|This week has been full of interesting milestones for me, both old and new, but let me begin by saying, “¡Viva México, viva México, viva México!” to all my Spanish-speaking friends, because today is México’s Independence Day. I was reminded very much of this event last Thursday, as I stood on the American side of the border and revisited the place where I came across illegally over twenty years ago. It was a very emotional moment for me, remembering how I arrived, because I went back to that place on another very important anniversary. Eight years ago last Thursday, “Dog Whisperer” premiered on TV, and I saw my dreams come true. I had come to America a poor boy with only a hundred dollars on me — well, actually, a coyote (or smuggler) relieved me of that money before I came over the border. I spoke no English, and I slept under a freeway for two months until two very kind women gave me a job grooming dogs and let me sleep in the shop. And then suddenly, I’m a TV star. Well, not so suddenly. It did take fourteen years, and during those years, so many people showed such unselfish kindness to me that I never doubted such a thing as The American Dream was true. I would not be where I am today without their help and trust. When I first arrived, even if I had been the most incredible pack leader (or brain surgeon or athlete or whatever), without some people giving freely from their own good fortunes, I could have starved to death under a bridge in San Diego, and no one would have ever heard of me.
Of course, without dogs to help and so many people so passionate about them, I would not be where I am today, either — in a position to give back so much. This is another reason that my final episode of “Dog Whisperer” was so meaningful to me. I got to end the series helping someone who was where I was when I first came to America — homeless. I have also been fortunate enough that I was able to start my own Foundation to carry on the work of rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming abandoned dogs, which is my way of giving back everything wonderful I have been given. Despite what some have said, nobody becomes a success entirely on their own. It took people with belief in me to help me learn English and open my first Dog Psychology Center. It took people with a vision to give me a TV show, then it took passionate fans to make that show a success through nine seasons. Countries can declare themselves independent, but people cannot, no matter how much they might think they need no one else. We, humanity, are a pack, and we all rely on each other. There is no wrong in asking for help if you need it; there is no reason to not offer help if you can. All you need to get others to believe in you is to believe in yourself first — then follow your dream and pursue your passion.