A shidduch gone awry

Eight puppies entered the world four short months ago. The problem is, nobody wanted them.

Eight tiny new beings entered the world four short months ago. Each one of God's precious creatures, a potential little bundle of joy. A pet for somebody to walk with, tail wagging gleefully in the upcoming crisp, cool breezes of Jerusalem's autumn. Or a flying blur chasing a floating Frisbee in Sacher Park. Perhaps just a friendly loyal companion to a lonely single or a family. Or an additional sense of protection and security against the rash of burglaries which plague the capital. Each of these eight, little brown furry balls, helpless, awaiting the love, kindness and affection of man. The problem is, as is so often the case, nobody wanted them. The puppies in question were the union of an irresponsible match, a shidduch, as I've come to think of it, gone terribly, terribly wrong. One of the shadchanim (matchmakers), a neighbor of mine who owns a female dog, unspayed, ovaries intact, able to come, go and wander the neighborhood as she pleases. The other, a nameless male dog from up the street, not neutered, reproductive organs intact, who likewise wanders unsupervised, able and willing to inseminate as he so pleases. Through the chill of early spring and now well into summer, I have walked past the home in question, together with my lovely wife and our faithful and loyal companion Halva, a six-year-old Canaani so named for her color. I found her as a puppy near Shuafat, huddled with her three sisters against the bitter cold and driving rain of a March night, her mother lying dead in the road a quarter of a kilometer away, struck sometime earlier by a passing car. Together, Halva, my wife and myself have observed our eight new neighbors - neglected, unwanted, their numbers steadily dwindling as some have "disappeared," and others have been "stolen," this according to the owner. Others, as happens so often, have simply been handed over to the endless throng of people who spontaneously decide they want a puppy, see within a day, week or month that it is too much trouble and pass it on to someone else, or place one of the many daily "Adopt-a-puppy" ads on Janglo, deposit the puppy in a kibbutz or moshav, or take the puppy to the overflowing and overwhelmed shelters where the life of an unwanted and unclaimed dog is now measured in mere days. As the cycle of endless walks with Halva has continued, we have observed the participants of this "shidduch gone wrong." As the seasonal hormones have subsided, we have seen a mutual chill develop between the two, she ignores him, and he, her. They have passed each other almost anonymously with no hint of recognition. No wink, no wagging tails, no acknowledgement of their previous union. As the calendar page has slowly turned from June to July, however, canine hormones have again been reborn and the call of the wild is in full bloom. And again, I contemplate the phenomenon of unwanted cats and dogs which roam Israel's streets. Though I am an observant Jew, I will not touch the halachic issues regarding spaying and neutering dogs; there are others whose knowledge in this area far surpasses the rather limited wisdom which I can impart to you. Whether or not one chooses to spay or neuter a dog or to briefly "sell" it to a non-Jew for the purpose of having the operation performed is for he, she, or a knowledgeable rabbinic authority to decide. In the case of Halva, we have decided not to. However, the fact that she has never known a minute outdoors in which she has not been connected to her expandable seven-meter leash has ensured that she will never become pregnant. A very successful method of birth control. What I can impart to you, however, is not wisdom-based, rather it is dictated by the good old-fashioned laws of common sense: an unspayed or un-neutered dog allowed to roam freely will impregnate or become impregnated just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So what have these hot sultry days of July brought together with their resurgence of canine hormones? A renewed interest between our two four-legged protagonists. He has again begun to frequent the neighborhood, patiently waiting outside the door of his ex. She, again, with the opening of the front door, off with him on their unsupervised walks and forays in the bushes, ready to reclaim affection from he who jilted her so. And my wife, Halva and myself? We are moving in the coming weeks. The prospect of this move gladdens us. As does the thought that we will not be forced to bear witness to the next litter of brown furry joy whose unwanted entrance into the world is almost certainly mere months away.