Berthoud, Colorado, Goes to the Dogs: Puppy Mill Awareness Day

I have supported this cause from its start in 2014. It’s Puppy Mills Awareness Day (formerly Hops & Harley). One hundred percent of the proceeds from this event go to Harley Dream.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (2)

This cause is close to my heart for several reasons but mainly, I love dogs. I mean, I really, really do. I think they are the best thing that has happened to the human race.

Therefore, the story of Harley is something that touched me from the beginning. If you are unaware of the story, I would encourage you to go to  Harley’s Dream online and read Harley’s Story. Harley, now gone, was the 2015 American Humane Hero Dog, rightly so. He started this event, now called Puppy Mill Awareness Day. That’s quite a legacy for one little dog.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Courtesy Photo

The goal of this day under the big trees at Fickel Park in Berthoud, Colorado, is to educate the public about the mass breeding industry that produces puppies at a startling rate (and with an astonishing rate of medical issues). There are things that we can do to stop this industry, and the first and foremost is to STOP shopping at pet stores.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (4)

It is truly amazing how many intelligent people don’t know about the underbelly of the puppy breeding industry. Puppy Mill Awareness Day provides The Puppy Mill Experience & Theater tent, and I’ll be honest, I had to walk out before seeing it all because it made me so emotional. The breeding industry isn’t a pretty place and this displays that truth including the awful bits.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Courtesy Photo2

However, it isn’t all about sadness at Puppy Mill Awareness Day. While the breeding industry must be stopped because quite frankly it’s awful, and Harley’s Dream advocates for that, there are wonderful things about this event too.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Courtesy Photo4

There are activities for everyone from the kids to the family dog. Admission is free, and alongside educational booths, there will be pet-focused vendors like a food truck for dogs which was a real hit last year, both with humans and their furry friends.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (6)
Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (6)

Harley’s Dream also rescues senior dogs by helping them find forever homes. So, adoption opportunities will abound. Patrons can also browse a Doggie Flea Market, purchase refreshments from food trucks, and play a round of cornhole on HeidiTown boards.

Traveling with Dogs: The Importance of Dog Parks

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (5)

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (1)

This year, cans of a specially crafted beer from City Star Brewing (pending liquor license approval) will be available to purchase and live music will be provided by Tim Ostdiek & Jenny Balagna, Mountain Duo and The Wendy Woo Band.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2023 HeidiTown (8)

Bring the kids, bring grandma, and bring the dog to Fickel Park in Berthoud, Colorado. Support, learn and have fun at Puppy Mill Awareness Day.

Saturday, September 9th
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fickel Park, 620 Mountain Ave. Berthoud, Colorado 80513



This post is in-kind trade for this event. If you’d like to feature your festival on, please email

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