One of his daring rescues that went viral happened in March 2017. Eldad and his associate Lisa ended up rescuing a total of nine small puppies from a cave! The lengths that Eldad and his team went through were jaw dropping and will have your heart racing, while also bringing a tear to your eye. Watching the rescue will take you on an emotional roller coaster, but the heartwarming feeling is so worth it. Keep reading to see how the dramatic rescue unfolded!
Leaving the funeral
When Eldad Hagar and Lisa Arturo lost their friend Lisa M Ashe they were devastated. She had not only been their friend, but a fellow dog rescuer as well. Usually after a funeral you want to sit and mourn with their other loved ones, or find quiet time to yourself. But while at her funeral they received a message that there were puppies in need of rescuing. Knowing how much their friend loved dogs, and how much rescuing them meant to her, they knew they had to go save them in honor of their departed friend. So, they left the funeral and headed out to the location where they met up with two more rescuers, Patricia Hoyos and Dawn Clay. The team was ready for action.
Puppies in a cave
They learned that the puppies were in a cave, and their mother was nowhere to be found. She was a stray dog that rescuers had been trying to catch for over five years, but their efforts were unsuccessful. So, they tried to keep an eye on her and were shocked to see her give birth to puppies, and then see those puppies find their way to this cave. What made it a particularly dangerous location was its proximity to the train tracks. Rescuers were worried that the puppies could accidentally wander over to the tracks and get hurt, or worse. Which is why getting these puppies out of the cave and into a safe place was an urgent task
Cheeseburger for everyone
As the rescuers approached the cave they could see a few puppies hiding in the dark, but it was difficult to tell how many. The group decided to use the cheeseburger they had on hand to try and lure the puppies out of the cave. Using food to gain the trust of homeless dogs is a tactic used by many rescuers, especially since they are typically very hungry. The strategy seemed to be working and six little puppies made their way to the food.
One puppy in particular moved to the front of the pack to get some nibbles of cheeseburger in. Taking advantage of his placement, Lisa gently made an attempt to grab the puppy and pick him up. Luckily she was successful and the puppy willing went into her arms. Eldad instructed her to hold the puppy for a little bit so that the other puppies could see there was nothing to be scared of. Afterwards, puppy number one was passed to another rescuer for safekeeping and the team focused on getting the rest.
Unfortunately, as puppy number one was being taken away something scared the rest of them. One puppy gave out a yelp and before you could blink all of the puppies started retreating back into the cave. Eldad and Lisa attempted to coax them back out with the cheeseburger, and they came close with little black puppy who came closer. But when they reached out to grab him he cried and ran back to the cave. The damage was done.
Going in the cave
Realizing that these puppies were no longer going to come out on their own, Eldad decided that he had to go in after them. He looked in the cave and saw it would be too narrow for him to fit, so he attempted to dig a larger opening for him to go in through. He finally wiggled his way in and took a good look around. To his dismay the puppies had taken a sharp turn and gone even deeper into the cave. What was already a tough rescue had now become even more difficult.
Using a gentle snare
Because the puppies had gone so deep into the cave, Eldad realized he would never be able to reach them with his own hands this way. So, he pulled out his trusty gentle snare. Gentle snares are tools used by those who work with animals in order to avoid getting bitten, and to try to catch a feral animal without hurting them as well. They usually feature a long handle and a rope type design at the end.
Very carefully Eldad got his snare around a puppy and had Lisa help grab on to the handle as well. As fast as they could they quickly began to pull the puppy up and out of the cave. Scared, the puppy cried and tried to pull back the other way, but Eldad was determined not to let that happen. The puppy came out, and after a bit of comfort he began to realize he could trust his rescuers and stopped crying.
Once the second puppy was settled, Eldad dove back in for number three. Wiggling his snare around he eventually looped another puppy and began to pull it out. This puppy put up quite a fight, crying loudly and trying as hard as possible to wriggle out of the snare. Thankfully, Eldad held on tight and continued pulling the puppy out. For all his fighting, he eventually made it out of the cave and was soon calmed by the rescuers.
After catching another puppy, Eldad began to pull it up. Like its siblings, the puppy cried and screamed, but it also seemed like it was interested the rescuers. At one point the puppy stopped fighting and started crawling towards them, but his fear got the best of him and he soon resumed his crying. He was so distraught when he came out that it took a little while to calm him down. Eldad explained that these puppies didn’t know humans, so they didn’t know they were there to help.
Into the deep
As Eldad dove back in the cave to retrieve another puppy he was dismayed to realize that somehow the puppies had found a narrow tunnel, and retreated even further into the back of the cave. They calculated that the puppies were nearly 18 feet deep! Realizing that their current path wouldn’t work they decided to try and dig a new tunnel to get there. They had to be extra careful to ensure the tunnel and cave didn’t collapse on them or the remaining puppies.
After digging himself a space, Eldad crawled into the new tunnel in search of the puppies. Thankfully he found them and was able to get ahold of one. But because this tunnel was so much deeper than the other Eldad had to instruct Lisa and another rescuer to grab on to his feet and pull him out. “You’re going to have to pull me out fast,” he called. Quickly they ladies got him out, and a wriggling fifth puppy of the litter soon followed.
Diving deep back into the cave Eldad managed to grab another puppy. “Go, go, go!” he shouted from inside the cave, as once again his fellow rescuers had to yank on his feet in order to get him out of the cave. Like its siblings, the puppy arrived crying and scared, after all getting pulled out of a cave by strangers can be scary! But the puppy quickly allowed the rescuers to hold him and offer comfort.
Trying to grab another puppy was proving to be difficult, and Eldad realized that he was going to have to grab one of them by their foot in order to get them out. Not ideal, but it had to be done. He warned Lisa, “He’s going to bite me, ok? So, pull as hard as you can.” Using all their might Lisa and their co-rescuer pulled Eldad out of the cave as fast as they could, and with him came puppy number seven.
The team could’ve used a break after the last difficult rescue, but Eldad knew he saw another puppy in the cave and they had to go back in. Squeezing himself through the tunnel he managed to grab one more puppy. He called out that he got one and once more they pulled him pulled him out, and puppy number eight. The puppy cried and was scared, but soon happily let Lisa comfort him on her lap.
Back in the cave
Eight is a lot of puppies and the team thought they were done, but Eldad decided he better go back into the cave and make sure. So, armed with his flashlights, in he went. Looking around he couldn’t see anything, but he felt like he could hear something. “I can swear I can hear one more.” Could it be another puppy? Turns out he was right! There was one last puppy waiting to be rescued.
The poor runt of the litter was the last of the puppies waiting in the cave. Sitting alone in the dark, Eldad reached in with his gentle snare. He informed the puppy it was “time to go home,” and it almost seemed like the puppy understood. He allowed himself to be captured, and unlike his siblings he didn’t cry and scream during his rescue. It’s like the puppy knew his rescuers meant well, and he willing went into their arms without a fight.
One last look
After the surprise find of puppy number nine, Eldad decided that he better take one last look to make sure that there really were no more puppies left in the cave. So, he crawled once more into the abyss. Crawling through the tunnel and shining his flashlight into the cave, Eldad felt confident that they had finally gotten the last puppy out. After a physically demanding and taxing rescue, it was a relief. The ordeal was over!
Post rescue care
Rescuing dogs doesn’t just end with getting them out of a dangerous situation. The puppies still needed to go to the vet and get checked up. Luckily the puppies all seemed to be in good health and there were no major problems. The next day they were introduced to a surrogate mother dog named Olive, and it looked like everyone was very happy with the arrangement! It didn’t take long before the puppies and Olive were all playing together.
Between rescuing nine puppies and going to their friend’s funeral, it had been a tough day.To honor their late friend they decided to name each puppy using a letter from her name. Lisa M Ashe became Luke, Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, Mary, Angel, Solomon, Heaven, and Ezekiel. Surely, it wasn’t a coincidence that they rescued nine puppies on the day of her funeral when she had nine letters in her name. For Eldad and Lisa Arturo, this was the best way they could think of to pay tribute to her memory.