Recently, The Pet Matchmaker talked with freelance copy writer, Hilary Barraford to learn the story of how she came to adopt a Hope for Paws rescue dog, Della.
This story doesn’t start with adopting Della. It starts a few years before they met. In fact, Della’s rescue dog story starts before Della was even born…
In 2011, Hilary was working as a copywriter for Lucky Brand in Vernon, CA, a little city just outside LA. Vernon is known as the fashion capitol of the West Coast. Along with being a fashion hub,Vernon has a chronic stray dog problem. (LA County struggles with a huge homeless dog population.)
I happened to see these two dogs who seemed to be living on the train tracks…
One day, Hilary noticed two homeless German Shepherds who seemed to live near the train tracks. Having no connection with the animal rescue world, Hilary did what most of us would do. She called the police. She called animal control. But, she couldn’t get any help. Still, she couldn’t get them out off her mind. After feeding the dogs for two weeks, she finally got some assistance from Westside German Shepherd Rescue. They gave her the name of “the only guy” they knew who might be able to help: Eldad Hagar.
Eldad is the life force behind Hope for Paws. He does direct rescue of dogs all over the U.S. The videos of HFP rescues are YouTube sensations. Hilary called Eldad and he immediately agreed to help rescue the dogs. Unfortunately, by the time Eldad arrived, only one dog remained. But, Eldad rescued him. (See that video on YouTube.) “I was blown away by Eldad and his rescue work,” Hilary remembers. She knew she wanted to help rescue dogs, too.
Hilary used her expertise as a copy writer and producer to boost Hope for Paws web presence. She found Eldad a publicist. They became fast friends. So, in 2013 when she found herself on the onramp of Vermont St. and the 101 in Hollywood in morning rush hour traffic and saw a bundle of gray, matted, scavanging mutt, she knew who to call.
I saw what looked to be a gray mutt, scavenging on the freeway onramp…
Eldad was on another rescue, but promised to get there as soon as he could. The mutt was still there when Eldad arrived with his wife, Audrey a couple of hours later. Apparently, the poor dog was pretty much living there. Eldad didn’t approach her right away. He waited patiently on the other side of the onramp, hoping she’d get used to his presence. But, when Eldad finally approached, the dog bolted. Undeterred, Eldad chased her down. He estimates she ran almost a mile, and finally hid in some shrubs.
It kills me to watch the video today. She looks like she’s almost dead…
Original Hope for Paws Rescue Dog Video:
Watching the video today breaks Hilary’s heart. The poor dog was matted and filthy and covered in burrs. She must have been in a lot of pain with the thorns pressing into her flesh every time she moved.
Hilary got a call from Eldad saying he’d gotten her. He was at Spot Rescue, with the rescue dog he was calling “Faith”. “Hilary, you have to take her,” Eldad insisted. When Hilary got there, she was amazed at what she found. Rather than a gray, filthy, matted mess, she was met by a shock-white, lovely little poodle puppy with alert brown eyes.
I wasn’t sure I should even have a dog…
Reluctantly, Hilary agreed to foster the rescue dog. Hilary wasn’t sure her life could include a dog. And she wasn’t sold on poodles, either. “I had a bad rap in my head about about poodles… I just didn’t see myself with one.”
It didn’t take long for Hilary to fall for Faith. “She immediately had the best temperament. Straight off the highway to the sweetest little thing. With everybody – even kids!” Hilary had to admit they were made for each other. She renamed “Faith” Della and now can’t imagine life without her. “They really do choose us,” says Hilary, echoing the sentiment of so many rescue dog adopters. Hilary is happy to be another “foster failure”.
I’m a foster failure!
Having a Hope for Paws rescue dog has changed Hilary’s life in many ways. Since her rescue video was seen by so many people, Della has a lot of fans. Hilary started an Instagram starring Della, and has over 2 thousand followers. She gets messages from people all over the world who tell her Della brings a lot of joy to their lives.
Photos from rescue dog Della’s Instagram
Recently, Della had a “play date” with Professor Einstein, another Hope for Paws rescue dog and Facebook star. It was good to share the somewhat unique experience of owning celebrity rescue dogs with actor, Emanuele Secci, Einstein’s pet parent.
Now, Hilary is a devoted supporter of Hope for Paws and rescue in general. She agrees with Eldad’s mission – to show people that shelter dogs are great dogs. That with a little love and care, ALL rescue dogs are like Della. Just waiting to blossom.
Now I’ll do whatever I can to help Eldad and Hope for Paws.
More photos of rescue dog, Della taken by Richard Sanderson, TheCritterClicker
Watch for our interview with professional pet photographer, Richard Sanderson, The Critter Clicker.