Imagine a frightened, famished, fearful dog.

Imagine a dog who never touched grass.

Imagine a dog without a name.

That was Harper.

But Harper’s story took a happy turn thanks to a grant from Friends of Flicka, which enabled a rescue group to free him from a commercial breeding operation last fall.

Before being rescued, Harper had been confined to a small kennel. As a result, he lacked coordination and muscle tone. He was also under-socialized, malnourished, and terrified. But a whole new world, a whole new life, was about to open up for him.

Harper went to a foster home where he exuberantly rolled in the yard – thrilled to touch and smell grass for the first time. Although he was scared, Harper was eager to learn new things. He watched the other dogs in the home and mimicked their behavior, quickly learning to eat from a dog dish and overcoming his fear of doorways, stairs, and television.

For the first time in his life, Harper was more than a commodity producer.

For the first time in his life, Harper had a name.

For the first time in his life, Harper was loved.

Harper’s foster mom was grateful for Friends of Flicka’s support. “Breeder dogs can have some difficult health challenges,” she said, “and they struggle with things that other dogs mastered as puppies. Having financial support from Friends of Flicka gives us the opportunity to help dogs like Harper learn about joy, happiness, and love.”


At first, Harper had a hard shell. He jealously guarded toys and acted like a tough guy with the other dogs in his foster home. But they were rescue dogs too, and they understood what Harper was going through. His rivals soon became his buddies.

Playing with his canine friends delighted Harper, and he loved running joyful loops around the yard. He balanced his energetic activities with long naps, which were crucial for healing his health and his spirit. Harper appeared restored and rejuvenated, but he seemed uncertain as well. Surely he wondered if his luck would run out and he’d have to go back to his old life, trapped in a cage.

Many rescued breeder dogs spend months in their foster homes. Rarely are families interested and able to take on the special needs of severely frightened and under-socialized dogs. But luckily, Harper quickly found a wonderful adoptive family. They were drawn to his spirit, his sweet disposition, and his eagerness to confront his fears and try new things.

 It was a perfect match.

Harper’s family nurtured him and now he is thriving. He is learning new skills, devouring meals, and soaking up affection. He enjoys playing with the family’s other dogs, including one who was rescued from a commercial breeder, just like Harper. The two of them are special friends. They start every day by doing a dance together outside – a shared moment that seems to have special meaning, a celebration of their new lives.

“Everything about him seems to say ‘I can’t believe my great luck,’” Harper’s adopter said. He radiates joy and it fills his family with happiness.

Funding from Friends of Flicka, a caring rescue group, the right foster home, the perfect forever family. It all came together to give Harper a new lease on life, and he is expressing his gratitude by living it with gusto. Lucky Harper hit the jackpot, and his family did too.