Jen, Harley and Jazzy Christmas 2016aa.jpg   Jen with Jazzy on left, and Harley on Right

Harley’s Story

(In His Words April 4, 2017)


“I don’t remember how I was free, alone, roaming in the streets of New Brunswick, New Jersey, but I was always hungry, my beautiful coat was knotted and matted, and I hurt so much!  My feet were so sore, and I was very lonely.  Also, I remember, that I was afraid of men.”


“One day, I was caught and put in a cage in a truck.  I heard the words, “kill shelter,” and – while I did not know what it meant, it was never said with a loving smile, or comforting look – so I was very afraid.”  


“I also heard people say that my one pink eyelid was ‘weird,’ but it worked as well as the other one, so I didn’t understand why they didn’t like me.”


“Soon (I found out later that it was just before I was due to be ‘destroyed,') another car with a cage came for me, and took me to a ‘humane shelter,’ and, there, they gave me a very soothing bath – washing me several times – to get me clean enough to clip my thick wavy coat of hair.  Once that haircut was over, I was almost bald, but my remaining coat was downy, snowy white, with my ‘saddle’ beige!”


“That was a great feeling – to be clean, soft and handsome, and fed healthy food, regularly.  The day after that, I found out I must have been ‘broken’ because I heard the nice people talking about how I had to be ‘fixed’ before I was ‘adopted’ and – by the way – THAT did NOT feel good, at all, but I got a lot of attention, and people were kind to me.”  Then I didn’t know what ‘adopted’ meant, but it sounded cheerful!”


“The very next day, although I was sore where a male ought not to be, I was put in a big, clean room with cages with other pets, and I was in a top cage – almost eye level.  I sat quietly, watching everyone else.  They said I was a ‘good dog,’ because I didn’t bark a lot!   Suddenly, three women came in.  How lucky can a guy get?  One was a tall blonde, one was a petite brunette, and one was a medium-sized, dark blonde woman with very loving deep brown eyes, and a sweet voice.  She went over to speak to a woman at the big desk, while I watched her with MY brown eyes!”


“A man came over and opened my cage, and took me down and placed me on the floor.  The woman pet me and spoke loving words in a melodic and cheerful voice, and I wagged my tail which made her sound happy, too!  She asked the man if she could walk me on a leash and we went outside and – OH!  It was so nice.  The air, here, in the suburbs, was so fresh and clean, and I felt handsome, debonair, and healthy – so blessed to be alive in this awesome place.”


“The woman kept talking to me, and she sat on a curb and pet me, so I sat down, too, and she made me feel something I hadn’t felt before – loved!  I was doing my best dog smile (despite my underbite), and almost prancing.  She encouraged me to sit, and I did and she was happy about that, too, so I did it, again, with pride.  We went back inside, and the lady handed some small pieces of paper to the woman at the desk, filled out a lot of forms, reached for me, and held me in her arms…as we walked outside – to a car!”


“Yes, I was being ‘adopted’ – now I knew what that meant!  We got in a car that the petite woman drove (she later joked that it was the ‘getaway car’), and we started for a place in the countryside of New Jersey, and they told me I’d love it there.  We stopped at a pet store, and I admit that I showed off a little.  I don’t know how I remembered how to walk on a leash or the command to sit, but I also watched a man in the store toss a ball and I ran after it and brought it back to him.  I don’t remember anyone loving me, before, and I was loose a long time, although the woman told us that I was only 10 months old.  I guess I learned some stuff – maybe I lived in a ‘home’ before?  I must have really pleased my new woman-person, because her face was all lined with a big smile, and she said, again, “Good Boy!” in that voice that I grew to love, for many years.”


“Yes, many wonderful years went by – 14, I’m told - with children born to the children I first met.  They loved me, played ball, and took me for walks.  When the woman babysat them, I’d sleep on their beds and I trusted them.  I also loved our big yard, with a swimming pool and lots of squirrels – which I love to chase!  Life was so darned good, and I didn’t remember my old life.  This life was a gift that I cherished."


Sadly, when I was 13 (91 in people years), I had a stroke, and that made me forgetful, hard of hearing and I also developed cataracts.  I walked crookedly, slept with my head in a corner of any room, and I didn’t feel like playing ball anymore.  I didn’t always recognize my people, and they looked sad when I turned away from them. Then, I developed an awful, itchy skin condition that required baths with strong shampoo.  Everyone worried about me, and fussed over me, but I was getting weaker, and was on many medicines that helped me be more alert and less itchy.  Faithfully, the woman bathed me with medicinal shampoo, dried me with towels that she took out of a big white warming machine she called a ‘dryer,’ and that was heavenly.  The man brushed my coat until it shone, and that also felt good on my back.  They took turns walking me when we moved to a big house with a smaller yard.  Jazzy and I were the talk of the town with our coats and sweaters to keep us warm - and we were very stylish.”


[“An aside … when I was ‘new’ to the woman and her man, I would do a head-bump if she laid on the floor in front of me. That was my way of cuddling – to just put my forehead next to hers, and I’d rub back and forth, and lick her hand.  She seemed to really like that, so I felt loved and so did she.  The man was different.  He called me “Har-Man,” my very own nickname, and since he loved his Harley Davidson motorcycle, I felt cool that he thought that well of me.  He and I were simpatico about the females (dog and woman) of the house.  It was fun to trust a man, again, and I loved this man who was a good provider, too. What joy I knew!”]


“Recently, I didn’t want to head bump, or walk much, but the people would both occasionally lie on the floor - Jazzy, too, and gently nudge me.  I didn’t stop loving them; I was just so tired of being sick, and needed to sleep more each day.  I didn’t walk well, eat well, and – yesterday – I didn’t feel like head-bumping and staggered more than ever.  I just felt so, so tired.  (Jasmine was confused, as she always ran to me, with that yap that she yelled when strangers came to the door, or the ice maker in the refrigerator popped so loudly.  It was as if she was too small to do anything, but she was loud. So, she barked at  me to bark my deep serious voice to warn of danger).  I just couldn't care, some days. It was getting difficult to be social and strong.  They took me to the doctor several times, recently, and the doc tried to help me with different meds, but I just got more tired.  I didn't eat much for 2 days...”


“They took me to the doctor, today, because I could not stand or even open my eyes, so weak they had to carry me, and I barely woke up on the ride there – I could smell that it was the vet’s office, and I started to act afraid.  They spoke soothingly to me, and the woman and man took turns holding me in their arms and rocking me, until the doctor gave me a shot to relax me.  I fought it, a bit, stirring occasionally, fighting the medicine’s effect.  Then, in the man’s arms, I fell sound asleep, and (I am embarrassed to say), I snored, so they knew I was in deep rest."


“I don’t know what happened then, but I swear I could see that the woman couldn’t stop crying, and the man fought back tears, and I saw – somehow – that I was starting to feel better, stronger and less sad, myself.  I felt so much better, but how was it so?”


“I wanted to thank the man and woman for rescuing me 14 years ago, and say how I loved them, always, but I was so tired.  I heard someone say something about “a bridge,” and a “rainbow.”  I didn’t understand, but I started to feel healthy and strong, again.  I hoped the people would be there, but I soon saw that – while they were not over the bridge ahead of me – I could see them where I last loved them.”


“I did see a sweet little boy, one I’d never met, but he ran to me, as if he knew me, and wanted to play with me. His name was Andy!  Then I saw so many animals – so many dogs!  "Wow, Jazzy," I wanted to tell her. “This place is amazing!”  "I can see Vaquita, Casey Girl and a boy dog named Duffy!  They all look so healthy and happy.  I think I might find my real forever home, here.  How lucky can a dog get?  I lived a dream with loving, fun and warm people and another dog I really loved, and met so many friends – my kind and human – who welcomed me and taught me how to be a beloved pet.  I thought that was my forever home.”


“I looked up at the rainbow, which stretched as far as the eye can see – into heaven - and I thanked God for the beautiful life on earth, all the people who saved me and loved me more than I ever dreamed possible.  Then, I wound up here, where hearts and bodies are healed and whole, again.”  “I looked at the trees, visited one to see if that part still worked, and then started to run, for no reason other than it made me feel strong and young, again.  How did they know this would be?”


“I want to tell everyone ‘thank you’ for knowing when it was my time to come here to this heavenly place, for saving me, first, 14 years ago, then helping me as I grew older, sometimes healing me when they could, then knowing when it was time for a bigger power to step in.  I also want . . . “

“ . . . LOOK!  A squirrel!” 


“Sorry, I have to go . . . new life awaits!”


Love ya,




Our Harley – one of the dearest pets we ever loved - reached the Rainbow Bridge, soaring with new strength and life, at 3:10 PM, today, and we thank you all for your prayers and support.  He was with us a long time – during my graduation (I made him a graduation cap just like mine), from college when I was 54, my spine surgeries and Neal’s, a painful car accident, Neal’s heart attack, the joyful birth of grandchildren, the joy of the older grandchildren and their dogs, the addition of a ‘sister’ who adored him (Jasmine aka Jazzy), and a major move to our retirement home last May.  We thank God for the gift of a rescued dog who forgot his sad past and embraced our faith as his.  As he rested in our arms, I recited: 


“May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May He make his face to shine upon you,

and be gracious unto you.”  “May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”


We believe he has that now.💕  Jen and Neal Nelson, Mays Landing, New Jersey 



Jenyfra Nelson, Mays Landing, NJ, USA






Jasmine’s Story

(In Her Words November 20, 2017)



“Harley?  Is that YOU?  I can’t believe it – you look so good, and I’ve missed you for a year and a half!  What is this place?  Really?  It’s beautiful…this bridge is so many colors, and everyone looks so young and healthy!  What?  I can do anything I want?  I can lick mom and dad’s faces while they’re sleeping and then hog the covers?  I can sniff whatever I want? 

How have you been?  I cried so much when you left us.  I got so sad that I tore up the carpet by all the doors to the outside of our house!  I broke 2 nails and teeth, trying to find you, when you left….but I do see that you look really clean, healthy and handsome, again.


I’ve been really sick for more than a month, and it was one thing after another and mom and dad took such good care of me, but just the other day, after being treated for a horrible auto immune disease for a long time, I got an ear infection and THEN, I got a bad swelling in my eye, and it almost popped out.


What?  You can’t see it?  It’s my right eye, and they took me to the veterinarian, and she said it would probably pop and then drain - and it would hurt even more than it did this morning, when I was biting anyone who tried to help me with drops.  Then, it bled, later on, and we were all concerned about it…well, mostly the people; all I wanted to do was sleep.  The lady (mom) cried when the doctor said what was going to happen, after all they’d done, and that it was possibly a tumor behind the eye, after all.  I was sorry they were sad, but they cuddled me in this big blanket that has hearts all over it and that was good. 

After they all talked – over my head – I felt wetness on my head from the woman’s tears, and I wasn’t sure why she cried, but I was so tired, I didn’t even worry.  All I knew was that she – and the man (Dad), took turns loving me, patting me, and then the doctor came back and gave me a shot that made me really relaxed (I admit I even did a “fluffy” that really smelled bad, but I couldn’t help it, I was THAT relaxed).  I got so sleepy that my tongue lolled out of my mouth and the doctors left us alone.  Mom said,


“May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May He make his face to shine upon you,

and be gracious unto you.”  “May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”


She was crying hard, I think, but it IS a beautiful blessing.  I licked her hand, gently to comfort her.  She liked that.

After I was really sound asleep, with my tiny tongue out, that had licked their faces so many times, I started snoring, and the doctor came in with another ‘relaxation shot,’ and gave that to me.  I didn’t mind, but I was starting to dream.  THEN, the technician brought in another syringe, and gave me that, but I had even ONE MORE before I was really, really feeling quiet and still, and then . . . .


…. THEN I saw you!  This is amazing and I can’t wait to tell the people – Jen and Neal – how cool this is – want to come?  What?  They can’t?  I feel a little sad about that, but it’s so good – so natural – to be playing with all these pets and animals from all over, and maybe I can tell them how sweet I was, and how I visited nursing homes with mom and her troupe of therapy clowns, and how I cuddled with the ‘grandkids,’ – Taylor, Courtney, Jack and Mia – and how you and I had a best friend, Molly, who came here a few months ago.  WHAT?  You have seen her?  Let’s go and find her and visit Skipper John, Peppermint Patty, Rusty, Vaquita, Casey Girl, Buster and the others – I can’t WAIT to be here.


I think the people will miss us, but they must have known that this was the best place for us to come.  I feel great, look healthy and know that God lives around here somewhere – ‘cause it’s so beautiful and idyllic.  It was so kind and loving of Jen and Neal to send us to this camp…what’s the name?  “Oh, the Rainbow Bridge!”

Also, Harley, do you remember the bed you liked?  I got that when you left, so I had two beds, downstairs and two in the loft .  I hope you don’t mind that I still used your water bowl with the word, “King” on it - and then. . . . . “


“Hey, a squirrel!”



By Jen Nelson – with Neal Nelson, loving ‘people’ of Harley and Jasmine

Jenyfra Nelson 
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Hi Jen and Neal,
Wow! This is such a beautiful post!! I had tears in my eyes reading through Jazzy and Harley’s stories but they were also so uplifting!!
Thank you for rescuing Harley and giving these beautiful little dogs such a wonderful home and so much love!! Their stories brought back so many memories as I read through them. I smiled as I thought of Jazzy and Harley (and my Bailey) and all of their new friends at the Rainbow Bridge together; happy and healthy and yes, chasing squirrels! Lol!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture and their wonderful, amazing stories! I am still smiling!! ❤️
Hugs, MJ
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Hello, wow I am so happy I found your post I am crying after reading this. I posted recently about how I am about to put my dog Diesel down and leaving my other dog Zeus behind which I am worried about. It is nice to think of him going over the rainbow bridge and chasing squirrels. I am absolutely terrified to make the appintment for him and have had him over 13 years but he is suffering. I really enjoyed your post again and thank you for sharing it.
Diesel's Mom,
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