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Spay or Multiply/Prevent Fleas and Disease

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Three gorgeous Canaani mixed breed dogs, one Husky Shephard Akita mix and 13 cats need to be fed, vaccinated, cared for, collared, tagged, and bedded and protected. Please lend a financial hand as a way to support my work here in Israel as I try every day to support a more healthy and kinder society for people and for animals.  

There are many wonderful things about living in historically rich, humanly diverse and geographical spectacular Israel.  There is also a very real shared suffering that goes on here between the humans who have unresolved trauma and the animals who both bear our burden and offer themselves for some deep and fun-loving healing.  As a Clinical Social Worker and Recreational Therapist, my work is both with humans and animals taken from the streets; and within the animal-human bond that heals us both. It’s a tough country with a fast, furious pace and a complex exchange of aggression and passion. Each of us has our part, and mine includes caring for animals from the streets and training them for animal-assisted therapy. 

 Right now we are all in need of funds to cover the cost of my business and the care of the animals. The urgent need for funds accelerated these past few months:

 I live in a house where cats have been fed for 40 by my animal loving landlords.  They are now in their 80s and no longer able to offer the financial or practical care of the cats and the burden has fallen on me.  The four dogs in my heart and my house are all from the streets.; one wet one decided to join us one rainy day this past winter from under a carob tree.  This request and my business plan were all about to be launched in August when I had to leave it all and fly to the states when my 86-year-old dad has a stroke.  My dad, who brought my first puppy home when I was five and started my whole dedicated love and bond with dogs, passed away in August.  My plans all got put on hold while I stayed in the States for four and a half weeks to be with my family and have my own time for healing.  Now we’re four months behind on fundraising and with many food and vet bills and cats who need to be spayed before we have more kittens to feed.  Please consider supporting this as part of a very important larger business plan to take care of the humans and animals that are affected by the constant stress of living in this fascinating and exceedingly complicated traumatized and rich country. 

 A bit more about this:

 Animals have a way of reflecting back to us the ills and misdeeds of us humans. Israel is a nation of immense trauma and misdirected aggression, and unresolved traumas get played out through the mistreatment, misuse, and abuse and neglect if its animals. It’s a natural progression to pass it on to the ones without power. Dogs are often thrown out on the streets; female puppies are thrown to the trash and many abused animals are left on the doorsteps or tied to the animal shelters’ doors. Most people here have acquired their pets because the animal of choice chose them one day out of the street or because the owner was killed in the troubles and needed a new home. Pets here are a bit of a conundrum as many dogs wander the streets on their own and dogs manage the neighborhoods through wandering and territorial behaviors. The freedom of dogs to be off leash and free seems to be an opposing reaction to the powerlessness people have experienced and the intergenerational oppression this country was built from. Free at any cost. But our dogs and cats pay a very high cost.

 Dogs are related to Holocaust memories of being threatened with vicious aggressive dogs. Many religious people are brought up to fear them and think of them as dirty. Cultural influences and realistic farming practices have used dogs for work and guarding and not companionship and family members. Dogs are left outside in all conditions and the cats, oh the cats.  If you’ve ever been to Israel, you just may have found yourself marveling at the sheer presence and resourcefulness of Israel’s street cat culture. There’s even a word pachtulim or trashcan cats in the local slang.  There is a huge problem of unclaimed and uncared for cats on the streets rummaging through the equally vast amounts of trash left all over the place. The trash is a win for the cats. 
But how we treat our animals is a measure of how we treat each other and how we really are inside ourselves. For an American animal-loving therapist walking the world with dogs here been the most painful part of my aliyah or immigration. It has sadly taught me the part of Israeli culture that is cruel, heartless and careless.  It has shown me the ways that people are unwilling to accommodate others or negotiate the space that dogs and humans need to interact safely with the oversight and ultimate control of their owners. There are many wonderful things about living here. There are many caring and compassionate people. The balance is a bit off and the unresolved hurts that people harbor come out quite quickly in the interactions of dogs and humans. 

My focus is in trying to restore a sense of trust that gets broken between people - and often the first reparative relationship for trust is with an animal. Animals offer the uncomplicated relationship. If we can begin to trust with the ones known for unconditional love, we just then may be able to do it with people.

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  • Stephanie Gerster
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs
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