The Hadera Loves Animals Dog Shelter was founded in 2005 as a result of the love and determination of several caring Hadera residents who keenly wished to improve the conditions of the dogs at the Municipal Dog Pound. They regularly volunteered to walk the dogs, supervise how they were being treated, and advertise them for adoption.
The dogs that the municipal dog catcher is called upon to fetch or that he sees wandering around the city are taken there. The Pound is obliged to take in all dogs but unfortunately, the conditions are limited and very basic which means some dogs are euthanized.
The municipal vet was most appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts and helped them to obtain a small piece of derelict land opposite the Hadera train station, which was part of a junkyard. It was enclosed by a broken-down fence, and included an old converted container which was once used as an office, so there was electricity and water. Now it is used to store food in metal containers, refrigerate the medications, serve as a storage house for blankets and an operating theater for the vet, where, each week, two to three of the “residents" are neutered.
Advertising is very important, so a website was set up www.haderapets.org
Volunteers also help by advertising the dogs on websites such as yad2 and Facebook.
Every day there are many phone calls or requests on the website from people who can't keep their dogs anymore. Sometimes requests are also received from other animal welfare organizations, to take in a dog or two, and the shelter helps out whenever possible.
Kennels, leashes and dog bowls were donated. In the beginning they took dogs from the municipal pound, found them adoptive homes, and with the donations received, bought the dog food and vaccinations. As the community learned that there was a dog shelter, these dedicated women would find dogs and puppies dumped there. Although the shelter is able take in some of the dogs that are left outside its gate, sometimes it is too full and therefore there is no choice but to send them to the municipal pound.
The manager of the shelter, Vered Baruch, started as a volunteer some four years ago, but she found the involvement so meaningful and rewarding that it didn't take too long before she applied to run the shelter, which houses up to 30 dogs and puppies. Her dedication is an inspiration to all. She has “official working hours” but makes herself available whenever needed.
Over the years the conditions have been greatly improved. Thanks to the generosity of a local engineering firm, a more secure fence has been erected around the shelter. This became necessary after local children climbed in and stole all the dogs. Fortunately, they were caught and the dogs returned before possibly ending up on a dog fight circuit. Large cages to hold two to four dogs were built, and an outside area was enclosed with a high fence and gate, giving the dogs a yard to run and play in after being released from their cages. All this was made possible through donations from private sources and the adoption of the dogs.
Every morning at 07:30 the dogs are let out, their cages scrubbed with soap and bleach, bowls washed, clean newspapers put down, and the blankets in their kennels changed when dirty or wet. One volunteer comes every weekday morning to walk the dogs. In addition, on set days during the week, there are groups of children and teenagers who walk the dogs. The Democratic School of Givat Olga has two groups who come with their teacher and take the dogs out for brisk walks too. There is another project, run by Eran Hessing, for young teenagers with behavioral problems, who learn dog training techniques and take the dogs for training sessions.
At 11:00 the dogs are ready to return to their cages for their morning meal.
In the afternoons, from 15:00 to 18:00 during the winter months and from 16:00 to 19:00 in the summer, the dogs are again let out to play in the yard and are taken for walks by young volunteers. The older dogs are fed again in the evening while the puppies are fed four times each day. Some of the young volunteers come because of their love of dogs and some because of their compulsory community service in grade 10. (The volunteers must be over the age of 12.)
Medications are administered first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
During the week a cleaner is employed in the mornings, but in the afternoons and on Saturdays, the shelter is manned by volunteers. There are several families who regularly picnic in the nearby forest and make time to walk some of the dogs whilst there. Other families who cannot keep an animal at home are also happy to walk the dogs from time to time.
The shelter is very strict about having all the dogs vaccinated and, except for the young puppies, neutered, since "prevention is better than cure". On a voluntary basis, once a week, veterenarian Dr. Yossi Mordoch comes to give vaccinations and to check the new dogs. Puppies that are adopted before they are old enough to be neutered are operated on at a later stage. Adoptions are usually arranged in the afternoons, but if someone can only come in the morning, special arrangements are made.
Kindly people donate old blankets, clothing and newspapers for putting in the cages. Some even bring bags of dog food and/or cash donations. Unfortunately there are others who leave cartons with three to nine young puppies or frightened dogs tied to the gate.
There are many heartwarming stories involving the dogs in the care of the shelter, and the following are just a few of the special anecdotes:
Gavri, a small black and white mixed breed dog, arrived from the municipal pound and settled in well. After a few weeks, two sisters came along to adopt him. Unfortunately, a few days later, they brought him back. Gavri didn't seem too upset by the rejection and was sunning himself in the yard when a lady walked past the fence, stopped, looked, and then gave a scream!
It transpired that Gavri was the family dog that had gone missing a couple of months before. The lady had come to the train station to meet her daughter who was returning from an overseas trip. She had found parking near the shelter, and by chance, had looked at the dogs. Her daughter couldn't believe her eyes. Gavri, at the age of 14 years young, was reunited with his family. Truly one of the lucky ones.
Carlos, a cute little male terrier, was brought in from a kibbutz, y for “causing trouble”. He was advertised and adopted by a family from Givatayim the day after he was neutered. He hadn't yet been microchipped and thus the shelter was reluctant to let him go. However, it was arranged that the family would return Carlos later for vaccination and the microchip.
The next day the shelter received a frantic call from the owner. One of the children had opened the door and Carlos had escaped. To make matters worse, they were moving that day to a new apartment elsewhere in Givatayim. The owner repeatedly returned to the old apartment to search for Carlos but without success. Two volunteers went to help with the search and displayed posters with his photograph and contact details. The next afternoon, a phone call advised the shelter that his photo had been recognized and Carlos was reunited with his family. He was microchipped the following day.
Bombi, a small brown puppy, was left outside the shelter last winter. He seemed to be paralyzed and had a swollen head and Vered rushed him to the vet for treatment. She then took him home and cared for him. Slowly he started to recover but carried on dragging his right front paw. A neurologist at Bet Dagan agreed with the shelter's vet that the leg had to be amputated. By this time he had been returned to the shelter and was getting thoroughly spoiled by the volunteers. He had grown fat and healthy.
The amputation was carried out when he was six months old, and he was taken home by one of the volunteers to recover. By the next morning he was eating and hopping around on three legs and within days he was running about, playing with the other dogs at the house. A friend of the family, Amy, a student learning animal therapy, came to visit and fell in love with him. She adopted him and they live in Raanana, but both travel to Jerusalem twice a week to study. He is the most popular “student” on campus!
The shelter has had an extremely positive effect on the community, especially the children. To be made aware of how to treat animals with love, care and respect, with the reward of having the dogs respond to them is an important part of their education.
Annually, new families are found for around 400 dogs (a donation is requested from each adoptive family). Some have come from as far away as the Dead Sea, Eilat and the Golan, proof positive that advertising brings results! All these families are encouraged to keep in contact with the shelter and to ask for advice whenever needed, for any problems that may arise with the adopted dog.
Regular donations are needed, but right now there is a particularly urgent need for money in order to purchase another container so that the puppies can be separated from the adult dogs.
The shelter's ambitious vision for the future is to be able to offer the community neutering services at reduced prices, but for that they will need an improved operating theater and, of course, a much bigger budget.
So, if you are looking to adopt a pet don't look any further, because Hadera’s dog shelter is waiting to welcome you. Anyone interested and able to volunteer their services for a few hours each week will also be greeted with open arms. In addition, anyone willing to offer a caring home for puppies for up to 10 days at a time, would be doing the shelter a great service. Please contact Vered 054 700 7927, Sigal 054 688 5521 or Anthea 054 595 3187.
The manager, staff and volunteers of the Hadera Loves Animals Dog Shelter are justly proud of the work that they do and would like to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt thanks to all their supporters.
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