Early this year, we posted a rescue video of Nala, a scared stray Pit Bull living in a ditch, from the wonderful Eldad Hagar.
We thought it was worth to share in hopes that it will inspire more people to be a hero for any animal in need. It could be as simple as sharing on Facebook, or like Sara in this video, who noticed a stray in need and decided to do something.
The comments started to become a question of whether hugging a scared stray dog was the right approach. Eldad is a very experienced and well-respected stray dog rescuer. He’s done many rescues like this and usually spends an extended amount of time to get the dogs to warm up to him. But to clear things up, Eldad joined the conversation:
Hello, everybody. I admit: I never read a book about dog training; everything I do is done by instinct. Is it a good idea to hug a dog someone never met? Well, I guess it’s not for everyone. I am 100% confident in what I do, and so far, after rescuing thousands of dogs, I managed to keep all 10 fingers AND my nose.
I actually posted another video a while ago… totally raw, no editing (except for music added). It may be boring to some, but I think it shows how fast these dogs can turn around.
Another video I filmed that required a more aggressive approach on my side ended up with a hug right away. Take a look at him — he wanted a hug:
Of course one of my most famous videos is a video that is all about the hug:
I heard so many times people tell me “don’t look the dogs in the eyes as it might be threatening to the dogs,” but it is rarely true. Books written by trainers are one thing, and dealing with hundreds of strays is a different thing.
Most people shouldn’t attempt the crazier stuff I do because the results can be bad. I obviously DON’T want people to attempt stuff like this if they don’t know EXACTLY what they’re doing and the risks as this CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS (it is a little crazy, I was bitten TWICE before mastering this technique, but it worked):
(But I never let the dog go…even though I was bleeding pretty badly).
I hear many people refer to me as “the dog whisperer,” but it’s really NOT what I do most of the time. The Dog Whisperer (Cesar) is all about being the alpha dog, the pack leader, the dominant, but in my case, most of the time I have to be their equal…I have to be their friend…I have to look them in the eye and tell them they can trust me. Here is the video showing how it’s done with two dogs:
I definitely DON’T want people who are not experienced to do some of the things I do because they can find themselves seriously injured (or dead). I also wouldn’t want people to go to some of the places where I go… some neighborhoods can be really rough just like in this video:
Last thing about hugging: Many times, it actually gives me protection because it limits the dog’s ability to turn their head quickly towards me and give me a bite.
I stand behind everything I said. Oh, and if you think I’m crazy, check out what Lucy is doing to Ace:
Please don’t take it the wrong way. I have no problem with criticism… I was only trying to explain my point of view on the subject. I avoid reading training books because I don’t want ideas planted in my head that might affect my behavior. So far, whatever I do works, and that’s all that matters.
If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you so much for sharing my videos and helping me raise awareness. I had so many people write to me in the past few weeks that these videos made them contact local rescue groups and shelters, and this is EXACTLY why I post these videos. Happy 2012!!!
Thank you, Eldad, for saving these animals, for raising awareness and, more importantly, for doing what you believe is right and staying positive amidst criticism! That’s what everyone in “I’m Not a Monster” community is encouraged to do. We are here to educate and empower individuals to do the right thing for the animals in need. Thank you again for being a great example of that!
Let’s make 2012 a year of heroes!
About Eldad Hagar:
Eldad Hagar has been rescuing animals across the country for the past decade. With his wife, Audrey, they created Hope for Paws, a 501(c)3 non-profit animal rescue organization based in Los Angeles, CA, to rescue dogs and all other animals who are suffering on the streets and in the shelters. With a huge network of rescuers from all over the world on Facebook, their goal is to educate people on the importance of companion animals in our society to stop the cycle of animal neglect and abuse.