Call her the Cesar Whisperer

Call her the Cesar Whisperer
THE ONE: Cesar Millan with his girlfriend Jahira Dar.

Cesar Millan has made a career out of taming and training the most stubborn of dogs.

But when it comes to the 45-year-old celebrity dog behaviour expert, there is only one person who can keep him in check - his girlfriend of five years, Ms Jahira Dar.

So how does she manage to do just that?

In a phone interview with The New Paper from Los Angeles last week, Millan said with a laugh: "I think you should ask her, it's a question for her! She does have a lot of methods. Everybody needs a little rules, boundaries and limitations."

It was Ms Dar, a 30-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who helped Millan - best known for his hit TV series Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan and Cesar To The Rescue - through the darkest period of his life.

DIVORCE

In February 2010, his pit bull terrier Daddy died and a month later, he learnt his wife planned to divorce him. In May, he attempted suicide.

The Mexican-American celebrity found love again in late 2010 with Ms Dar, whom he calls "The One".

Millan said: "I will (propose to her soon). But it has to be in that specific place. I think she will enjoy it even more because it's her dream part of the world that she's never been to. I can't wait... I even have the ring now, so it's a big step." Naturally, the proposal will involve dogs.

Before that, the couple will make a stopover in Singapore later this month for Millan's Love Your Dogs Tour.

In the live show, he shares his unique techniques and reveals the key to happier, healthier relationships between humans and their canine companions.

He will also be tailoring his gig for Singaporean audiences, whom he's become more familiar with after visits in 2012 and 2014.

He said: "When I did a show in a mall (in Singapore) people brought their dogs... The audience was mesmerised and the owners were absolutely blown away.

"What I'm giving you is not just the ABCs of dogs. What you need is a formula, but also tailoring.

"I saw how you live in the apartments, how people gather in parks, how people walk dogs in Singapore. I notice how that makes the dogs feel."

Despite his busy touring schedule, Millan also makes time for some special supporters.

He recently visited Patricia Moore, a 14-year-old terminally ill cancer patient from Palmdale, California, whose "bucket list" wish was to meet him.

Millan said: "I get to meet a lot of cancer patients, especially kids, who unfortunately are not doing very well. They love to watch animal shows in the hospital, it's very soothing and relaxing.

"It brings happiness to people, so a lot of kids say, 'One day I would like to meet that guy because he saves the lives of dogs'. That's pretty much what they want, they want somebody to save their lives."

The father of two sons, aged 20 and 14, even goes to the extent of inviting these young fans to his ranch in Santa Clarita, California, where they get to meet his llama, horse, pigs and goats.

"I love (the kids') spirit, and their love and sacrifice. The people who have a lot don't realise life is beautiful.

"But the ones who have less are the most incredible ones. You get to see life in them, so I'm always impacted by that."

He helped dog at S'pore shelter

Cesar Millan's favourite memory of Singapore is of how he helped a local dog come out of its shell.

In 2012, when he was in town to do two live shows at Marina Bay Sands, he met Mango (right), an abandoned nine-year-old male mongrel at a shelter.

It had not left its wire mesh pen in seven years.

It would turn aggressive and threaten to bite when confronted with a leash. Even when the pen door was left open, it refused to come out.

The situation got so bad that volunteers at the non-profit shelter, Animal Lovers League, were unable to bathe it or take it for walks.

Eventually, they backed off completely, not wanting to agitate it further.

Millan took one-and-a-half hours to coax Mango out of its pen, after which it was even willing to go for a walk and swim.

He said: "For me, it was a great joy and honour. I took this dog that was pretty much a prisoner of his own and introduced him to his country."

Ms Cathy Strong, founder of the Animal Lovers League, credits Millan for Mango's rehabilitation.

She said: "Poor Mango was such a difficult dog to deal with for seven years. (Leashing) him so we could take him out for a walk was an experience none of our volunteers could forget.

"With Cesar's confidence and advice, we learnt how to handle him. And if he allows anyone to leash him, and that is not too difficult now, he looks forward to his walks.

"But he makes sure he walks you rather than you walk him."

She added that although Mango is a lot more manageable now, the shelter is still worried as the dog still takes some time to get used to someone.

No one has expressed interest in adopting Mango so far, and Ms Strong said the dog's age also makes it difficult.

"But he's a good boy now," she added.

jadeteo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 02, 2015.
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