The star of the hit National Geographic Channel series Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan is living the American Dream, but he had anything but an easy road to success as revealed in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith on her Facebook Live series Red Table Talk.
The Mexico native said he crossed the border into the United States more than 20 years ago with just $100 and the desire to be the “greatest dog trainer in the world.”
“When I was 21 years old, on December 23rd I went to my mom and told her, ‘Mom, I’m leaving,'” Millan shared to Pinkett Smith.
Milan remarked that his mother was confused as to why he was leaving so close to the Christmas holidays. His reply? “I’m going to America … I have to go right now. So my dad saved $100, he gave it to me. He put it in my sock and that’s all I had,” the animal trainer explained. “I took a bus. It took, like, two days to get there.”
The dog trainer then remarked that things became “scary” when he finally reached the border. Milan stated he “encountered people ready to take advantage of my desperation. He says there were people waiting to either kill him or sell him for organs. It’s not a piece of cake. I know I broke a boundary and a rule. But it was for a dream.”
His journey was not easy, revealed Milan to his pal of 28 years, Pinkett Smith. He was arrested more than one time. It was during a chance encounter with a man which led him to finally realizing his American dream.
Milan felt he needed to trust this stranger, he revealed, who asked for exactly $100 to help him make a safe passage. The National Geographic star had no choice but to trust the man, who was aware of any potential obstacles they could incur.
“Finally, we cross and we get to the gas station. The guy says, ‘I’m going to get you a taxi. And the taxi is going to get you to San Diego,'” he stated. In a final stroke of luck, the stranger only took $80 as payment, giving the driver $20 to get Milan to his destination safely.
Milan began searching for work immediately, calling local kennels for work, according to Page Six. He later began a dog-walking business and after a feature in the Los Angeles Times, his business exploded.
In 2009, Milan became an American citizen, cementing his dream.