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Gaza's Stray Dogs Receive Care and Rehabilitation at Israeli Farm

Transforming Trauma into Trust - One Dog at a Time.

Dogs are often referred to as man's best friend, but when mistreated, they can exhibit behaviors far from friendly. In Israel, a compassionate initiative is turning the tide for these loyal creatures from Gaza, saving them from certain euthanasia and giving them a new lease on life.

The Shanti Farm, established in 2019 by Inbal Kessem, has dedicated itself to rescuing animals for years. However, the ongoing conflict in Gaza has brought a surge of abused and neglected dogs needing urgent care.

“We assume dogs coming to us have undergone very harsh training in Gaza, involving starvation, beatings, and being fenced off,” said Inbal Kessem, the manager of Shanti, in an interview with Ynet. The horrors these dogs faced are unimaginable, from severe trauma caused by explosions to being shot and burned. Some dogs were so aggressive that they seemed beyond help.

One such case was Julian, a dog whose behavior was so erratic that euthanasia seemed like the only option. “They said the dog was crazy and psychotic, and there’s no chance to rehabilitate him,” Kessem recounted. However, with determination and care, Julian was taken in by Shanti. After six months of intensive rehabilitation, Julian started to show significant improvement, interacting more calmly with humans and other animals. “The road ahead is still long, but I believe in him,” Kessem added.

Kessem’s philosophy is that every dog deserves a chance, especially those who have been severely mistreated. “Many people simply avoid dealing with them, and then they’re euthanized with no other option on the table,” she explained.

Since the ground war in Gaza began, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have also played a role in rescuing animals, including cats, dogs, parrots, owls, and even a neglected lion from the Gaza zoo. Lieutenant Lihi Agiv, a communications officer in the 12th Division, shared her experience of rescuing a puppy on the front lines. “I was touring with the division commander when I noticed a skinny, scared little puppy that ran to us. She was shaking. I have a dog at home so I’m very sensitive to animals. I picked her up and took her with me,” she told Ynet.

After feeding and hydrating the puppy, Lt. Agiv knew that war-torn Beit Hanoun was no place for such a vulnerable creature. The puppy was sent to her new owner, receiving a warm welcome from the soldiers.

Israel’s efforts to rehabilitate these dogs reflect the nation's values of compassion and resilience. By providing a haven for these animals, Israel not only saves lives but also showcases the enduring spirit of care and community. Share this heartwarming story and consider subscribing to our newsletter for more inspiring updates on Israel and its people.