A Husky with an asymmetrical face finds his permanent family, and they traveled over 2,000 miles just to adopt him

It all began with a Facebook post by Joy Ollinger, a Humane Officer at the San Diego County Department of Animal Services in Carlsbad.

To give them the visibility they deserved, Ollinger shared photos of puppies that were available for adoption from their shelter, along with a caption highlighting their suitability as wonderful pets.

Among the puppies patiently waiting for a forever home was Harvey, a two-year-old husky with a facial deformity that gave him a charming and lopsided grin.

Harvey was called 'ugly' because of his crooked smile.

While many found this facial abnormality endearing and distinctive, others considered it “unattractive.”

Harvey was brought to the Carlsbad shelter in September 2022, appearing thin and unkempt. He was named after the DC Comics character Harvey Dent due to his asymmetrical smile. (In the comic, Harvey later becomes Two-Face, one of Batman’s adversaries.)

According to Ollinger, Harvey underwent examination by veterinarians, who concluded that the facial deformity was likely caused by a dog bite when he was a young puppy. The positive news is that it does not cause any discomfort or pain to Harvey.

The Lankston family from Washington who drove thousands of miles to meet and bring home Harvey

Unfortunately, Harvey’s facial abnormality appeared to be off-putting to potential adopters.

As per Ollinger, people would pass by Harvey without showing any interest in him. She even overheard comments from individuals describing him as “ugly” due to his facial deformity.

Ollinger further shared that Harvey was not requested for interaction or potential adoption during his entire stay at the shelter, which saddened them deeply as they knew how affectionate, intelligent, and gentle this puppy with a lopsided grin was.

It was love at first meeting for the Lankston family and Harvey

Harvey adores seeking attention and often rests by Ollinger’s feet in her office. Whenever she types on her computer, Harvey enjoys raising his front paw and looking at the keyboard. Undoubtedly, he is a clever and amusing dog!

Furthermore, he has a calm demeanor and gets along well with other dogs. He also has a fondness for treats. Despite his facial deformity, Harvey has an abundance of love to share.

This inspired Ollinger to create a Facebook post highlighting Harvey’s exceptional personality, endearing smile, and the love he has to offer, along with reasons why he deserves a chance at a forever home.

Thankfully, Ollinger’s Facebook post caught the attention of a family residing in Woodinville, Washington.

Harvey and River finally meet

It was love at first sight for Sherry Lankston, 41 years old. She promptly responded to the Facebook post, even though she was located over 1,000 miles away from the shelter.

According to Sherry, once she laid eyes on Harvey’s silly grin, she knew they had to meet him. She found Harvey so charming and adorable.

She jokingly told her husband they had already found their second dog. They had been searching for a companion for their first dog, River, but nothing seemed to click.

Although she wasn’t actively seeking to adopt a dog, when Sherry saw the Facebook post, she found it hard to resist Harvey’s sweet face and endearing smile.

She only saw the most adorable dog ever, not a dog with a facial deformity.

After further consideration, Sherry knew that Harvey was the perfect addition to their family. He was the one.

Sherry immediately contacted Ollinger about her desire to adopt Harvey. Within three days, she and her two kids, Harrison, 7, and Fionnlagh, 4, along with their dog, River, embarked on a road trip to Carlsbad.

Sherry also knew that Harvey could be adopted before she and her family arrived in San Diego. But it was a risk Sherry was willing to take. After all, there’s nothing sad about Harvey finding a forever home.

A road trip to San Diego would be perfect, anyway. It had been a while since the Lankston family visited their friends and favorite places there.

So, Sherry drove 2,600 miles over six days just to meet Harvey in person and bring him to his forever home.

Joy Ollinger with the Lankston family at the Carlsbad shelter

Everything turned out wonderfully for Harvey and the Lankston family. During their first meeting, Harvey immediately bonded with Sherry’s kids, and he got along famously with River as well.

The next day, Sherry’s husband, Robert, flew to Carlsbad to meet Harvey. Harvey approached him with ease, leaning against his legs as if they were old friends.

On Saturday morning, Harvey began the long journey back home with his new family.

For Ollinger, saying goodbye to Harvey was bittersweet. However, she and Sherry had become close friends, and Sherry had been sending her text messages, photos, and videos of Harvey almost every day.

Since bringing Harvey home, Sherry has learned more about his rescue story. Someone who saw Harvey’s story on Facebook reached out to her and shared how they were riding their ATVs in the desert when they found Harvey under a bush with two female huskies.

Harvey had saved the lives of the two female huskies by guiding them to follow the ATV back to the car so they could be rescued. The dogs had followed them for miles without any leashes.

The group who helped Harvey and the two female dogs brought them back to their camp, where they fed them strawberries and chicken hamburger patties.

Meet Harvey the Husky with the unique lopsided grin

Since Harvey has been with his new family, he has thrived and settled in happily with the kids and other animals, including a snail and four cats.

Ollinger hopes that Harvey’s incredible story will inspire adopters to look beyond any imperfections in animals. You can also read about Suzie’s adoption story or this shelter dog’s heartwarming thank you. All animals deserve a loving family and a safe home where they can be cherished.

The San Diego Department of Animal Services shelter typically houses around 110 dogs at any given time, often reaching full capacity.

You can help save these animals’ lives by providing them with a forever home. Consider adopting a dog like Harvey today. The shelter is open to the public for visits, and you can walk in or make an appointment.

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