Pity the image of an abandoned homeless dog nestled in the corner because it’s ugly
There were nearly 2,000 dogs on the property in Harbin, China, and Harriet stood out for the saddest reason.
She froze in a corner like a statue while the other dogs were running around or playing. His fur was dirty and he looked very worried.
The dogs there all came from similar places; they were either found stray or rescued from trucks on their way to slaughterhouses. The woman who owns the campus rescues the dogs and keeps them safe, and regularly allows Harbin Slaughterhouse Survivors Animal Rescue (Harbin SHS), a rescue group, to recruit the dogs that need the most help.
Rescuers quickly realized that the dog was Harriet.
“We were visiting the property in May, and in the far back corner, I see this tiny husky looking totally scared,” Rachel Hinman, a US volunteer for Harbin SHS, told The Dodo. “I tried to reach out and it just sat there. We had no idea where he came from, but he wasn’t very well off.”
When Hinman and the other rescuers took Harriet, they were able to see precisely the extent of the neglect she had suffered. Its fur was thick and matted with excrement, obscuring a frighteningly thin and bony frame. It was so small that they thought it might be a miniature husky.
Finally realizing she was safe, Harriet threw herself into the arms of the team and barely peeked as she made her way to the vet clinic. It’s a journey very familiar to the women who founded the rescue and worked for it full-time: Hayley Hayes-Fitzgerald, Aimee Clarke, and Emily Parker, all expats living in Harbin and working as teachers by day.
“We definitely thought he was a young puppy because of his size,” said Hinman. “But the vet checked her teeth and estimated she was probably 8 months old. She must have been so malnourished that it affected her growth.
Luckily, Harriet had no major medical issues other than her malnutrition and matted fur. The team carefully shaved his tangled fur, bathed him, and placed him in the recovery center, where he would stay for about two months to recover and regain strength.
“He was very quiet and docile,” Hinman said. “It took us a long time to completely scrape off his fur, but he just sat there very patiently and never barked or growled.
As the weeks passed, Harriet continued to get healthier. With special attention and love, she was not so afraid anymore and she was finally ready for the journey of her life.
Rosee Vallee, a Canadian woman, saw Harriet’s picture online and realized she needed to adopt her. At the end of July, Harriet flew with a volunteer to San Francisco, where she met her new mother for the first time.
“The moment I saw him I knew he was for me; Vallee looked very upset to The Dodo and all I wanted to do was make her happy right away. “Since I’ve had her, we’ve been on road trips, we’ve flown together, she’s been to Lake Louise in Canada… She’s my princess. He loves everyone he meets.”
At her home in Canada, Harriet, now renamed Bailey by her family, has three sisters, one of whom is another rescue puppy named Anezka from Harbin SHS.
In just a few months, Harriet has grown from a matted stray dog to a loving family member – all thanks to the kindest of people.
“I see him now and it just warms my heart,” said Hinman. “I think of all the people who came together to help him – they are the true heroes of this story. Every dog deserves a second chance and Harriet is a perfect example of that.”