She was locked in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by alien sights, sounds and – perhaps most importantly to a dog – smells. It’s no wonder that the little pooch was so scared. But when she tried to escape the human who had backed her into a corner, he did the most astonishing thing.
Yet that wasn’t how the story began for the little Maltese Poodle called Edie. Although many details about her life remain unclear, in early 2010 she ended up in a Californian shelter. The Los Angeles County Animal Shelter in Lancaster, to be exact.
Understandably, the petrified poodle’s terror had got the best of her, and she was acting out. Unfortunately, though, she was staying at a shelter where euthanasia was permitted – and she was scheduled for termination.
“Kill shelter” is a term used for any shelter that puts down more than 10 percent of its animal residents. Edie had been classified as too aggressive for rehoming, and that made her a candidate for being put to sleep.
However, Bronwyne Mirkovich had noticed the poodle at the shelter and couldn’t bear to see her handed a death sentence. So she called in a favor from a friend. That friend was Eldad Hagar from Hope For Paws.
Hagar founded the Los Angeles-based Hope For Paws organization with his wife, Audrey. The non-profit charity had made it a goal to save every animal it could from the most desperate situations. Given the circumstances, then, Edie was definitely an emergency case.
“The shelter workers had labeled her ‘aggressive,’” Hagar wrote on the Hope For Paws website in May 2012. He added, “[They] wouldn’t allow the public to adopt her. The label also scares away rescues so this means the dog is surely going to die.”
“The shelters are so full,” Hagar continued. “There is no time for workers or officers to take a long while coaxing a dog into acting normal.” Although Edie was only at the shelter for 15 days, it was seemingly long enough to seal her fate.
Hope For Paws’ YouTube channel recounted the conversation between Hagar and Mirkovich via video captions. “[Bronwyne] told me that Edie [was] really scared and asked if I could meet her at the vet so I [could] evaluate her,” the video explained. The poodle was just a day away from euthanasia.
How could Hagar say no? He headed out to see the dog that had been deemed too dangerous to live so he could assess her. But when he got there, the seasoned animal rescuer didn’t see a danger to public safety.
Hagar saw a dog that was so terrified that she had cut herself off from affection. Indeed, Edie was frightened to the extent that Hagar’s initial attempt with the “Lucky Leash” sent her cowering into the corner. Her fear was palpable.
Too afraid to move, Edie crouched in the corner of the room with growing horror. Even though Hagar approached cautiously, he seemingly could do nothing to put the dog at ease. In fact, the second attempt at the Lucky Leash sent the poodle spiraling into panic.
“Edie was so scared that she defecated,” the video explained. “So I quickly pulled her out of the corner and onto my lap right away.” And once she got there, it was like magic. Edie’s yelping and crying stopped almost instantly at human touch.
She had seemingly realized that she had nothing to fear anymore. “A lot of people have asked why… I [didn’t] take as much time as needed to slowly gain her trust,” Hagar wrote on the Hope For Paws site. “You must understand, this was a dog doomed to death that day.”
“I needed to make contact with her so she could understand that the touch of a human can be comforting,” he continued. “She needed to know that not all people are abusive.” It was a desperate situation, but his actions undoubtedly saved Edie’s life.
While Edie was being fussed, her rescuers also got the chance to inspect her properly. It seemed that her long, matted fur needed to be groomed, and a new hairstyle was called for to match her new outlook on life.
Edie was a lot lighter – and a lot happier – without her mass of fur. And the amazing change in her behavior, brought on by a simple act of love, now qualified her as safe for rehoming. Moreover, she didn’t have long to wait for her happy ending.
Just days later, Edie was offered a home in San Marino, and Paws took her to meet her new owner. Although she was reluctant at first, the little poodle still couldn’t stop her tail wagging. It seemed like Edie had found her new mommy.
And so Edie settled into her beautiful fur-ever home. Months afterward, Hope For Paws paid her another visit. Her fur had grown back a little, but she was hardly recognizable as the same dog from the shelter. She was happy, full of energy and – unlike when Hagar first met her – perfectly groomed.
Edie was rescued a day before her scheduled euthanasia, but many dogs aren’t so lucky. “We [don’t] want people [to] be afraid of these dogs at the shelter,” Hagar wrote on Facebook. “Usually, all they need is a hug.”