Special Activity: The SPCA encourages responsible adoption and salutes its veteran adopters
Many dogs and cats do not live their whole lives in one home, but are passed from place to place or put in a shelter. To commemorate “Pet Parent’s Day”, whose aim is to honor those owners who consider their pets an integral part of their families, the SPCA calls upon the general public to expand their families by adopting a new four-legged friend and presents the adopters with a certificate of appreciation and a gift package contributed by Tal Gal Ltd.
On Sunday, April 26, “Pet Parents’ Day” will be celebrated throughout the world, with the aim of recognizing and honoring pet owners who relate to their pets as an inseparable part of their families.
On the occasion of this special day, the SPCA will hold special activities to raise public awareness of responsible adoption of pets and the importance of raising them for their whole lives, as well as to express our appreciation to our veteran adopters. Owners of pets that were adopted at the SPCA up to the end of 2009 are invited to come with their dogs to the SPCA during the week 26/4-2/5, to receive a special certificate of appreciation, benefits and a gift package sponsored by Tal Gal Company, which includes a small bag of Purina food, a Purina treat, a pouch, and a leash. In addition, the Solano Companyis contributing a gift of an ampule against fleas. In addition, a special prize awarding activity will take place on our Facebook page.
‘Responsible Adoption’ is not just a slogan in the SPCA, but is the name of the adoption process carried out in the organization. The aims of this process are to match the animals with owners committed to their care, who will be able to meet their pets’ needs throughout their lives and to check that the decision to adopt emanates from sober deliberation and is not one made on the spur of the moment. According to Hilma Shmoshkowitz, Chairperson (Volunteer), Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel, “Our many years of experience in placing animals in adoptive homes teach us that many dogs and cats do not live their whole lives in one home, and each move has a detrimental effect upon them. As those who, on a daily basis, witness the suffering of abandoned animals, we have chosen this activity to express our deep appreciation to those people who do understand the meaning of this commitment and the responsibility involved in raising pets for their whole lives and consider their pets an integral part of their families. I am certain that all the members of the SPCA staff are eagerly waiting to meet the veteran adopters and the dogs that gained loving families. We take this opportunity to call on additional people to expand their families with a new four-legged friend and to gain unconditional love for many years to come”.
* The gift offer will be valid while stocks last and on presentation of the adopter’s ID card.
Main photo: The Arbiv family with the dogs Toffee and Dvash that were adopted at the Society.
Pesach Newsletter, 2015
SPCA Israel presents its traditional Newsletter for Pesach
For our Newsletter click here. Greetings from the Chairwoman, Pesach 2015 Dear Friends,
Each year, as the Spring Festival approaches, I am happy to present our traditional newsletter. This year we wish to honor those families rearing animals they consider an integral part of their families.
Allow me to open with a personal reminiscence: Close to the Pesach holiday nine years ago, a weak and skinny puppy reached the Society, having been found by a passerby in the trash. Just one glance sufficed for me to fall in love with the tiny pup, only the size of my hand, and to name her “Baby”. Baby quickly acclimatized in our home, taking her place beside her ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’, the cats and dogs. Since then and to this day she shares the path of life with us, lovingly and faithfully accompanying us with her friendly nature and understanding expression.
Our many years of experience in placing animals in adoptive homes teach us that not all dogs and cats have similar fates, with many of them never having the privilege of living their whole lives in one home. In the SPCA, as in other organizations, this season in the year is distinguished by two familiar phenomena: On one hand, for various reasons many dogs and cats are abandoned during the holidays, often after these animals have accompanied their owners for long periods of time and have filled a significant role in their lives. Joining them are the huge numbers of kittens that are born in the Spring to homeless cats and un-spayed house cats, resulting in the shelters being packed with animals begging for adoptive homes. We, of course, take in every animal brought to us, and encourage pet owners who are taking vacations at this time to use our boarding facilities while they are away.
The second phenomenon is adoption of dogs and cats by families who choose a new four-legged friend during the Pesach vacation. It appears to be an ideal situation – with the animals getting more attention due to the free time available. However, when the children go back to school, many animals that were adopted during the vacation are brought back to the shelters, since the kids’ enthusiasm fades and the burden of caring for the pets falls on the parents.
Every adoption is, needless to say, welcomed. However, it is important that the process be carried out in a responsible manner and not in a moment of enthusiasm or to fulfill the children’s wishes. The adopters must understand that the meaning of adoption is the adding of a new member to the family, an additional ‘child’ that demands attention, care and commitment for the fifteen years ahead.
In order to avoid this emotional upset both to the adopters and the animals, that may experience another traumatic abandonment, we in the SPCA operate an orderly process named “Responsible Adoption”. The aim of this process is to match the animals with the adopters, taking into account the wishes and life-style of the adopters and their ability to provide the animals with all their needs for their entire lifespan, a process which includes completing a special Adoption Form, meeting with an adoption counselor, a veterinary examination, vaccinations, spaying or castration and guidance in all matters concerned with pet care.
If you are considering adopting a pet, have the whole family take part in the process. We recommend encouraging the children to gather information about the animals and to learn about its needs and, at a later stage, to set up a division of tasks relating to the care of the animal. This will give the children a sense of responsibility, partnership and devotion. However, it is important to remember that expecting young children to undertake the full care of the animals is unrealistic, and that, in the final analysis, the responsibility rests on the parents’ shoulders.
I wish you and your families a happy spring holiday. Hopefully all the many dogs and cats will find suitable homes during the festival.
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel
For our Newsletter click here.
New Bill Initiated by SPCA Israel
Organizations and kennels will only give dogs and cats up for adoption after being spayed or neutered
Look at the picture and see the suffering with your own eyes. Unwanted litters of puppies and kittens in immense numbers are an inseparable part of the difficult reality with which we, as do all other organizations working for animal welfare, have to contend on a daily basis. These puppies are separated from their mothers at too early an age, cruelly abandoned, thrown into the garbage or out onto the streets in a cardboard box with no true chance of survival. While most of the organizations close their gates in the face of these poor animals, and while the number of people willing to adopt animals is negligible in compared with the number of animals that are abandoned in Israel, it is clear that great efforts must be made to prevent unwanted litters. There is a consensus that the one method of doing this in a humane fashion is to encourage spaying and neutering procedures.
SPCA Israel has been active at the Parliamentary level for many years, aiming to have animal welfare laws introduced. Last year a Bill promoted by the SPCA was passed, by which owners of non-sterilized dogs must pay a higher annual Dog Holder’s License fee, which is intended to encourage dog owners to have their dogs spayed or neutered.
At present a newly proposed Bill has been presented to the Knesset by the SPCA, that approached a number of MK’s who have expressed interest in promoting it – The Bill for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Protection) (Amendment – obligatory spaying or neutering of dogs and cats), 2013. According to this Bill, animal welfare organizations, municipal dog pounds and animal shelters will only be permitted to give a dog or cat up for adoption after it has been spayed or neutered. The Bill even gives details regarding the time necessary for carrying out the surgery from the moment the request for adoption is submitted, under what circumstances the date for surgery may be postponed (medical condition, females nursing their young, or puppies that are too young to undergo the surgery) and the sums that may be charged for these surgical procedures. In addition, the Bill gives the State the authority to stop supporting any organizations that violate the Law. We believe that this Law will benefit animals, lead to responsible adoption procedures, reduce the number of unwanted litters and the number of deaths while helping to create a uniform policy on this topic which will apply to all the organizations, kennels, shelters and quarantine facilities.
The importance of spaying and neutering pets is one of the issues upon which all animal welfare organizations have reached a consensus. However, apparently not all these organizations actually carry out the message that they themselves promulgate and to our regret we often take in dogs and cats, previously adopted from other organizations and kennels that were not spayed or neutered at the time. Just a fortnight ago, a dog of over six months of age reached us. He had been adopted from one of the organizations, not neutered, and what is even more serious, had no microchip that is obligatory by Israeli Law. This case is one example of many where animals are given for adoption in an irresponsible manner by the bodies that are supposed to act professionally and according to Law. Our extensive experience and the fact that we are the only organization whose doors are always open to any animal in need of shelter and protection, teach us that sometimes the desire to find adoptive homes leads to compromises in the adoption process, and the ones who pay the price in the long run are the animals themselves who, unwanted, are passed from hand to hand as though they were objects.
According to the policies of the Society for the past twenty five years and more, dogs and cats are only given out for adoption after being spayed or neutered. We hope that following this new Bill, all the other bodies and authorities in Israel will become wiser and will, finally, align themselves with the accepted manner of procedures on the subject of adoption in all advanced nations.
The Society for Protection of Animals in Israel, which will continue to propose bills benefitting animals, calls all organizations and kennels to adopt the responsible adoption processes of the SPCA, including completion of questionnaires, a long talk with an adoption counselor who matches the animals to the prospective adopter, veterinary examination and giving animals to new owners only after spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and, in the case of dogs, insertion of a microchip. Delivering healthy animals, acting in accordance with the Law, checking out the adopters and the extent of their suitability to raise the animal, is the correct procedure for orderly adoption where the adopting owners will raise the animal for the rest of its life.
A Matter of Age
Just been demobilized? Before you adopt a pet, there are some things you should take into account
Many parents get never-ending pleas from their children to adopt a dog, and one of the responses they give is “When you have your own home you’ll be able to do whatever you want”. One outcome of this sense of deprivation is that the moment these children do grow up and rent their first apartment, they rush to adopt a dog.
If you are one of those guys in their twenties who have recently been released from military service, there are some things that you should take into account before you take that step and adopt a dog:
– A dog is like a child; though caring for a dog is less intensive than caring for a child and though it is possible to leave a dog alone at home for a few hours at a time, the responsibility is long-term. Any time you want to leave home for more than nine hours, you will have to make arrangements for your dog to be taken out for a walk, to assure that he has food and water. Amongst young people, the element of spontaneity is often dominant and can clash with the responsibility towards your pet and the routine that caring for a dog demands.
– Many newly released soldiers take the same route, and immediately after demobilization, they look for work that will help them save money for their grand tour abroad. When they have earned the necessary funds, they have to find some organized place which will agree to accept their dog for a period of six months or even longer. So they provided the dog with a warm home and took care of it, but what now? The parents do not want to take a dog into their home, the friends are busy or going off on a long trip themselves, a boarding kennels for a long period of time will take up a huge chunk of their hard-won budget so there is no choice but to give the dog up for adoption.
– The apartment rental market in Israel is difficult, and many apartment owners add a clause in the rental agreements stipulating that keeping pets is prohibited in their property. In addition, young people in the 20-30 year age group tend to move apartments frequently, and sometimes they are forced to give away their dogs under pressure, just because the rental agreement for a reasonable apartment that they found at the last minute prohibits keeping animals.
– Finally, think about the dog’s needs: apart from being taken for walks and being trained, the dog needs veterinary care, food, toys and treatment against ticks and fleas. All of these cost a substantial amount of money that often is not readily available for young people and students who are employed in part-time or temporary jobs.
It is true that there are many young people out there who are ready to take on the kind of responsibility that raising a dog demands. No matter what, they will never give their dogs away, even if this means making compromises about their own comforts or reducing expenses during economically pressing times. On the other hand, many dogs are given to us by their owners who didn’t give enough thought to the long-term realities of raising a dog. These dogs are forced to live in dog pounds or shelters when they are already two or three years of age and have to compete for the attention of potential adopters against adorable puppies that are almost irresistible.
Finally, before you adopt a pet who will want to be your lifelong and faithful friend, please, think ahead. Take your own immediate and future plans into account and only then decide if you want to adopt an animal at this stage or if perhaps it is preferable to wait a little till your own life reaches a more stable stage.
To See the Final Picture
Fallen in love with a half-breed puppy? When he is fully grown, his size will affect the whole family
Most abandoned dogs that reach the various dog pounds and shelters are half-breeds, a great many of them puppies, and one cannot always tell exactly how they will look when they are fully grown. There are some indications that help us to assess more or less the height and weight of the adult dog, such as their paws in relation to the rest of their bodies, or their present physical size in comparison with other puppies their age. Such estimations can only be carried out on the basis of professional experience, and so many people who come to adopt such a dog have difficulty imagining the final size that the dog will reach and as a result, often err in their choice.
The size of the adult dog is one of the important points that a family with children should take into account. In cases when the parents are planning that the kids will take the dog out for walks, they should choose a dog of suitable dimensions, one that the children will be able to lead and not the other way around. In addition, it is important to know that larger dogs generally demand more exercise. A dog weighing 20 kilos in comparison with a child weighing 10 kilos more, does not add up to equal strength; a dog has greater muscle mass than a child, therefore the chances are that when the dog sees something interesting on the other side of the road, it will pull in that direction and it is not certain that the child will be able to stop it.
In such a situation, either the child will let go of the leash, putting the dog at risk crossing the street alone, or the child will fall and is liable to get hurt, or at least grazed, by the time the dog decides to come to a halt.
During my work as an adoption counselor in the SPCA, I have come across very many cases of families adopting puppies with only some rough idea as to their future size, and then, some months later, returning them to us on the grounds that they are too big. Therefore, I recommend that families wishing to adopt a dog take some parameters into consideration, such as who will be the principle care giver of the dog, the size of the home and of course, the time and energy that all members of the family are willing to devote to the dog.
We in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel provide consultation at every adoption, both by means of adoption counselors, responsible for the adoption process, and also by our veterinarians. In other adoption cases, in order to prevent suffering both to the family and, especially, to the dog, we recommend applying for professional advice.
Main photo: Na’ama with her dog Laney at one-and-a-half months and at ten months old.
My Family and Other Animals
When adopting an animal, the whole family should be involved in the choice
Adopting a dog or cat brings, without doubt, a significant change in the family dynamics, affecting everyone. Even if one member of the family takes on the responsibility of being the main caretaker, the choice still has to suit all the others.
As a result of our wide experience in giving pets up for adoption, for many years now we, at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel, have been operating proceedings titled “Responsible Adoption”. The goal of this process is to reach maximum compatibility between the dog or cat and the adopters so that the animal will be able to live in its new home for the rest of its life and will not be abandoned again for reasons of incompatibility. During the process, the adopters read and sign a special form and have a meeting with one of the Society’s adoption counselors, during which we check if the adopters are able to provide the animal with all its needs and if they understand the obligation and responsibility involved in adoption.
As a result of cases when dogs or cats were returned from adoption because one of those involved decided that the choice was not suitable, we decided that, in the case of animal adoption by a family or other persons, the whole family or all those involved should come to the Society to be an inseparable part of the selection process. Everyone has to meet the new animal, to see how they get on with it. In the case of dogs, they should ascertain that the size of the dog suits and that the children are able to take it out for walks, that no member of the family has any hesitation or fear, if the energies suit the style of the family, and so on.
Following are some points for consideration:
The responsibility lies with the parents’: Very often adopters come to us claiming that it really doesn’t make any difference to their partners which animal they choose. Following our insistence upon everyone joining the process, sometimes, when the partners do come to the Society, they end up choosing a different animal. Sometimes, fathers come along with their children and say that the mother agrees to adopt a pet. On many occasions, when the mother actually comes or talks to us by phone, we discover that she does not agree to raise a dog in the house at all. In other cases, following a routine conversation with an adoption counselor, the parents realize that it is not realistic to expect a small child to take care of all the pet’s needs by itself and that they, the parents are the ones who have to take responsibility. Then we ask them to take time to reconsider and decide if they really are ready to start the process.
Animals do not make good gifts: A dog is a pack animal and will try to find its place also within the family unit. There are dogs that get along very well with adults but would have difficulty accepting the authority of a six-year-old child. Imagine, for instance, a situation where parents surprise their child with a dog that he has wanted so much but, when they bring the dog home, it bares its teeth when the child wants to take away its ball. Involving the child in the adoption process will prevent such situations that are detrimental both to the child and the dog, that will probably be returned to the dog pound. On occasion people come to us with the intention of adopting an animal for a friend or relative as a birthday gift. Also in such cases, we insist that the recipient of the gift should come to the Society to choose the animal. This is not a case of a new shirt or pair of shoes that can be exchanged or put aside when the owner gets tired of it, but a pet that will accompany its owner for many years. The new owners are the ones who will have to take care of their pet’s specific requirements, will become attached to it, to its story and its personality, and will raise it for the rest of its life.
Animals and the elderly: A pet is a loyal lifelong friend who can contribute wonderfully to older people who spend much of their days alone. A pet will give them a reason to go out of the house to walk, it loves to be caressed and snuggle and provides an interesting topic of conversation. Sometimes people come to us wishing to adopt an animal for their grandmother or grandfather, but pick out a dog or cat to which they themselves are attracted and then, at home, they discover that the dog is too energetic or that the cat’s litter box is not welcome in the house.
We know that the adopters have only good intentions and we want to find warm homes for all the cats and dogs in the SPCA, but first and foremost, we take into consideration the welfare of the animal itself and assess if the new house is going to be suitable in the long run. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing more disappointing than an animal that is returned to the Society because the wrong choice was made and did not suit the adopters. So, if you are considering adopting a pet, please devote some time to the process, as it is one that will greatly affect your life. Consider the advantages and the disadvantages, check how much free time you have at your disposal, remember that the children will grow up and leave the house while the animal will still be there. Think about the possible destruction of household items and all the other consequences. Once you have made your decision, come to us as a full family delegation, take the dog for a walk or spend some time with the cat in the cats’ home, and until you all reach a consensus, don’t hurry to adopt your new pet.
Main photo: The complete Gal family (the parents Na’ama and Dani, and the children Dana and Itai) when adopting three-month-old Max, about one year ago.
(Not for) Free Lessons
Adopted a dog? Its behavior is problematic? Don't rush to give it away – invest in training lessons instead
My name is Johnny and I am a young poodle, less than two years old. I know that I am good looking and attractive, I have a coat that doesn’t shed, am a small breed, am energetic and no one really has to be nervous in my company…so why am I so sad?
When I was two months old a family bought me – a single-parent, pampering and loving mother with two daughters aged 15 and 9. I came into my new home and was very happy. I was petted endlessly, had toys, and what I liked most of all was the bone that they gave me sometimes just because I was a bit of a pest…that was when I was just getting my new teeth and had to have something to chew!
During that time, everything seemed to me to be rosy: walks every few hours, snacks with the girls, leftovers from the meals, and best of all were the nights when, even though they had bought me my own bed, and given me a soft, comfy blanket, I preferred to sleep with Mom in her bed.< br>
But then the problems began. Once, when I jumped on them, they would laugh; when I bit their legs, they were happy; when someone came into the house I defended them with all my soul, scaring the stranger away with my barking. How could I have known that she just wanted to pet me that day, when I was chewing my bone on one of the couches, and I gave her a little bite so that in the future she wouldn’t touch my things…
Then came the muzzle. Suddenly they started to chase me around the house before we went out for a walk and tried to shut my mouth. I, who protect the child outside from any strange man or dog! They took me to be sterilized as a punishment. I didn’t really know what was going on there and it was pretty scary, but I got over that also and they took me home. All I wanted was for them to let me sleep in peace. I don’t like it when they wander around at night in the house, and I don’t want to be moved when I am asleep in bed just because they want to straighten the blanket.
I remember that day in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when Mom said that she doesn’t know what to do with me anymore.
I wasn’t really sure if she meant to leave me there or just to get advice from the staff and take a few training lessons.
Johnny’s story is shared by many other dogs, and in my work as a dog trainer and adoption counselor in the SPCA I have come across many instances of people who have adopted dogs, are contending with their pets’ behavior problems and are sometimes even considering giving them away. It is important to understand that most of the problems can be solved with one training lesson (or a short course of lessons) or even by reading on the internet about training and establishing limits for your dog. It is so sad to see those dogs that people buy, sometimes for thousands of shekels, that, when things go wrong, are simply sold or given to the Society instead of their owners investing a little effort to read relevant information or a little money in training lessons (small sums in comparison with the cost of adoption and the ongoing expenses of rearing a dog). And one more point – when there are children involved, the message that they get from such a move is very problematic.
If you have adopted a dog – take responsibility and learn how to educate it and not only how to pamper it.
Pegasus Comes Home Again
A puppy that was stolen from the Society two months ago has been found, alive and well, thanks to the social media
About two months ago, a middle-aged man came to the Society in order to adopt a dog. As part of the standard adoption procedure, the man met with an adoption counselor who found that the man was not responsible enough and would be unsuitable as an adoptive candidate. Following some argument and raised voices, the man was forced to leave (for reasons concerning privacy rights, we will not publish the counselor’s considerations in the case).
A short time later, we discovered that Pegasus, a charming, six-months-old, mixed-breed puppy was missing from his cage. Upon checking the security cameras, it became evident that the same man had broken through the fence into the Society, gone to the department where Pegasus lived, kidnapped him and disappeared very quickly.
The sequence of events was published on the Society’s Facebook page along with the clip filmed by the security camera, and the story aroused much interest in the virtual arena. Many surfers offered to help identify the burglar and also notified us of any dog resembling Pegasus that they came across. At the same time, the Society notified the Police about the case, but nothing helped and for over two months nothing was heard about Pegasus or what had happened to him.
Good news reached us a few days ago through a young couple who had seen Pegasus wandering around the Naveh Yamit neighborhood in Rehovot, near the highway. The couple took the dog to a vet in order to locate his owners by means of its electronic chip, but since Pegasus didn’t have a chip (the Society’s dogs have electronic chips inserted only when they are taken for adoption), the couple posted Pegasus’s picture on their Facebook profile in the hope of finding his owners through the social media.
As fate would have it, a member of the Society staff came across Pegasus’s photo and identified him immediately, even though two months had gone by since he had disappeared and he had grown since then. The Society staff contacted the couple who brought Pegasus back to the Society, alive and well. It is difficult to guess how long Pegasus had been left to wander around the streets and when exactly he was abandoned, but finding him in this way just supported the Society’s decision as to the suitability of the man who had come to adopt a pet.
Now Pegasus, eight months old, is looking for a stable and safe home with responsible owners who will be able to give him the love he deserves.
This case teaches us how important the Society’s adoption policies, termed “Responsible Adoption”, actually are. As an organization dealing with the ugly phenomenon of animal abandonment on a daily basis, we always place animal welfare at the head of our order of priorities. We give animals out for adoption only when we are convinced that they are promised a good life with responsible owners, who genuinely intend to raise them for the duration of their lives and will be able to provide them with all their needs.
If Pegasus’s story has touched your hearts and you are sure that you are able to offer him a warm home, please contact us at: *4553.
Who is your Pedigree Dog?
Decided to adopt a pedigree dog? In order to prevent bitter disappointment it is recommended to become acquainted with the unique characteristics of the breed and ensure that you will be able to meet its needs
In recent years I have been an adoption counselor and dog trainer in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel. In this capacity, and in accordance with the Society’s policies, I try to match up each dog with its new owners to the best of my ability so that the dog will be taken into a home that can meet its needs and take care of it throughout its life.
The dog is considered man’s best friend. Very quickly, it becomes a member of the family and fulfills a meaningful role in our lives, making the choice of which dog to adopt so important. Amongst those wishing to adopt a dog there are those who prefer thoroughbred dogs due to their particular affinity to a certain breed, their outward appearance or their exclusive pedigree. Adoption according to these parameters alone is likely to lead to bitter disappointment, both from the point of view of the owners and that of the dog, since many owners meet up with difficulties associated with providing the special needs of a particular breed and at some point or another, are forced to give the dog away.
There are hundreds of different breeds of dog in the world. Each breed has its own particular character due to its inherent qualities, and also an inclination to suffer certain genetic illnesses according to its breed. Nowadays, when dogs no longer fulfill their roles as were intended when their breed was developed and refined, owners must demonstrate increased responsibility in filling the unique needs of each breed. A Siberian Husky, for instance, is meant to pull sleighs in the snow. Future owners of such a dog must find ways to provide for these needs and take the dog out to use up enough energy in order for it to be a balanced and healthy dog. It is important to understand that adopting a dog on the basis of its outward appearance or its breed is likely to end unhappily and so it is imperative to learn about the selected breed, its temperament and distinctive characteristics, and seriously consider whether the dog is actually suited to its new owners, their home and way of life.
Most of the abandoned dogs in the various societies and municipal dog pounds are mongrels, generally considered healthier animals. In some cases it is possible to discern which breed is predominant while others have undergone generations of crossbreeding with mongrel parentage, making it difficult to tell from which breeds they originate. In these cases it is advisable to observe their behavior and to glean as much information as possible from the most recent owners or from the dog shelters’ adoption counselors.
As stated, the object of this article is not to encourage adoption of purebred dogs, but to provide important information to future adopters, which should be taken into account before bringing a dog home. Needless to say, not all breeds are mentioned in this article; I have chosen to carry out a summary and to write about the most popular breeds in Israel, which I have come across in my work.
History and Role: The Labrador is a descendant of hunting dogs, charged with locating fallen prey and bringing it back to its owners. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: With its amazing visual memory, the Labrador is able to remember the location of several fallen birds in different places. In addition to its ability to retrieve objects, the Labrador has a very soft bite. It doesn’t damage or hurt the prey as its bite is gentle, a characteristic that serves to relax its owners automatically when leaving these dogs in the company of small children. In addition, it is an especially active dog, agile, brimming over with self-confidence and stubborn. It is an excellent swimmer, capable of retrieving prey on land and sea, very balanced and almost never aggressive. It has a warm nature, making it a wonderful pet. Food for thought: A very intelligent dog that is quick to understand but must be strictly trained. The Labrador is considered an excellent family dog thatcan be can be trusted absolutely with children. On the other hand, one must realize that it is a large dog and most children will not be able to take it out on a walk. It is also very energetic, needing a great deal of activity, at least two or three hours of walking and playing each day. In the event that is does not get the required amount of activity, it turns into a small instrument of destruction in the home or yard.
History and Role: Like the Labrador, the Golden Retriever is a hunting dog whose role it is to retrieve fallen prey. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Considered an excellent family dog thanks to its soft bite and balanced nature. The Golden is fast, energetic and active, has a highly developed sense of smell and will follow a trail with great determination. It excels in retrieving water fowl and has an excellent memory. It is totally devoid of aggression, seldom barks and is not suitable as a guard dog. It is gentle, intelligent, calm and balanced, making it an ideal pet. Food for thought: Golden Retrievers are popular, sociable dogs who don’t like to be left alone. When adopting them, it is important to take into consideration that they need a great deal of activity, at least two to three hours each day, otherwise they will exert their energy by wreaking havoc in the home.
History and Role: The Siberian Husky belongs to the Spitz family of dogs, originating in Siberia, where it pulled sleds in the snow. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: The Husky has a high endurance level, is very independent and has a tendency to wander off. As a pet it is very sociable and expresses affection readily. It is not a good guard dog because strangers do not worry it. This breed is generally not aggressive towards other dogs but requires strict, tough training. Food for thought: It can’t be denied, it is a beautiful, impressive dog to whom one cannot remain indifferent. On the other hand, it is not easy to raise and there are dog-trainers who will claim that it is one of the most challenging breeds. The Husky, who was intended for wide open spaces, needs a lot of activity and will be most frustrated if locked up in a closed house. It has a tendency to wail like a jackal and to cause quite a lot of problems with the neighbors. In addition, it is inclined to wander off and run away so one has to be particularly careful and alert regarding its whereabouts.
History and Role: The Pincher originated in Germany and makes a good guard dog. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: The Pincher is a suitable and balanced family dog, very alert and an excellent guard dog. Though it is small in size, and couldn’t do much damage should it attack, its main role is to give a warning signal by barking when someone threatens its “pack”. It is full of energy, clean, easygoing, sociable, loves to play, is great with kids and can be the perfect playmate. Food for thought: It is a small dog, suitable for apartment living, but still needs to release its pent up energy and to go for walks. Despite its size, it is recommended to have it trained and to establish limits and discipline. In addition, the Pincher has a great tendency to bark and upset the neighbors.
History and Role: The German Shepherd is the most popular dog in the world today, thanks to its beauty and abilities. It is used as an explosives detection dog, rescue dog, guard dog, and of course, as a loyal pet. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Alert, balanced, self-confident, brave and with highly developed attack instincts. On the other hand, it is very obedient, and can always be relied on to be loyal to its owners. It has an excellent sense of smell and is most enthusiastic about working for and pleasing its owners. For this reason it can be trained to a very high level. Food for thought: A very active dog that needs a huge amount of space to release its energy. It doesn’t like to be left alone and cannot bear to be closed up all day long. This doesn’t mean that it cannot be reared in an apartment, but if that is the case, it will need long and tiring walks. Due to its nature, it is recommended to begin training at an early age and to establish who the dominant figure is, right from the start. It is important to understand that this is a highly capable working dog, and mistakes in its education or lack of opportunity to release its pent-up energy, can lead to aggression and to an uncontrollable pet.
History and Role: The Pekinese originally came from China where it was kept by the Emperors who believed that it would look after them in the next world. Today this dog is generally used as a pet and companion. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Independent dog, willful and very attached to its owners. Not always patient with children and distant with strangers. The Pekinese barks a great deal and can be an excellent guard dog. Food for thought: It is important to remember that its small size does not necessarily make it suitable as a family dog. It has no patience for children and will not hesitate to bite should they test it beyond its limits. It must live within the house, is not particularly energetic and will be satisfied with short walks. Its flattened facial structure makes it difficult for it to breathe and cool itself and so it is important not to let it out during the hot, summer hours. In addition, it is important to comb its hair daily and to prevent the hair getting into its eyes by keeping it trimmed.
History and Role: This breed originated in France and was initially used as a hunting dog for water fowl such as ducks and geese. Over the years it underwent evolutionary adaptations and was bred in four different sizes, amongst them the toy and miniature poodles that were mainly the dogs that sat on the laps of the noble ladies of those times. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: The poodle is a very active animal, sociable, full of life, athletic and intelligent. It is particularly loyal but is liable to be most possessive. It adapts easily, has an easy-going nature and can be a wonderful pet. It is still a hunting dog in its genes, quite a good swimmer and uses its good sense of smell to quite an extent. Food for thought: An energetic and bouncy dog, needing a lot of activity. It is important to note that if it is not strictly educated and trained, it may develop behavior problems. One great advantage for many owners is the fact that the poodle is extremely clean and does not shed its hair at all, but on the other hand, it requires combing at least twice a week and haircuts every two months.
History and Role: The origins of this breed are, needless to say, in France, where it was used as a guard-dog, and has therefore a strong inclination towards guarding. It is a small dog but built with strong body mass and muscle. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Active, courageous, tough and with very strong will-power. It can also be very friendly, intelligent and easy-natured. Needs a lot of affection, warmth and love. Food for thought: Gentle towards children, though generally aggressive towards other dogs. The biggest disadvantage of this breed is possible health problems; it has a very small, flattened nose causing difficulty in breathing, particularly while taking longs walks in hot weather. It is recommended to take note and keep a watch out for eye infections and bald patches that might appear in the creases of the face.
History and Role: Cockers are skilled hunters, hunting mainly birds and rabbits. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Cockers have a highly developed sense of smell giving them a great deal of motivation as well as ability to detect game even from a distance of many meters. The American Cocker is a more easy-going breed, more compact, balanced and patient, and is often used as a show dog or as a companion and less as a hunting dog. The English Cocker is more active, energetic, independent and stubborn, with a highly developed hunting instinct, happy and full of life. It is strong-willed and determined but also very affectionate and gentle. Food for thought: Both the English and American Cockers can live in apartments but they need to be taken out for walks on a regular basis in order to let off steam. Attention must be paid to their long ears which should be checked regularly. Since it is an independent and stubborn dog, it is not always willing to do as it is told and has a tendency to bite, so one must be cautious around children.
History and Role: Originating in Germany, its role was to protect its owners and to attack wild animals, making it a good protecting and guard dog. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: The Boxer is energetic, agile, domineering and fearless when it comes to defending its owners. Most Boxers are very sociable animals, forming strong bonds with their owners and remaining loyal at any price. Food for thought: This is a large dog with an athletic, muscular build, making it important to begin training at an early age. Boxers remain energetic all their lives therefore they require a great deal of physical exercise.
Jack Russell Terrier
History and Role: Originating in England and named after the man who developed this breed. The objective was to raise a hunting dog that could chase foxes and run into their long and narrow caves in order to root them out. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: A rough type of dog, full of life, fearless and independent, stubborn and strong-willed. As a pet, it is very affectionate and extremely loyal to its owners, and this desire to please makes training relatively easy. Food for thought: It is important to understand that this is one of the more intelligent breeds and so it needs to be with someone who will challenge it. Though small, it is highly energetic and bouncy, needing a great deal of physical exercise, long walks and, of course, discipline. Since the hunting drive is deeply ingrained in its character, it is not advisable to bring it into a house where there are rabbits and guinea pigs.
History and Role: Originating in China, where it served as a guard dog, fighting dog, hunting dog (particularly of wild boar) and also as a herding dog. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Very domineering, might be aggressive towards other dogs and strangers. With its owner, on the other hand, it is easy going and most affectionate. Food for thought: The Shar Pei is suspicious of strangers, has a highly developed guarding instinct, meaning that it is likely to attack should a stranger enter its territory. Requires strict, though kind, training and, providing it gets enough exercise, it can be raised in an apartment. Its outward appearance is very special and attractive, but it is important to take into account that if one does not keep it clean and take care of its excess skin and wrinkles, serious skin conditions are liable to develop, accompanied by severe body odor.
History and Role: There are many types of terriers, most of them small hunting dogs intended to hunt rabbits, foxes and even rats. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Energetic, bouncy, full of life and smart. Dogs of this breed are in demand mainly because of their easy- going natures, their patience with children and their type of hair which rarely sheds. Food for thought: Good family dogs, who adapt easily to life in an apartment on condition that they get enough exercise. These dogs, that often enjoy their owners’ inclination to spoil them, need training and establishing of clear boundaries. Their coats should be cared for, combed twice a week and cut every few months, or at least tied into a topknot to prevent the hair from getting into their eyes.
History and Role: Originating in Germany it is actually a result of multiple crossbreeding with highly developed guarding and fighting instincts. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: The Doberman is fearless and will not hesitate to protect its territory and its owners. It is blindly loyal to its owners, full of life, courageous, energetic, determined, and may act impulsively, unless this tendency is curbed. This can be achieved by the owners being relaxed, gentle but assertive. Food for thought: Not everyone can raise a Doberman. It is important to start training at an early age and to show it who is the boss. One must take into account that the Doberman is wary of strangers and has a highly developed guarding instinct, even when it is intended only as a pet. It is a very emotional dog that does not like conflicts, needs walks and cannot bear to be tied up in a yard.
History and Role: Herding dog originating in England, whose role it was to protect and gather the flock. Distinctive characteristics and unique abilities: Very energetic, determined and naturally gentle. Though it is a working dog with very strong and dominant genes, it is loyal to its owners and easy to train due to its high intelligence. It takes an interest in strangers but is not generally aggressive, has an excellent sense of smell but has a greater tendency to use its sense of sight. With the flock it mainly looks at the sheep and hypnotizes them with its stare when they stray from the herd. Food for thought: Charming, intelligent and a distinctively beautiful dog. However, it is preferable to let it remain a herding dog and not bring it to live with a city family that cannot supply its particular needs. It is virtually impossible to root out the herding dog instinct from the Border Collie, making the adjustment to city life very difficult. It can be a good family dog but one should be aware that if the need to exert a lot of energy is not satisfied, the dog is liable to destroy the house. It tends to chase after bicycles or cats, and almost anything that moves fast is likely to knock it off balance and make it want to catch it. In the absence of a flock, it can herd the children into a group.
A Puppy for You
Considering adopting a puppy? The kids are nagging you for a puppy and promising to take care of it?
The Pesach vacation is at its peak and many parents are struggling with the question of how to keep the kids occupied. Add to that the fact that many children persistently plead with their parents to get them a dog, promising to take care of it themselves. Now you will understand why the percentage of dog adoptions, particularly small puppies, shoots up dramatically during this season. However, this issue also has another side to it: often, after a few weeks, the children’s enthusiasm wears off, the burden of caring for the dog falls on the parents and the dog is given to others or transferred to a pound.
How do you go about adopting a dog? What influence does a pet have on children? And what is important to take into consideration in order for the adoption to succeed? Read all about these questions, and more, in the following article.
There is no doubt that it is hard to remain unmoved by a puppy. Those captivating eyes, soft fur, their boundless curiosity as they set off on their voyage of discovery of the world around them – all of these cause a great many people to decide to adopt a puppy without considering the whole picture and without taking into account the consequences of taking that furry, adorable creature into their home.
“It’s not easy to raise a puppy”, anyone who has had the experience will hasten to enlighten you. Apart from the limitless sweetness and the vision of the puppy growing and taking shape in front of your eyes, there are also needs that one must see to in the house, frequent walks that need to be taken, and potential damage to furniture and other household items. Often, as the initial enthusiasm with the puppy wears off, the expectations and dreams meet up with reality and the adoption comes to a sorrowful and bitterly disappointing end, both for the puppy and its owner.
For this reason there is a sort of vicious circle, within which there is a constant high demand for puppies, but at the same time desertion that takes place usually a few weeks or months after the adoption. In evidence: 65% of the dogs given to the Society in 2010 were puppies of less than one year of age, more than half of them even less than three months old.
“In the Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals in Israel, there are many dogs”, says Na’ama Rolnik, an adoption counselor and animal trainer in the Society. “Some of them were born to un-spayed bitches in their homes, whose owners didn’t take responsibility to find homes for them, and some were adopted from various places and given to us when their owners couldn’t handle the burden of rearing them.
In the best instances the puppies are brought directly to us, but there are a great number of puppies, as well as adult dogs, who are just thrown out on the street and abandoned. If they are lucky, someone finds them and brings them in to us. Finding a carton box filled with very young puppies is a matter of course, and it breaks ones heart to see them starting off their lives in a cell in the dog pound instead of in a warm and loving home.”
Children and Dogs
Rearing dogs has many advantages and research has shown pet owners to be healthier and more relaxed people who enjoy a longer life span. For many children the family pet is their best friend; a companion who gives never-ending love and helps the child to develop responsibility, self-confidence, empathy to others less fortunate than themselves and the ability to give and receive emotionally. It is therefore obvious why dogs are used as therapeutic aids in therapy through animals.
The correct way to turn an animal into a loving household pet is to treat it like another member of the family who is dependent upon the other family members for its existence and happiness. It is not sufficient to bring it home “for the kids” and it is important that everyone realizes that it is not a question of a temporary arrangement.
Experts recommend including a new pet in the family when the child is at least six years old, but the timing depends on the maturity level of the child, and that, you, as parents, can gauge better than anyone else. A primary condition of a child’s readiness is his ability to display self control and to respond to the word “No”. If you are hesitatant, arrange to let the children spend time with animals in friends’ homes and observe their behavior.
“Many families with small children opt to adopt puppies, thinking that they are easier to rear and more suitable for children”, adds Rolnick. “This is not necessarily true – puppies are more fragile, demand more attention and care while tending to scratch and bite in play. Often the correct choice is a mature dog, who is calm, patient and used to having children around”.
Self Image and Emotional Development
“Rearing animals and fostering links with them can constitute added value to a child’s development and may even contribute considerably to promoting a child’s positive self image and emotional development”, according to Yael Leviel, a clinical social worker, therapist of animal assisted therapy, and guidance counselor for parents. “The child learns to develop empathy and better understanding towards the ‘other’, and experiencing the warmth of the animal’s loving response can help the child to feel more positively towards itself and to feel worthy of love, a thing that is so difficult to develop in our children in our competitive world that offers only meager success and reinforcement.
“Another contribution is in the field of social skills. A child who takes care of animals can more successfully handle frustration and will have a richer set of problem solving strategies. The parents’ role is to serve as a support system, to act as middle-men, to break-down the responsibilities of caring for the pet into sub-units that are clear and defined, to be partners and also to help the child understand and regulate emotional reactions arising in various situations.
“Parents intending to bring a puppy home should coordinate expectations according to the child’s age level and the development stage he has reached. This will reduce disappointment on all sides, and prevent the child and all the family feeling a sense of failure, and perhaps in the long run, an unsuccessful adoption. Five to six year old children, for example, are still at the development stage as regards concepts such as responsibility, understanding of results and consequences of actions. Therefore, one should not expect a child to take on full responsibility for caring for the pet. A child can be expected to carry out defined, daily tasks such as feeding and giving water or brushing the dog. In addition it is recommended that parents divide up the tasks associated with caring for the puppy amongst all members of the family, including themselves. This will prevent over-loading the child, and the care of the dog will become a family matter that brings everyone together rather than a source of dissension or a heavy burden”.
Where to Adopt?
Since the meaning of adoption is the addition of a new friend to the household, it is preferable if all members of the family share every stage in the process. Encouraging children to collect information about dogs and to learn about their different needs is highly recommended. This gives them a sense of responsibility, partnership and dedication to the issue. Dogs for adoption can be found on internet listings, among friends who have bitches who are about to have a litter of puppies and, of course, at the various organizations. We recommend going through the process in an organized, experienced place that is under veterinarian supervision.
In the Society one can choose a puppy from a wide range of dogs, and should a problem arise, one has recourse to a reliable organization. Don’t be tempted to buy from people selling puppies on the street. Such people have turned their dogs’ wombs into a commercial enterprise, and the puppies that they are offering have usually been separated from their mothers at too early a stage. Without a check-up from a veterinarian and being very young puppies who are susceptible to illnesses typical to puppies, you are likely to get an unhealthy puppy that will lead to serious distress at home.
It is important to understand that adopting an animal is not a caprice or hobby that one can easily drop when one is fed up with it. This is not a case of a toy whose throwing away has only minor consequences, but a living creature that is dependent upon us and is affected by every change and transition in its life. In addition, these dogs have already experienced abandonment once and in order to prevent another one, the Society does all in its power to match the dog to its prospective adoptive home.
The Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals in Israel, has tens of years experience in handing over dogs for adoption, and as a result of the large amount of knowledge accumulated over the years, an orderly process of responsible adoption has been constructed – adoption that starts with a conscious decision and not just momentary enthusiasm or as a means to satisfy the desires of a child, a serious commitment by adoptive persons, informed about animals, who genuinely intend to raise and care for the animal for the rest of its life.
The process includes completing a form, meeting with an adoption counselor (whose aim is to match the animal by taking into consideration the desires of the adopting person, his home and his way of life), a veterinarian check-up, giving of immunization, insertion of an electronic identity chip and a sterilization or castration procedure. The Society’s doctors even offer training and tips for taking care of dogs.
The meeting with the adoption counselor includes an explanation of how the adopter’s life is going to change upon adding a dog to his house and what the specific needs of the dog are. Amongst other things, points for consideration are raised, including the less attractive aspects of raising a puppy ; for example, taking him out several times a day for a walk, the dirt and the possibility of damage that may be caused, the expense of dog food and veterinary treatments and the investment of time necessary for all of the above. It is important to remember that the dog will live by your side for many years to come, during which time the children will grow up and be inducted to the army or will leave the house. He won’t remain young forever and adopting him for a limited period of time and then deserting him will damage him badly.
As mentioned, a puppy requires some adaptation time, during which he is house-trained and taught not to destroy things with his chewing and games, all of which means a great investment of time, patience and attention. If you are not able to provide all of this, don’t be tempted to adopt a puppy, even if he is adorable and the children really want one. It is possible that an older dog will suit you better, being house-trained and used to living in a family home. He will be grateful for the new home you have given him.
Educating and training the puppy
Dogs, especially puppies, need company of their own kind. In this socialization process they teach each other boundaries, play and enjoy themselves together. With regard to a young puppy it is important to take into consideration that education during his development stage is essential and without guidance, unwanted behavior patterns are likely to set in. Many owners don’t invest in training, and when they give up and decide to give the puppy away, it is even more difficult to train him.
In order to train a puppy, one can use manuals, internet guides, or get help from professional trainers. The objective of training is to improve communications between man and dog and thus prevent the dogs from damaging themselves, the environment and others. Including the children in training the puppy will contribute to their sense of responsibility and maturity and to the success of the process.
Remember that the dog and also the family are undergoing a period of adaptation, but patience pays off and in the end you will gain a new friend who will bestow unconstrained joy, love, friendship and loyalty on the whole family.
If you decide that you are ready to adopt a puppy, we warmly recommend that you read the special guide book about adopting dogs, that includes much information about choosing the most suitable dog, preparation of the house, the day of adoption and bringing the dog home, how to act during the first days, raising the dog alongside children, the dog’s health, the laws relating to rearing him, many tips about training and a special chapter dedicated to puppies. In our adoption section you can view photos as well as getting information on the various dogs available for adoption who are waiting in the Society for a warm home.