Rescuing & rehabilitating abused animals and educating the public about their value in our society
By Jon Nelson
Photo credit: Christian Shenouda
Above image: Lisa Arturo with HfP rescue, Venus and her foster family
If you’re a pet lover on Facebook, chances are you’ve come across a video made by Hope for Paws. That’s because they’re exceptional at documenting the rescue and recovery of the pets they help, and their videos are so touching (and sometimes so completely heart-wrenching) that they’re widely shared by animal enthusiasts of all stripes.
Get Leashed recently got to know Lisa Arturo, the animal advocate who organizes Hope for Paws’ rescues alongside CEO, Eldad Hagar. The team believes that humans and animals should live harmonious and fulfilling lives together, so their goal is to educate people on the importance of companion animals in our society. Their tireless work is beautifully documented in their online rescue stories, and we can’t give them enough kudos for their dedication to their mission.
Lisa Arturo & Eldad Hagar with Venus (see Venus’s rescue below)
Rescues performed by Hope for Paws and the videos that go along with them are beyond touching. Above, a German Shepherd that had been abandoned in the desert is too afraid of people to let them get close enough to rescue her. Unbelievably, the dirty, terrified canine is the same beautiful, friendly dog named Venus in the pictures with her foster family featured in this article.
One of their most popular videos, a heart-wrenching rescue of a severely abused puppy named Jordan, has over 5 million views on YouTube. Taking us through the entire journey, Eldad remarks that someone “literally cut off his foot.” We soon learn that the puppy is suffering from mange and has been lying in a riverbed for two days. If you’re like us, you’ll start tearing up at the first sight of this poor puppy. Eldad names him Jordan on the way to the hospital and thankfully his pain ends as he starts to receive the medical attention he needs. The tears, however, don’t. Watch the video to see how Hope for Paws’ intervention saved Jordan’s life, leading to a heart-warming recovery.
While Jordan was in too much pain to fear Eldad and attempt running away, many of the videos showcase the difficulty of rescuing abused and homeless animals and the great amount of effort Eldad and Lisa go through during rescues. For instance, in the video below you’ll see Veyron, a Pitbull who had been living dangerously close to a freeway, prompting a call to Hope for Paws by a good samaritan.
It’s incredibly moving to watch Veyron escape time and again and the patience Eldad and his team exhibit in their multiple attempts to make him safe. Eventually, the dog has nowhere to run and submits. In just a short time, you can literally see him transform into a more trusting dog, one who so obviously yearned for human compassion but simply, and likely for good reason, lacked the trust to accept it.
Lisa Arturo with HfP rescue, Veyron and a foster sibling
Despite its large area of operation (LA is kind of a big town), the Hope for Paws team is very small, with a staff of just five. Rescues need to be kept to skeleton crews in order to keep from stressing out the dogs, bettering the chances of success.
Because LA is so big and is surrounded by desert, it presents a unique challenge for rescuers. Many dogs are simply abandoned outside the city limits, leaving them at great risk of becoming dehydrated and suffering other problems due to exposure. This means rescues need to happen quickly. Hope for Paws partners with trusted rescue organizations to ensure dogs get the care they need. While Hope for Paws stays closely connected to the dogs they rescue, the other organizations will take care of the second leg of the operation, looking after and rehabilitating the dogs, finding them fosters and eventually safe homes. Ensuring a dog is completely rehabilitated is important to Hope for Paws, which is why it’s so key for them to work with organizations they trust — it lets them get back out on the streets and on to another rescue.
Venus with her foster siblings
The passion for animals and dedication to their welfare exhibited by the Hope for Paws team is incredibly inspiring, and we can’t help but feel grateful that organizations like this are out there, doing the often unnoticed and thankless work of keeping our favorite furry friends alive.