By Janet McAfee

We will never know the suffering these two precious brother dogs endured in their early life. They were 4 months old and living in squalor, devoid of sufficient food, vet care, or human love. Their lives were saved by The Desert Dog Project, a charity operated by Pat Bonham. One of Pat’s neighbors contacted her about the plight of a family of dogs living in one of her rental properties. The neighbor suspected the tenants were heavily involved in drug abuse and not providing adequate care for their animals. When Pat arrived at the ramshackle home in Adelanto, she was shocked to see the father dog, a Border terrier mix, dead outside in the street. He had been fatally injured by a passing car.

The tragic condition of the dogs unfolded as Pat entered the yard to see the mother dog, a badly matted Shih Tzu, outside the home. Pat recalls, “When the tenant opened the door, the horrible stench was overwhelming. The woman would not let me inside, quickly closing the door, reappearing soon after and literally throwing the dogs out the door. They were so tiny, very thin, filthy, and had worms, but they just wanted to be held and cuddled. I told the woman about the dead pup in the street, and she replied she already knew, but made no effort to retrieve his little body. She did not care. I only wish I’d arrived sooner in time to save the dad. The beautiful mother dog was quickly adopted by a family who drove down from San Francisco after seeing her on my website. Harley and Connor were so emaciated; they could not get enough to eat for the first few weeks in foster care.”

There is something special about sibling dogs together, a bonded pair whose magical blending sometimes makes it difficult to tell them apart. Their joy in being together seems to exceed that of other companion dogs. Pat adds, “These two dogs move together, eat together, play together, and sleep together. Dogs are pack animals, and benefit from being socialized with their own kind. If you have a pair of dogs, they keep each other company and entertain each other while you are away. Harley and Connor, bonded brothers, will amaze you with how they watch out for each other.”

Operating as a small independent rescue, Pat rescues many animals injured and abandoned in the high desert area near Victorville, Cajon summit in San Bernardino County. She often takes in the challenging cases that other groups might not, abandoned dogs with blockages from eating rocks in the desert, acid burned animals, and dogs injured by automobiles. When the Bluecut fire raged through the area, The Desert Dog Project lost several foster homes as residents evacuated the area near Phelan and Oak Hills. Pat contacted Loving All Animals to see if they could take Harley and Connor into their rescue program, and they agreed to help.

Marie Marcinko likes to foster young dogs and puppies for Loving All Animals, and welcomed the two brothers into her home. Under her loving care, the dogs thrived, enjoying happy playtime, and learning to walk on a leash. Marie reports, “Harley and Connor are wonderful, affectionate dogs, and very bonded to each other. They sleep close together, and Connor sleeps with his head resting on Harley every night. These dogs are so affectionate they will do just about anything to get a hug or a pet. Every evening, they get a hug and kiss goodnight. I enjoy having them so much!”

These bonded brothers are now neutered, microchipped and vaccinated in preparation for their forever home. Now 1 year old, we believe they are full grown at 7 and 8 pounds. To meet Harley and Connor, contact Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000. Together through bad times and good times, these two pups hope for a home where they will be together forever. Double the love, double the fun, and adopt Connor and Harley who promise to keep you entertained with their lively, loving antics.

(Photograph by Janet Litton)