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Dog Rescued After Being Abused And Abandoned in The RedLands

Dog rescued after being abused and abandoned in the RedLands.

Natalie Olivieri had rescued enough dogs to know that Harper had been horribly abused – and was traumatized.

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Olivieri, vice president of Furever Bully Love Rescue, an Orlando-based rescue group, found Harper in a large field in Redland, Florida (commonly referred to as “The Redlands”) – an area known for having a large stray dog population.

“The place is pretty much a dog dump,” Olivieri told The Dodo. “People just leave them there.”

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Another organization called Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project goes to The Redlands every day to feed the homeless dogs there. It uses about 350 pounds of kibble to feed about 100 dogs, Jessie Pena, vice president of the group, told The Dodo.

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However, there are more dogs than the nonprofit can help, Pena said.

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“There are thousands of dogs out there,” Pena said. “We only cover a small area. Redland is huge.”

Last February, Furever Bully Love Rescue partnered with the Redland Rock Pit to raise money for dog food, but also to rescue some dogs in the area. Olivieri, along with three other Furever Bully Love Rescue volunteers, traveled to Redlands to meet with the other group’s volunteers.

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For Olivieri, it was an experience she will never forget.

“We went down this dirt road, it was quite isolated,” Olivieri says. “You never would have found it on your own.”

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As Redland Rock Pit volunteers began handing out food, dogs began to appear. That’s when the rescuers spotted Harper, a year-old hound. The volunteers had seen her on previous visits to the Redlands – they thought she had lived in the field for four or five months.

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“Harper came out with about five other dogs,” Olivieri says. “As soon as Harper approached us and we met, she completely collapsed to the ground in fear.”

In addition to being clearly terrified of people, Olivieri noticed that Harper had scars on her head and back.

“She was definitely abused and neglected,” Olivieri said. “There was no way we were going to leave her there.”

Rescuers were able to slip a leash around Harper’s neck, but when they tried to take her back to the truck, Harper refused to move.

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“We had to retrieve Harper,” Olivieri said. “We didn’t even put her in a cage at that point, so we put a blanket on the floor.”

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When Olivieri and the other Furever Bully Love Rescue volunteers returned to Orlando, they took Harper (and two other Redlands dogs) to the vet for a checkup, where Harper was treated for anemia, worms and a tooth infection.

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But Harper’s fear issues would take much longer to heal.

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“For about three days, she never got up,” Olivieri said.

And when someone picked Harper up, she clung to them like her life depended on it.

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“I’ve never had a dog cling to me so tight,” Jennifer Adorno, president of Furever Bully Love Rescue, told The Dodo.

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“It could be a comfort thing, or it could be that she’s holding on so she doesn’t fall,” Olivieri said. “It’s hard to tell with abused dogs like that.”

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Because the Furever Bully Love shelter doesn’t have a physical shelter, Harper went straight into foster care with a woman named Cheryl Kessler. Harper has only been with Kessler for a few weeks, but Kessler already sees a huge change in her.

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“She’s leaving her cage and running around outside,” Kessler told The Dodo. “She’s doing donuts in the backyard and just acting like a normal, typical dog. I love seeing her come out of her shell and see her personality come out.”

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“Every day she’s doing better and better,” Olivieri said. “She’s becoming more of a dog – she’s learning that she’s going to have food every day, and she’s going to have love every day.”

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Harper will be available for adoption in about five months. If you are interested in adopting her, or any of the other dogs at Furever Bully Love Rescue, contact them. The Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project also has many homeless dogs in need of homes on their website.

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