My wife, Annie Hart, and Eldad Hagar are always telling me that something they call “The Cheeseburger Fund” leads to saved dogs. You toss a little burger out there, and a hungry dog just might end up in your arms –- and let you save him.
However, I have never heard that ordering a cheeseburger could lead to being taken on a rescue myself. But that’s exactly what happened last night. My wife and I managed to get away for a night on the town. By that I mean, she needed to go shopping for new fuzzy socks, and I wanted to eat out in a place that doesn’t also have a drive-through window.
We sit down at my favorite local tavern that boasts the best burger in Los Angeles. Just then, Annie’s phone rings. It’s an advocate with a plea for help. There is a dog living under a car in a rough neighborhood who’s in need of rescue. Annie steps away from the table, and by the time my burger is placed before me, my wife slinks back into the booth. She has a distinctive smile on her face. That one that carries with it the question, “You wanna go on a rescue?”
Sure enough, my read of her smile was dead on, and some 30 minutes later we are driving down the highway en route to a mystery location hidden amongst the dreary and discarded roads of downtown Los Angeles, my delicious, uneaten cheeseburger on Annie’s lap. After a few wrong turns we pulled into a parking lot: a broken down Camaro on one side, a beat up Volvo on the other. The streets are dark, a few single exterior harsh neon lights hanging high above.
Annie sneaks around the parking lot, and I keep an eye on the street -– it isn’t the greatest of neighborhoods for sure. I glance over and Annie is on her knees waving toward me. She’s found something. I take position on the opposite side of the Camaro from her (to form the rescue sandwich) and get on my knees. Sure enough, there is a fluffy dark creature hidden under the dilapidated car.
I see bits of my cheeseburger being tossed under the car, but no movement. Annie whispers for me to go get her the socks we bought. She is in sandals, and that is not working well as she tries to crawl around on the ground. Thank goodness for fuzzy socks!
I bring the socks, and Annie stands to take them. By the time she turns around, a small ragamuffin has emerged from beneath the car. Shy and nervous, she looks to Annie as if she is saying, “Excuse me … is there some more cheeseburger?”
Annie sits back on the ground and within a few minutes a sweet bundle has formed on her lap eating away at bits of burger. It’s a wonderful and tender moment. And in that moment, I thought Annie looked pretty silly with her head lamp on, so I take a photo with my phone so I could tease her later. What I get is something a lot more special — a photo of a life being saved.
Hope comes in many forms from many places. Sometimes it is a miracle, sometimes it’s a rescuer, and sometimes it’s just the best cheeseburger in Los Angeles.
Click here to see a picture of Cameron, the special pup who was rescued last night. Thanks to all the villagers out there who support my wife and all of the Bill Foundation’s efforts.
About the author: James Hart is married to Annie Hart of the Bill Foundation.
Read more by Annie and about Eldad and other rescuers:
Annie Hart is the executive director of the Bill Foundation Dog Rescue. Follow her on her new Facebook page for more inspiring rescue stories. Follow the Bill Foundation on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.