The last request of the angel of cats and dogs

Shulamit wants to die at home rather than in a hospice, with her own two dogs and two cats beside her.

November 22, 2007 13:10
4 minute read.
cats metro 88

cats metro 88 . (photo credit: )


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She is hospitalized in critical condition, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, as most people would, she thinks only of the fate of the AHAVA association that saves thousands of animals each year and helps many Holocaust survivors Shulamit Levi knows she's dying. She cannot sleep at night - not because of the pain, which even morphine doesn't manage to suppress completely, but because of her deep concern for the fate of the 300 or so cats and dogs whose lives depend on her, and for the fate of the AHAVA Association for Animal Rescue which she has voluntarily managed for the last three years. Shulamit is also worried about who will now help the Holocaust survivors whom she helped so much with the special project that began within the framework of AHAVA and expanded to providing physical and material assistance to the survivors themselves. She ran the project and also donated almost all of her personal resources to finance the pet food and assistance to the Holocaust survivors. AHAVA Association volunteers are stunned: "This woman has devoted her entire life to helping others. She helped Holocaust survivors, the elderly and destitute, and saved thousands of cats and dogs, giving away all her own money to help others." Now Shulamit has pancreatic cancer, a particularly virulent type - but in her case it was discovered when the cancer had already metastasized into her liver and other organs. Moreover, the cancer is affecting her nerve centers, which causes excruciating pain. She is hospitalized in critical condition, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, as most people would, she thinks only of the fate of the AHAVA association that saves thousands of animals each year and helps many Holocaust survivors. Without her management, the voluntary association might collapse. Another thing troubling her nights is the fate of 28 cats and dogs she saved, who are now waiting alone in her empty apartment for adoption. They are taken care of by the volunteers of AHAVA, but Shulamit wants so much for them to find a home and not spend the rest of their lives in a shelter. Last week, between the chemotherapy and morphine, what worried Shulamit was whether AHAVA Association volunteers had managed to obtain food for the cats and dogs. Each month, she managed to work miracles, time after time, and find funding for food and medicine for the thousands of cats and dogs looked after by the association. AHAVA's project for Holocaust survivors began with the idea of giving a cat or dog to lonely Holocaust survivors, all expenses paid by the association. The financing also included neutering the animals and providing food supplies for them each month, so that the Holocaust survivor could have a pet for company without having to dip into their own meager resources. AHAVA even paid for boarding kennels for the cats or dogs in the event that the Holocaust survivor had to be hospitalized, leaving no one to take care of their pet. Association volunteers came to the homes of the Holocaust survivors with food for their cats and dogs, only to discover that the fridges were empty. And so, little by little, the project expanded to giving physical and material assistance to the survivors themselves. Aid included supplies of food and cleaning materials, professional help in fixing things around the house and even contributions of fridges and washing machines. Shulamit understood that AHAVA could not undertake to offer financial assistance to the hundreds of Holocaust survivors who applied to the association. Before she collapsed from pain and was hospitalized, she intended to establish a non-profit association to give immediate assistance to Holocaust survivors. She wanted to establish an idealistic association, like AHAVA, where no one would receive a salary, everyone would be volunteers, and every penny would be spent on one thing only - giving much-needed help to Holocaust survivors. Two days before the meeting scheduled to establish the Association for Holocaust Survivors, Shulamit collapsed, and the awful truth about her health condition was revealed. She would like to see the establishment of this association. Last Yom Kippur, Shulamit took in a cat who had been deliberately run over by kids on bicycles. It's back was broken, and the vet recommended putting it to sleep. It is only due to Shulamit's care that that the cat is alive today, is partially able to walk, and even jumps and plays. Shulamit barely slept at all during the 33 days of the Second Lebanon War. She managed the entire rescue campaign for the cats and dogs abandoned in the North, as well as the distribution of tons of food that AHAVA volunteers bought and distributed in the streets in the North, to prevent thousands of homeless dogs and cats from starving to death. Throughout the war, Shulamit said, "If they can remain under fire to save cats and dogs - then I can also go without a little sleep if it helps." In recent years, several elderly people who fed street cats in north Tel Aviv have passed away. Shulamit undertook to feed these cats, who had been suddenly left without anyone to feed them, and so the number of strays under her care reached around 300. AHAVA volunteers work now in shifts - sometimes coming from far away - to feed all of them. They hope that new people will join the association and continue to feed the cats that Shulamit took care of so faithfully. Shulamit wants to die at home rather than in a hospice, with her own two dogs and two cats beside her. All of the other 28 cats and dogs must be taken out of the apartment, and the AHAVA association is begging people to adopt them. If you can help in any way to ease the last days of someone who dedicated her entire life to helping others, please call now, including late at night and Shabbat: 09-9588833.

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