Out in the desert about 1.5 hours northeast of Los Angeles, a bystander came across a retriever dog that had been abandoned by her owner. In search of food, the poor animal would often cross a highway, where a local auto tire service station would feed her—thankfully, there are still some good people out there.
And luckily, the good folks at Mike’s Tire & Muffler knew of someone who they could call who could give the sorry dog a second chance at a home. Fittingly, that someone’s name was Hope for Paws.
A dog rescue team founded by savior of stray dogs Eldad Hagar, Hope for Paws has become famous for scouring the streets of LA (and beyond) and lifting hungry and homeless dogs from the lowliest of places, restoring their health and their hearts, and going all out to find them new, loving homes.
So, when Mike’s called Hagar about this homeless retriever, he and longtime dog rescue partner Loreta Frankonyte took a drive up the dusty highway to save her. They pulled up to a compound on the side of the road with a large U.S. flag flying above a steel-roof car park where a bunch of cars were being worked on inside.
The compound gate was locked, and no one was home, by the looks of it. But then, they noticed the retriever was there, lounging in the shade inside the tire repair shop compound.
“Oh, there she is!” Hagar told Loreta.
And next came the tricky part: Before they could save her, they would have to catch her, and although man’s best friend can be incredibly loyal to their owners, dogs are often wary of strangers. Yet, the rescuers knew from experience that food was key to unlocking a homeless dog’s heart—or at least key in catching them.
After accidentally triggering the shop alarm, they knew that they would have to lure the retriever out of the compound through a gap in the gate, but that wouldn’t be the hard part. With a few bits of food thrown her way, they had her sniffing about outside the gate.
Then Hagar got an idea to use one of their various dog-catching contraptions that they carry along in their SUV, in this case a large, wire-mesh dog trap with a door trigger panel inside—which they set out in front of the gate with food scattered inside and around it.
They then stood back about 30 yards to ease her worries about the whole setup and let her inspect the area, nipping at bits of food here and there.
After a tentative sniff inside the trap, eventually hunger got the best of her, and she stepped deep enough into the trap to trigger the door—and bingo, they had her!
After shuffling about and realizing that she wasn’t going anywhere, the retriever became docile, looking out at them as Loreta and Hagar came over. But they quickly let her know she was in good hands with their comforting reassurances and by petting her through the cage. They decided to name her Kira.
After the long drive back to LA and giving Kira a much-needed bath, they contacted Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue, an organization dedicated to finding new homes for the breed. And thankfully, they very quickly were able to find someone to adopt her into their home.
Hagar often videotapes his rescue episodes, as he did Kira’s. The most beautiful thing about watching rescued dogs is the change of heart they go through from complete sadness after being abandoned to utter joy at finding a new, loving owner and total, undying gratitude toward the saviors who gave them hope for a new life.
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