Harley’s Dream co-founder honored as one of 12 Women of Vision
By Shelley Widhalm
Berthoud resident Rudi Taylor’s work to stop puppy-mill breeding landed her one of 12 spots as a Women of Vision.
Taylor and the other Northern Colorado women were selected from 66 nominees and honored July 24 at the 10th annual Women of Vision Gala at the Fort Collins Hilton. The honorees came from Berthoud, Loveland, Fort Collins, Windsor and Greeley and were honored for their visionary approach to their lives and careers.
“We really want to throw a party for these women to show our appreciation for all they have done for others,” said Ann Clarke, founder of the Women of Vision Gala and Colorado Women of Influence, which sponsors the gala and is a women’s professional development organization focused on education and support through master-mind events, workshops and networking. “They’re amazing women, and each of them has an inspiring story.”
Taylor also was selected for the Woman of Inspiration Award, which “was created because we all are inspired by real women who end up doing amazing things,” Clarke said. Of the 12 Women of Vision honorees, three are selected for special awards to be singled out for making a difference at a higher level, the Woman of Inspiration, Woman of Courage, and International Woman of Vision awards.
In 2016 Taylor co-founded Harley’s Dream with her husband Dan to raise awareness about the large-scale commercial dog-breeding industry, also known as puppy mills, after she adopted Harley. Harley is a breeding puppy-mill Chihuahua who lost one eye during a power-washing accident while he was still in his cage.
Taylor helped start the nonprofit and based it in Berthoud following the passing of Harley in March 2016 but has worked on the issue for eight years. During that time she personally rescued 760 breeding dogs from puppy mills and raised more than $1 million to rescue and provide care for thousands more.
“The Women of Vision Award is a great honor, and I’m humbled to share it with 11 other amazing women,” Taylor said. “To me it means the work of Harley’s Dream is being recognized and is reaching an even broader audience. It’s an affirmation that I am helping make a difference for the hundreds of thousands of breeding dogs currently living in cages in puppy mills. I’m very proud that this cause that I am so passionate about matters to so many people.”
Taylor, who owns two businesses in Berthoud, Happy Mango Beads and Wishful Living, manages and oversees every aspect of Harley’s Dream. She plans and attends events and fundraisers, works with and trains volunteers, and handles the nonprofit’s other administrative tasks. She reaches more than 300 million people through social media, billboards, peaceful pet-store protests, educational events and awareness campaigns. Through one of the programs within Harleys Dream, Harley’s House of Hope, she also helps rescue, treat and re-home senior dogs.
“Most of these dogs were scheduled to be euthanized until we rescued them,” Taylor said.
Taylor exemplifies the Women of Valor award, Clarke stated.
“She saw a problem of dogs being mistreated in puppy mills even though that was a huge industry,” Clarke said. “It was an accepted thing for pet stores to carry puppies mass produced in puppy mills. She saw what was happening and said she was going to change that. This is a small business owner. She’s not being paid by anyone else and is taking money out of her own pocket. She had to go out and try to convince other people this is problem.”
Clarke explained the other honorees also wanted to make changes to better their communities.
“There were lot of women doing great work and their work was overlooked, undervalued or not appreciated,” Clarke said. “It was my mission to throw them a party and recognize what they’re doing, and we want them in our spotlight.”
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