A furry oasis

Homeless cats and dogs in Tel Aviv are not without hope, as the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals works to find them a future.

puppy with girl 88 248 (photo credit: )
puppy with girl 88 248
(photo credit: )
The barking of dogs and meowing of cats at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Tel Aviv were drowned out, replaced instead with the thrilled shrieks of children with severe physical and learning disabilities, as they visited the animals at the center. The center is an independent organization run primarily by volunteers who shelter abandoned animals until the pets can be provided with new homes. In the meantime, the animals are not short of human interaction, as the SPCA always welcomes visitors and tour groups. Two weeks ago, Beit Galgalim (House of Wheels), a summer camp which caters to disabled children, took advantage of that hospitality. The outing was initially as frenetic as a typical summer camp fieldtrip, but Snir Sharoni, spokesperson and educational worker for the SPCA, quickly captured the attention of the campers when he gave an introduction about animals, and invited the children to share personal stories about their own pets from home. Although the campers enjoyed petting and interacting with the animals, the main focus of the tour was educational. According to Sharoni, teaching the younger generation about animals and the responsibilities that come with caring for them is of the utmost priority. "We are keen to explain the responsibility owners must take for their pets," he told The Jerusalem Post. "People [often] don't understand that a cat or dog must be cared for always, for the rest of their lives. Pets must be fed properly, cleaned, walked and loved." "Even more importantly," Sharoni continued, "owners often overlook the importance of castrating or neutering their pets." Perhaps the most important function of the center is in its screening process of potential pet owners. "We look after the animals like they are our children," Hilma Smoshkovitz, the chairperson of the Tel Aviv-based SPCA, said. "If someone wants to adopt a dog or cat, we take them through a strict interview process to ensure they are able to adequately provide for their new pet."