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Meet Lisa Arturo of Big Love Animal Rescue in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Arturo.

Lisa Arturo is a dog expert, animal activist, rescue warrior, and pet matchmaker. Her passion to make a difference in the lives of the voiceless is unstoppable. Lisa grew up in Clifton, NJ, and soon moved to Manhattan, where she pursued a career in dance and acting. She lived a glamorous life as a showgirl, traveling around the world with various dance companies. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 24 years old to pursue her acting career and has appeared in many TV shows, films and commercials. Lisa has always loved animals and grew up with pets in her family home. It wasn’t until she started volunteering at city and county shelters 12 years ago that she realized the devastating truth about how animals are treated in America. Volunteering at city shelters was by far the best hands-on training for teaching her how to work with dogs in less than desirable conditions. These dogs were scared, shut down, stressed, hopeless, and some were physically sick and in pain. Working with dogs in this harsh environment taught Lisa how to really understand their needs and behaviors. She became a fierce mamma bear to these dogs and began networking them, working with them, bathing them, and building their confidence, so they could be adopted. She refused to let them be misunderstood, labeled “aggressive” when they are just frightened, or worse yet, euthanized. Lisa remains affiliated with the bottle-feeding program at the shelter and brings home unweaned puppies, leading to many nights of very little sleep, bottle feeding every 2-3 hours, and working around the clock to keep them alive.

In 2012, Lisa met Eldad Hagar, CEO of Hope for Paws. Lisa joined him on many of his street rescues, where she learned the hands-on skills of how to effectively and safely rescue animals living on the streets. In that same year, Lisa became a member of the Hope For Paws team. She was Eldad’s assistant and right-hand for six years. Lisa feels that the greatest reward and advantage of being a key component in Hope For Paws is being given the opportunity to rescue abandoned animals, get them the medical care or the training that they desperately need, and finally see them transformed into happy and healthy dogs that are adopted into wonderful forever homes. Being part of their transformation makes it all worth it for her. Lisa has jumped in sewers and rivers, crawled under houses, and climbed through junkyards. She has slept in her car, stayed up all night, and has driven countless hours to find a stray dog lost in the night, hungry and afraid, and she would do it all over again to save a life. Her dedication and passion for helping animals in need and educating others is her life’s purpose. “Everyone loves a happy ending and to watch each dog we rescue get adopted by the loving family they deserve is euphoric. Honestly, there is no better feeling.” She tells anyone who asks her about the hardships and sacrifices involved in animal rescue.

Lisa’s goal is to teach, educate, and spread compassion. As a TV personality, Lisa has become a much-needed voice for the dogs and, with her exceptional skills, knowledge, and years of in the field experience, she hopes to reach people worldwide through TV, social media, publications, and public speaking. As an animal expert, Lisa wants to help people with their personal pets. Whether it is behavior modification, introducing a new pet into the family, how to budget the expense and medical care of a new pet, Lisa will be able to advise owners. She will lend her expertise as to what to feed them, how to choose the right pet for your family, and what to expect when walking into a shelter or rescue group to adopt a pet.

Going into a shelter can be an emotional and difficult experience for many people. Lisa hopes to bring the shelters into your living room to help make the experience a positive one, whether it’s through social media or YouTube videos. The animals at the shelter ARE NOT broken, they just need a second chance, and she’s going to show you how you, too can save a life from your local shelter and have a lifelong best friend.

Lisa has her Dog Trainer Certification from Animal Behavior College and has an Animal CPR certification. She’s trained with Jennifer Gray, at Sunny Day Acres-Dog and studied at the School of Dog Psychology.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Every day is a challenge. Most of these animals need medical care. Surgeries and urgent cases are the most stressful because time is of the essence, and donations need to be raised quickly. If an animal needs a 5k surgery to save his life, the Veterinary hospitals don’t allow you to start a payment plan. They need half the deposit even to begin the surgery. Knowing that without those funds, that IV catheter isn’t administered immediately to help that animal is heartwrenching. Other challenges we face are dealing with people. The rescue community is bombarded continuously with humans who lack compassion, resources, patience, and empathy. We regularly get calls about animals, dumped on the side of the roads, freeways, deserts, shelter, and streets, just tossed away like trash. Or there’s the weekly phone call/email asking if we can take their dog because they’re having a baby, getting a divorce or moving, and they just don’t have time for their family pet any longer.

Please tell us about Big Love Animal Rescue.
I love our mission statement. “We will find you. We will help you. We will love you.” It’s powerful, it’s what drives us, and it’s what we do. My life’s work is saving animals and making a difference. It’s why I’m here, and I’m grateful I know my purpose in life.

Big Love, rescues animals from the streets and shelters. We’ve only been around since January of 2019, and we’ve already saved over 250 animals. My favorite rescues are going out into the streets and rescuing. We started a youtube channel where you can see our efforts in action. We also take in a lot of moms and litters of pups or pregnant moms. We are committed to never leaving the mother behind. Once we commit to an animal, we will exhaust all efforts to do right by that dog/cat, whether it’s medical needs, behavioral training, or finding him a forever home.

The joy and happiness I get is when our animals are thriving in their new home. Witnessing a once abandoned or forgotten animal being showered with Love from a family is what it’s all about. This is my pay-off.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We always say it takes a village in rescue. The friendships, trust, and partnerships you build along the way are the glue that keeps us together. Animal rescue is emotionally brutal. The abuse and neglect we have to see and hear every day would make most people break. We work with some incredible rescue partners that have helped us along the way, and Big Love has done the same for them. The Labelle Foundation, The Forgotten Fog Foundation, Star Paws Rescue, Road Dogs Rescue, The Lovejoy Foundation, Sunny Day Acres, to name a few. Our incredible team of fosters, followers, and donors keep us going, allowing us to keep fighting for the voiceless. Recently, Rachel Burney has joined our team, and I’m so grateful for her daily efforts, love, and relentless passion for our organization.

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