When rescuers heard about a dog that had been abandoned, they worried that multiple lives hung in the balance. That’s because all evidence suggested that the dog had just given birth. When a team arrived on the scene, however, they couldn’t locate a single puppy.
Hope For Paws is an animal rescue organization based in Los Angeles, California. Audrey and Eldad Hagar founded the charity to save animals that suffer in the local area. They then provide the creatures with medical care until they are ready for a loving forever home.
As part of their work, the team at Hope For Paws carry out harrowing animal rescues. Quite often, they record these situations so that their followers can better understand their work. And their videos have a wide following online. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for some to reach over one million views on YouTube.
In December 2017 the organization took to the video-sharing site with one of its most heartbreaking stories ever. Often, the Hope For Paws team rely on member of the public to tip them off about creatures in need. And on this occasion, someone had got in touch to alert rescuers to an abandoned dog living in a park.
With no time to lose, a crew rushed to the scene to help the animal. On this occasion, the task was particularly urgent since their informant reported that the dog was lactating. As a result, it was likely that she’d recently welcomed a litter of puppies into the world.
When rescuers arrived on the scene, however, there were no puppies around. They did find the adult dog, though, who looked traumatized by her ordeal. But despite her fear, the hungry animal approached Hope For Paws staff, possibly in the hope of being fed.
Thankfully, the rescuers had come prepared. After luring the pooch close with food, one team member captured her using a special animal control pole. Although the device clearly terrified the dog, a rescuer was able to regain her trust with an affectionate stroke.
From that moment, the dog became known as Esme. Now that she was safe, the Hope For Paws team could go in search of her babies. And to help them locate the puppies in the shortest possible time frame, they adopted an ingenious method.
Rescuers transferred Esme onto a leash before playing a video featuring the sound of yelping puppies to her. They hoped that this would encourage the dog to take them to her babies. And, for a moment at least, it seemed like this approach might work.
Esme set off with some conviction, as if she knew exactly where she was heading. After wandering around the park for some time, however, rescuers grew worried that she had lost her puppies. They believed that someone may have already taken the puppies, or that predators could have picked them off.
The team also had another, more disturbing, theory to explain the missing puppies. From their past experiences, they believed that someone could have used Esme for breeding purposes before callously dumping her on the street. Still, the simple truth was that no one could know for sure.
After searching the park for two long hours, the rescuers gave up hope of ever finding the puppies. Sadly, they would never know what became of Esme’s babies. But despite their disappointment, they turned their attention to giving the bereft mom all the love and care that she needed.
They subsequently transported Esme back to their facility, where they began work on her rehabilitation. And thanks to Hope For Paws’ expert care, the dog was soon able to put her dark days behind her. Just two months after her rescue, in fact, she looked like a completely different animal.
YouTube footage from Hope For Paws showed the dog running around on a lawn, seemingly without a care in the world. Then, when she was tired, Esme laid down beside her rescuer for a well-deserved tummy rub. It appeared that, one day, the animal was going to be the perfect pet for someone.
From there, things just got better and better for little Esme. With the help of A.R.T. & Paws Animal Rescue, a shelter based in Murrieta, California, the dog found a loving forever home. Hopefully she’ll live happily ever after there.
Given the feel-good nature of Esme’s rescue video, it didn’t take long for the footage to go viral on YouTube. Within a matter of months, more than 230,000 people had tuned in to watch the dog’s story. Of those, 13,000 had taken the time to “like” the footage.
Furthermore, the video attracted hundreds of comments from well-wishers. “I’m so happy that Esme was found and is now safe and happy, but her pups, how sad,” wrote one. “I hope [the] pups have been found and are also happy and safe!”
Meanwhile, another viewer added, “You guys are the best people ever. So many animals around the world need help, and you guys are helping so much, while other people around the world don’t even care about animals! You guys are real heroes! Keep up the good work.”
Some viewers didn’t find the footage uplifting at all, however. “It’s so sad, beyond sad, that a human will be a disgrace to this degree and do this to a dog who relies on us to take care of them,” wrote one. “They’re not wild animals! And now my stomach is turned upside down because of the despair of people mistreating animals.”
While there may be a lot to improve upon when it comes to animal welfare, there is still hope. “There are too many sick and scared abandoned pets out there who need a place to call home,” reads one caption in the video. But, it continued, “You can make a difference. Please spay and neuter your pets.”