The wasteground where we heard the dog howling
While we’re on holiday in Scotland, we thought we’d tell you the story of our dog Evie. Margaret tells the tale:
We had been in Jerusalem for less than 2 weeks and were in the Vestry of the Church one afternoon working away, when we heard some really piteous howling. So we investigated. Right next to the Church is waste ground, separated by a high wire fence, and there was a large dog with a very long shaggy coat. She was obviously hungry and thirsty and looked frightened. We managed to get some water through the bottom of the fence to her and she was desperately thirsty. She had a collar and what looked like some kind of name tag, so we thought she must belong to somebody and may have got lost. But, because we were so new to Jerusalem, we had no idea how to get help for her. We decided to wait and see if she was there the next day, just in case her owner came to find her.
She was still there the following afternoon, and we decided that was long enough. After a bit of research I found the name of a Shelter for dogs and cats, and phoned for advice, hoping that they would be able to help. I did have to overcome some barriers initially because I do not speak Hebrew and this was the first time we seriously had to negotiate through a foreign language. The dog may be a stray, but she had belonged to somebody at one time and she was in a lot of trouble.
Fortunately, the JSPCA (Jerusalem Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) turned out to be very helpful. A young volunteer came out to meet us and we showed him where the dog was. Somehow he managed to get over the high fence and after a bit of coaxing, the dog went to him, onto the lead and a long walk off the waste ground to the JSPCA van and on to the Shelter. But, we could not forget her, and contacted the Shelter to find out if anybody had claimed her.
It turns out that she was indeed female, and had been chipped and registered. She was 10 years old, pretty old for a dog here and had her vaccinations up to May 2008. The staff at the Shelter managed to get in touch with her owners. They had gone back to Australia and had left her with a man, but they didn’t know his name or where he stayed! They told us there was no chance that anybody would take the dog at her age. The JSPCA do all they can to provide shelter for the animals, but they have so few resources and a huge number of abandoned cats and dogs to deal with. No wonder the staff at the Shelter have got such little faith in their human counterparts. There is an epidemic here of dogs and cats that are not neutered and continue to breed over and over. Many dogs are given as presents irresponsibly and then turned out into the streets. Cats are everywhere, living out of rubbish bins. There are so many cats living rough in Arnona (where we used to live). They are incredibly fierce and territorial. But, you see the tiny little kittens and know that if they survive at all, before they are a few months old the females will be having their first litter. The JSPCA need all the help they can get, because they have the most incredibly difficult and insurmountable job.
We did the obvious thing, I suppose, and asked if we could adopt her. It is possible because we are going to be here for 5 years, and the dog is about 70 in human terms. We were clearly a very good match.