The beginning of the video is just too sad for words. An abandoned pit bull cowers in a barren dirt lot behind a tall chain-link fence. The frightened dog seems to look at the presence of nearby humans only as a threat. What could rescuers do to help her?
Several years ago, Los Angeles-based organization Hope for Paws was alerted about an abandoned dog roaming on a piece of government property in the Southern California heat. The dog was clearly lost and distressed in the blazing sun with nowhere to go after her original owners had cruelly dumped her there.
Rescuers were also stymied since they couldn’t enter the government property without special permission. They needed to get the dog quickly before she could be injured by a traffic accident or be seriously affected by heat exhaustion and starvation.
They took a video of the rescue, which was so moving it has gained over 13 million views on YouTube. The video shows their ingenious idea to get her to safety using something no one, whether dog or human, could ever resist: a cheeseburger. They started by ripping it up into pieces and tossing them outside of the fence to get over to where they could reach her.
The poor pit bull was clearly starving and wolfed the tasty burger bits down. Finally, they put down a cage with a trap door and managed to persuade her to get inside with more food. They drove away so as not to scare her off then finally came back once they were sure she was safely inside. Then it was back to the shelter, where they could see if she was okay and give her food and water.
When they got back to the shelter, it became clear that Bunny was in good health but desperately needed better treatment from humans than she had become used to receiving. As one commenter on YouTube suggested: “she was probably dumped out there from someone who wanted her for dog fighting.” Whether or not this was the case, it was clear that Bunny’s association with people was mainly fear.
Thankfully, the good folks at Hope for Paws were able to communicate their love for her, surrounding her with cuddles and hugs. When they tried to give her water, she turned it down in favor of climbing in one of their laps for some much-needed comfort. “I started to tear up when she wanted love more then the water,” a commenter on YouTube posted, a feeling that clearly resonated with viewers as it received more than 1,000 likes.
As Bunny begins to feel safe and loved again, you can see her tail wagging a mile a minute. As one viewer commented, “and people say pitbull[s] are aggressive and not for families.” The rescuers even introduced Bunny to one of their shelter kittens, which she eagerly and affectionately licked.
Thankfully, all the attention helped Bunny find her forever home in Oregon through a sister organization called SevaDog. Bunny’s new owners responded to hundreds of requests of internet users who had been following her story and wanted to see how she was doing.
She now has her own Facebook page, with lots of adorable videos of her playing with her human family, her doggie brother Max, and even celebrating her first birthday with them including a special peanut-butter-banana treat! As her mom and dad posted, “it has been a wonderful year watching this beauty grow and flourish within our family. We couldn’t imagine a day without her. Here is to many more years with our baby bear.”
Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot | Hope For Paws – Official Rescue Channel