It began to look like a worst-case scenario – the dog was wounded and now he was terrified. Then he began to run, even as his rescuers approached. And he was about to put himself in even more danger. That’s because the poor pooch’s chosen escape route led right through a busy intersection.
The dog’s rescuers came from Hope For Paws, a non-profit animal rescue group. Based in Los Angeles, Paws is staffed by dedicated animal lovers including its co-founder, Eldad Hagar. Hagar was on-hand when the organization received a worried phone call from a member of the public.
A good Samaritan had information for Paws: she had witnessed a dog roaming the streets. The eyewitness was apparently a nurse, and she could tell that the dog needed help. Not only did the pooch appear to be a stray, but he had also been injured.
It seemed that the dog had been hit by a car. However, the stray was too scared to let anyone near him. This poor creature was going to need some concerted help if anything was to be done.
Fortunately, then, the nurse called in Paws for assistance, and they wasted no time in sending out a rescue team. Hagar – an active field rescuer – headed out personally, taking his colleague Lisa Arturo with him. And it wasn’t long before they glimpsed the stray.
“We spotted him right away, and he spotted us,” Hagar told The Dodo in August 2017. The dog was in a state of panic and fled the instant he saw the rescue team. It had been some two days since his accident, so time was of the essence.
The dog wasn’t going to come quietly, though. Luckily, Hagar had a secret weapon. “I quickly prepared my snappy snare,” he said. “[Then I] tried to get him to walk into a yard where I was hoping to enclose him.” The stray, however, had other ideas.
“He started running towards the intersection,” Hagar recalled. “I started running too, in hopes of blocking him.” It was a race to see who could get there first. Thankfully, the animal rescuer won. Even so, the stray was determined to escape.
“[He] stopped, looked at me [and] tried to figure out his next move,” Hagar explained. “And then – weirdly enough – instead of running down the street in the other direction, he tried to zoom by me.” It was then that Hagar caught him.
Hagar managed to loop the snare around the body of the dog as he sped by. Unfortunately, it sent the stray into even more of a panic. As a result, he broke into high-pitched yipping and began wildly thrashing about in an attempt to escape. And the tactic turned out to be partially successful.
The little dog managed to wriggle his body out of the snare, but it remained caught on his leg. The poor thing was clearly getting even more distressed, but before he could clear the snare completely, Arturo stepped in. She had the famous Hope For Paws “lucky leash” with her.
Although her first attempt to catch the dog failed, her second shot was a success. After the leash went over his head, the stray calmed down a little. It was as if he remembered a time when a leash meant love.
After a little rest, the stray started moving again and succeeded in taking Arturo for a walk. He was less erratic now, though, and didn’t fight the leash. In fact, it didn’t seem like it was needed. The dog had realized something.
“[He] started wagging his tail once he realized we were friendly,” Hagar explained in Paws’ video of the rescue. They named the dog Rio, and after giving him some much-needed affection, the team headed back to their car – and Rio wanted the driver’s seat all to himself.
With their happy new passenger aboard, the rescue team headed to the clinic to check on Rio’s condition. “Rio had an old stinky collar on him but no name tag and no microchip,” Hagar wrote on Facebook in November 2016. “The same old story every day.”
It turned out that Rio had suffered serious injuries in the car collision. X-rays showed that he had suffered head trauma and identified damage to one of his back legs. Rio needed lots of medical attention and would have a long road to recovery ahead of him.
In fact, it took Rio several operations and a total of five months of physiotherapy to fully recover. During that time, though, there was some good news: the little dog had been adopted. “Our friends from ART N’ Paws found him the most amazing home,” Rio’s rescue video reported.
Rio found his forever home with the family of animal lover Liraz Abraham. Not only that, but he made a full recovery from his injuries. Paws say that he now spends his time running and playing with his new family all day long.
Alongside his new humans, Rio also found himself with an extended family of canine siblings, as well. We’ll never know what the little dog’s past life was like before his time on the streets and his accident, but looking at him now, we can be sure of one thing.
Thanks to Abraham and Hope For Paws, Rio’s future is full of the love and affection that he always deserved. As for Paws, it continues to take strays off the streets and put them into loving homes every day.