A dog's life

While the Jerusalem shelters take on the Herculean task of trying to protect and find homes for all the city's strays, one woman has taken a different tactic. "I don't remember how it started," says Tirza Roi, a local musician, "but I looked at the situation in Israel and there were just too many homeless dogs and not enough families to adopt them, and I love dogs and wanted to help." Out of her Katamon apartment, Roi works to find homes - both temporary and permanent - for the dogs she finds on the street in order to keep them out of the shelters. "The situation [at the shelters] is horrible," she says. "There are diseases, they all get sick, they don't get enough attention and they're always in their cages. Dogs need attention and love, and instead, they put them to sleep all the time because there are too many and the stronger dogs attack the weaker ones. So I try to find them temporary homes where they can stay until I find them a permanent family." At the moment, Roi works with a woman named Sylvia, who takes care of the dogs in her Jerusalem home on a temporary basis but charges NIS 40 per day per dog. As Roi pays for everything out of her own pocket - to the extent that her phone line has been cut off numerous times - finances limit her ability to help. "I don't have enough money to do this on my own," says Roi, who has a dog of her own, "and I need people to volunteer to help find permanent homes for these dogs." Like the JSPCA's shelter manager Eve Beili and the municipality's chief veterinarian Dr. Zohar Dworkin, Roi says the problem is too many puppies. "Everyone who has a dog needs to spay them because what happens is there are always tons of puppies and it's very hard to find them homes," she explains. "That's the only way to solve the problem. Otherwise, there's no end in sight. There's just too many puppies, they're all brought to shelters and eventually they die or are killed - it just breaks your heart." A few weeks ago, she relates, two abandoned puppies were tied to a pole outside the Central Bus Station, apparently with the hope that someone would feed them or take them home. Three days later, however, one of the puppies was dead and the other very sick, and a volunteer took the puppy to the vet, where it recovered and was found a new home. "When people find puppies or abandoned dogs they usually bring them to shelters and that's not a good idea, especially if they bring them to the city pound, where they kill them," she says. "They should call me, or do what I do and try to find them a temporary home while looking for a permanent home. Puppies need a lot of affection and warmth. A puppy can die if no one pays any attention to him. "Do you know why dogs are called 'kelev' in Hebrew?" she continues. "Because they're kulo lev - all heart - they love you, kiss you when you come home, are very loyal, more so than people, and are very intelligent. They are amazing creatures, but they need us to take better care of them." For more information, to provide a donation or foster a dog please call 054-4470-534.