It’s not unusual for an abandoned dog to be scared when rescuers arrive on the scene to save it from an uncertain fate. However, when one scared little pooch refused to move from her makeshift home underneath a truck, it was for good reason.
When Los Angeles-based rescue organization Hope for Paws learned about a stray dog that had been wandering around a parking lot for months, they drove to the location with the intention of saving its life. Meanwhile, locals informed the team that the little gray mutt would also visit a nearby park where kind strangers often gave it food.
Hope for Paws’ founder, Eldad Hagar, and his wife Audrey set up the non-profit rescue organization in 2008 in order to save animals from neglect and abuse. Its mission statement? “To educate people on the importance of companion animals … [and] to stop the cycle of animal neglect and abuse.”
As part of its work, Hope for Paws rescues animals that are in dire need of help – whether they’re on the street or in a shelter. Furthermore, the organization raises awareness of its efforts by recording its rescue operations and sharing them online.
Now when Hagar and colleague Lisa Arturo arrived at the parking lot, the stray was hesitant about approaching them. Instead, she crawled beneath a large truck to hide. Hagar was thus left with no choice but to lie on the ground so that he was eye level with her.
Next, deciding that he’d need to make friends with her to win her over, Hagar crawled under the truck, too. And while the dog – named Petunia by Hope for Paws – was nervous, Hagar remained confident that he’d be able to help her.
In a bid to win her trust, Hagar stretched out his arm to give Petunia a tickle under the chin. And although she was still clearly edgy, she responded well and seemed to enjoy the moment of human interaction.
“Petunia wagged her tail nervously, but I knew we would be cool,” Hagar revealed in an interview with The Dodo. “At one moment this closeness made her nervous, and she got up to leave. That’s the moment when I grabbed her leg.”
At that point, Hagar shouted to Arturo to fetch a leash. He later admitted, though, that grabbing the dog wasn’t the best idea. “She could have bitten me in order to get away, but that’s a risk I was willing to take for her safety,” he revealed. “Petunia kicked sand to my face as she was struggling, so I just had to pull her from under the car.”
Still, although shaken from the sudden movement, Petunia eventually seemed to settle on Hagar’s lap. “Having this stress for five seconds is worth the lifetime of happiness that is coming ahead of them,” he explained.
Next, they sat there for a moment to give Petunia the time to relax. And that’s when they heard the cries. Following the squeaking sound, then, Hagar and Arturo discovered a tiny puppy nestled on a pile of dead leaves nearby. Petunia was a mom.
The rescue team then reunited mother and baby – whom they named Petals – and Petunia immediately appeared more at ease. The discovery of the pup did shake Hagar up a bit, however. Yes, he was concerned that there could be more of Petunia’s puppies needing to be rescued.
Because the pup they’d found was only around three days old, they knew any siblings would also need their mother to survive. So Hagar put Petunia’s maternal instincts to the test: leading her around the parking lot, he played out sounds of puppies crying on YouTube. However, Petunia only ever led him back to Petals.
Now that Hagar was confident there was just one puppy, he could get on with helping Petunia and Petals find happy lives. First, then, he took them both to the pet hospital, where they were given a thorough check-up.
And, thankfully, apart from a slight ear infection in Petunia, both dogs were deemed to be healthy. Petunia was also treated to a quick bath to transform her dirty, matted fur into a sleek and shiny coat.
Heartwarmingly, too, mother and baby have blossomed since their days living in the parking lot. “Both Petunia and Petals are doing great,” Hagar told The Dodo. “Little Petals hasn’t opened her eyes yet, but it should happen in the next few days. She is gaining weight and is quite happy to have her mom.”
The dogs are now both being cared for by Hagar until they’re ready to be adopted. And the pair have gained plenty of fans on social media thanks to Hope for Paws’ updates on their progress.
One adorable video shows Petunia and Petals sharing some precious bonding time. Now safe from the streets, Petunia is relaxed while on her side as a hungry little Petals suckles milk.
Petals is becoming quite the superstar on social media, too, having already captured the attention of a number of dog lovers. Commenting on a video of Petals opening her eyes for the very first time, one fan wrote, “Oh my – I know I said it before, but Petals is precious.”
Meanwhile, far away from her parking lot life, Petunia is also getting used to the finer things. Plus, she has settled in nicely with Hagar’s other doggies. And although they’re not up for adoption yet, there’s no doubt that Petunia and Petals won’t need to wait long to find their forever home.