned.” “There was no way we could abandon her there.”
Rescuers managed to slip a lead around Harper’s neck, but when they tried to take her back to the truck, Harper refused to move.
“We had to get Harper,” Olivieri explained. “At this time, we didn’t even put her in a box, so we threw a blanket on the floor.” Harper (and two other dogs from The Redlands) were taken to the vet for a checkup when Olivieri and the other Furever Bully Love Rescue workers returned to Orlando. Harper was treated for anemia, worms, and a tooth infection.
But Harper’s fear issues would take a lot longer to heal.
“She didn’t stand up for nearly three days,” Olivieri said. Harper clung to anyone who lifted her up as if her life depended on it. Jennifer Adorno, president of Furever Bully Love Rescue, told The Dodo, “I had never had a dog hang onto me so close.”
“It may be a comfort factor, or she could be holding on to avoid falling,” Olivieri speculated. “It’s difficult to say with such tortured dogs.”
Harper was placed in foster care with Cheryl Kessler since Furever Bully Love Rescue does not have a physical shelter. Harper has only been with Kessler for a few weeks, but he has already noticed a significant difference in her. Kessler told The Dodo, “She leaves her box and runs around outside.” “She’s doing donuts in the backyard and generally acting like an ordinary dog.” I enjoy watching her break out of her shell and reveal her true self.”
“Every day she does better and better,” Olivieri said. “She’s becoming more of a dog – she’s learning that she’s going to get food every day, and that she’s going to get love every day.”
In roughly five months, Harper will be available for adoption. Get in touch with Furever Bully Love Rescue if you’d like to adopt her or one of their other canines. On the website of the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project, there are many homeless dogs looking for homes.