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Article by Mira  (Israel)




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It all started with an article I saw on the Internet. It said that many people from the north had gone away and left their pets behind. At the end of the article, it said that anyone interested in volunteering should contact the listed telephone number. I called the minute I saw this, because I had been wanting to help for a long time, but most articles didn't mention any contact number. I ran to my mother and she called and left a message and phone number for them to call back.


The next day they still had not called, so my mother rang again. This time somebody answered, and my mother explained she has a child who wants to volunteer. After the journey, I spoke to a friend from the organization about this. She said it wasn't common to allow a relatively young girl on such a dangerous trip, and that they usually only took people over 18.


But because my mother and I pushed, and my mother had approved it, they allowed me to go.




I was told to come to a certain address at 7 PM. When I got there, we went to collect more volunteers, and then we drove up north.


The guys in the van were very nice. We were a group of about eight people. Half way there, another vehicle joined us, and we split into two groups of about four people each. At around 11 PM we reached the first neighborhood.


We got out of the car and began filling jerry cans with water. Then we searched for places where there were abandoned animals looking for food. We went from one area to another and repeated this. At the entrance to one neighborhood, we saw a group of about five dogs. They sat and were very quiet. We wanted to check if they were abandoned, and we tried to approach them with water and food. The closer we came, the more they withdrew and backed up. They were very frightened. "The sirens must have messed up something in them," said someone in the group. For those who don't know, dogs' hearing is much better than ours. They hear tones we don't, so just imagine what the sirens do to their ears.




We decided to leave food and water and move away. The dogs now sat in a different place. Finally, we managed to get close to them and pet them. After we went away, they came nearer and ate and drank.


From there we continued to our next destination. We came to a closed neighborhood that seemed well cared for because the vegetation hadn't dried up yet. This meant people were taking care of it. There was a guard at the entrance who pointed to places he thought there might be hungry animals whose families had left. He led us to a house whose residents had apparently left. We didn't see any animals in the yard, but we saw bowls with water and lots of food. At least they had cared for their animals a bit.... Just in case, we left food there all the same.


Apart from providing food and water, we also put up posters and signs asking people who remained in the places to fill up the water bowls. There too we left water and food next to the garbage containers.




After a short drive, we reached the town of Nahariya or somewhere close to it. There were cats there that were so fat they could barely move! There were also two really sweet dogs. It was about 3 AM. In the background we heard noises. The older guys figured some were made by airplanes and others were from the bombings.


Mira (left) and new friends
help a wounded dog.

We didn't know what to do. It was late at night and we couldn't decide whether to stay in a safe place (such as a shelter) and go back in the morning, or return now. The older guys decided it would be better to go back now because it would be more dangerous in the morning. The truth is the noises were really frightening. I couldn't tell an aircraft from a bombing, but I trusted the big guys.


Eventually we started heading home. On the way we stopped to pick up the second group and at the same time took a picture as a souvenir.


After a long drive we got back home. The people were dropped off by their houses. I was last (I also got in the car first).


This is one experience I will never forget. It was fun and also gave me immense satisfaction. After all, we managed to help the poor animals people had left behind without food and water.



To find out more about CHAI and Hakol Chai's campaign to rescue animals in northern Israel during the war with Lebanon, see Rescue in Northern Israel