Friday, October 10, 2014


It has been a long time since I have posted.  Yes, I am still alive, still at Shaar Hagai, and still surrounded by dogs.

I was having a very difficult time for some months, and didn’t have the energy or will to write.  To start with, I was not feeling very well.  I am a very healthy person for the most part, and as someone who spends a lot of my time doing physical work, I tend to have various sorts of aches and pains which I try to ignore.  And since every day I look in the mirror at a face that is a little older, I also tend to believe that this kind of feelings are a natural result of being over 25.  But I finally came to the conclusion that the way I was feeling was more than the normal aches and pains – I was exhausted all the time, had no energy for anything, my legs felt weak (not great when you live at the top of about 50 stairs which you have to climb many times a day), and had aches in muscles I never realized existed.  So maybe it was time to consult the doctor…

My doctor has known me for many years, and she knows that I do not just come around to complain.  But she couldn’t find anything specific that was wrong with me. So the agenda was to do all the various tests that she could think of.  A huge nuisance for me!

While this was going on, I had puppies.  A population explosion of puppies!  First was the litter of podengos, and then a few weeks later, two litters of Canaans – one with six puppies and one with ten puppies!  It is very rare for Canaans to have a litter as big as ten!  And I had certainly not planned to have so many puppies around!

Then there was a tragedy – two of the three podengo puppies, which were adorable, sweet and happy little things, got sick with an unidentified virus at six weeks of age and died.  Although the vet and I did everything possible, only one survived.

This was extremely depressing for me, but also a source of tremendous stress.  I had sixteen younger puppies, and I was terrified that they would become infected also.  Of course I tried my best to disinfect everything, but a dog breeder does not have a sterile environment…I watched those puppies like a hawk, analyzing anything that was even slightly out of the ordinary.

To my great relief and joy, the Canaan pups did not catch the strange disease, and grew rapidly.

Sixteen puppies, as you can imagine, is a huge amount of work. And a number of these puppies were destined for new homes abroad, which meant they would have to be with me to a minimum age of three to four months, and some for longer.  This meant that in addition to the usual work of raising a litter, I had to start taking all these puppies out in the car to see new places and meet new people, teach them to walk on a leash, and some basic proper behavior, and all the other things that it is necessary to do with a growing puppy so that it will be happy and well adjusted.  Considering my “normal” state of exhaustion, this all required superhuman efforts.

But finally, most of the puppies were off to their new homes, where, to my great satisfaction, they settled in and adjusted well, and life became a bit easier around here.

While all of this was going on, of course we had a little war in Israel….True, sadly, that this is not a very rare event, but it certainly did not help, especially when a few of the young people that helped me out sometimes were called up for army duty.  This was much more disturbing than the few bombs that were blown up over our heads…

And of course, the usual problems of not enough work (and with the war, even less), not enough money…

So I did not do any writing.

Finally, in August, I had a few days off, to go to the World Dog Show in Finland. I had been looking forward to this for a long time, a chance to get away, get out of the heat of the summer (although it turned out to be just as hot in Finland…), meet a lot of old friends and dog people.  I gave a lecture for the International Collie Society, saw some wonderful dogs, and had a lovely time, although the exhaustion was always there in the background.

On the way back, the airline I was flying with apparently decided that they could save on service if they froze us into suspended animation.  I was prepared for the normal cold on the flight, I was wearing a jacket – but this cold was really something I not expecting!  And of course, there were about three blankets available on the flight for two hundred or so passengers, and I was not one of the lucky ones…By the time I got home, not only was I exhausted, but coughing, sore throat, sneezing….I fell into bed and other than getting up every now and then to take care of the dogs, I stayed there for about ten days.

Finally deciding that maybe this was a bit exaggerated, and maybe I should really see the doctor, before I died of pneumonia and left my dogs all orphans, I dragged myself to the doctor’s office.  She did not immediately pack me off to the emergency ward, she prescribed some antibiotics and sent me home.

And it worked!!!! Maybe all I had needed for the last six months was a course of antibiotics!  Finally, after ten days of treatment, one day I woke up feeling human again!  Antibiotics are actually a good thing!  Maybe if I had taken them when I started feeling poorly, I could have avoided all this…but I am afraid that in future my behavior, which is a very well established habit pattern, will be the same…

So I still have the normal aches and pains, still have plenty of things to do around here, still have no money and plenty of debts – but this is what I am used to coping with.  So here I am again!

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