For California-based animal rescuers Lisa Arturo and JoAnn Wiltz, every day on the job is unpredictable. No two rescues are the same, and at times, their jobs are downright dangerous.
For dogs trying to survive on the streets of Los Angeles, life isn’t easy. The fear of human contact runs deep, which makes a rescue operation particularly dicey.
It was a hot day in July when Arturo and Wiltz responded to a call about a stray dog who kept jumping a fence into a woman’s yard. The dog, who the rescuers named Julep, would visit with the dogs living in the yard.
But whenever anyone attempted to corral Julep in any way, she’d jump the fence and run away, terrified.
It was time for Julep to find a yard she could call home.
But in the middle of the rescue attempt, a group of teenagers made an already frightened Julep much more traumatized.
Arturo and Wiltz were furious as teenagers started throwing rocks at Julep, who was running back and forth, obviously terrified and confused.
Because of the teens’ abusive behavior, not only was Julep in more danger, but the rescue workers were, too, as Julep’s fear intensified.
The Hope for Paws rescuers responded to the teens with much better composure than the average animal-lover likely would have.
They took an assertive tone with the teens, but instead of hurling rocks back in their faces, they took the opportunity to educate.
They are hopeful that Julep’s rescue video will serve as a way to educate others on the importance of respecting animals, and the dangerous path that often lies ahead when abusive behaviors in children are not corrected.
“Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there,” Eldad Hagar wrote on the Hope for Paws Facebook page.
“Many of them move on to their fellow humans.”
Hagar reported that Julep has found a forever home, and pleaded with educators to help teach children compassion.
“If there are teachers out there, please consider showing our rescue videos to your students,” Hagar said.
“Compassion can be taught, and we just need help with reaching those kids.”
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