Reports of an injured dog in the area had proven accurate. And while it didn’t take long to find where the poor pooch had made her home, it wouldn’t be easy getting her out. Then, when the rescue team looked in the hole, things became more complicated…
In September 2014 California-based animal rescue group Hope For Paws received a call about a wounded female dog living on the streets. As a result, it set out to see if it could help, with Eldad Hagar and Lisa Chiarelli taking a camera and going out to look for the stray.
According to eyewitnesses, though, the dog lived a nocturnal life; she was nowhere to be seen during the day and only came out for food at night. And, of all the places she could hide, she had made a den somewhere in the undergrowth near a busy Los Angeles road.
A rescue video that was later uploaded to YouTube recorded her discovery. “Someone had told us they thought she lived in these bushes,” the captioned commentary stated. The information proved true, too, and so it didn’t take long for the team to find the stray.
Indeed, within ten minutes of searching the shrub they had her den located, and the rescue team could see the traumatized pit bull terrier peering back at them with frightened eyes. But that wasn’t all they found dug into the little hole in the hedge.
Indeed, Hagar and Chiarelli could see something else moving in the makeshift hovel – and they knew pretty much right away what it was. It turned out, in fact, that although the team had set out quickly to find the dog that they would later name Iris, they didn’t get to her in time. Specifically, the team had wanted to get to the pooch before she gave birth.
But even though the birthday party had started without them, the rescue team knew what to do. “I see babies,” Chiarelli told Hagar. And although it was difficult to see inside the tiny hole, Chiarelli could still count the pups there.
“There’re three puppies,” she announced – and this could potentially have made a difficult situation tougher. “Many times when you watch my videos, it may seem like I just go to the rescue location and find the dog, but this is actually not true,” Hagar added in a post about Iris on Hope For Paws’ website.
“The search for the dogs is a challenging part of it because they usually hide,” he added. “Finding Iris was difficult, but it could have been dangerous. We didn’t know how she would react when we entered her den.” But there are other dangers involved, too.
“There is always a risk when going to these rough neighborhoods in the middle of the night,” Hagar concluded. Furthermore, Iris might have felt like she or her pups were in danger. And she definitely wasn’t likely to abandon her babies, either.
But poor Iris had something wrong with one of her eyes, and the team needed to look at her. Besides, a hole in the hedge was no place for a wounded mommy and her newborn puppies. As a result, the team tried tempting mom out with some tasty treats.
But although she cautiously took the food, Iris continued to refuse to leave her den. And while the team managed to get a control pole into the small hovel and over her neck as a precaution, they were nonetheless unable to drag her out. Worse still, the rescuers couldn’t get in, either.
As a consequence, the Paws team decided that they needed to open up the hole and so began trimming the entrance to widen it. Yet, even with Chiarelli talking to Iris to soothe her, the dog still stood protectively over her pups the entire time. The poor thing was clearly terrified.
When the entrance was wide enough, then, the rescuers managed to get Iris out with the control pole. Thankfully, the new mommy didn’t make any aggressive movements; she did, however, have a bit of a panic attack. Eventually, though, she calmed down and even let her rescuers pet her.
Of course, part of her caution was likely because of the wound to her eye. “One of her eyes was badly injured, likely from a prior blunt force trauma,” the video’s captions revealed. Unfortunately, though, the story gets worse: as Hope For Paws would later discover, the dog had been shot with a BB gun, and the eye would have to be removed.
But now, thankfully, Iris and her pups – Seth, Meg and Nathaniel – were in good hands. And after their rescue they were all taken in by The Dog Rescuers center in Pasadena, where they recovered nicely. While waiting to be adopted, moreover, they all stayed together at a foster home in the Californian city.
However, there was one little problem. “She truly is the best mama I have ever had,” a Facebook post from The Dog Rescuers read. “I can’t get much work done because I love watching her play with her babies.”
What’s more, the internet couldn’t get enough of Iris and her pups, either. Hope For Paws’ rescue video became a viral mega-hit, garnering over 11 million views on YouTube, as of October 2016. And, according to comments there, it even brought many viewers to tears.
Still, what makes this story even sweeter is that it has a happy ending for all the dogs: although they couldn’t be homed together, Iris and her puppies have all found loving furrever homes. Hope For Paws even got a chance to see them again!
On March 9, 2016, meanwhile, The Dog Rescuers uploaded a follow-up video about Iris to YouTube. This one showed the very special reunion of Iris and her puppies along with her rescuers from Hope For Paws. And her beautiful story is proof of how compassion can change the lives of suffering animals and give them the happiness they truly deserve.