(Photo courtesy @ Reserve Dogs)

In Israel a different kind of hero is quietly making a significant impact on the lives of those facing adversity. In the wake of the heinous attack by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7, the bloodiest day in Israel’s history and the worst single-day massacre of Jews since the holocaust, specially trained therapy and service dogs are emerging as beacons of hope, raising spirits and proving that sometimes a furry friend can be the best remedy for the soul. These remarkable canines are trained to lend a helping paw to people grappling with physical or emotional challenges.

Canine compassion

In a region marked by its resilience and the indomitable spirit of its people, therapy dogs are playing a crucial role in providing emotional support and assistance to individuals navigating these challenging days.

Dogs Do Good (Klavim Sheosim Tov), an Israeli non-profit organization that develops, promotes and encourages canine assisted therapy and interventions, catering to special populations, with an emphasis on children with special needs, has been actively extending canine assisted intervention during this difficult period to a variety of groups including evacuees from affected communities in the north and south of Israel, autistic adults and schoolchildren.

“We connected with survivors of the brutal Hamas attack, including children from Kibbutz Be’eri who lost four immediate family members, additional distant family and even their beloved dog was murdered. Working with the dogs helps them to process the trauma and reduce stress,” Ella Ben-Nun, Co-Founder of Dogs Do Good, told Goodnet. “We hope to continue working with this population to create an ongoing therapeutic process that will help them along their journey of healing and rehabilitation,” Ben-Nun added.

(Photo @ courtesy Dogs Do Good)

Raising spirits

Amidst the backdrop of geopolitical tensions and emotional distress, service dogs in Israel have also been mobilized. These four-legged companions bring a unique form of solace and companionship that transcends language and cultural barriers. The calming presence of a service dog can make a world of difference. Whether it’s a comforting nuzzle, a wagging tail, or simply the unconditional companionship they offer, these dogs have a knack for turning challenging moments into opportunities for joy.

According to The Israel Guide Dog Center’s Website, service dogs can also make a significant impact on the lives of people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bond formed between a PTSD survivor and their service dog becomes a lifeline, providing a source of stability and emotional support.

“My service dog saved me personally, and he serves as a constant reminder that I have something to get up for in the morning every day. Knowing how much sometimes in the midst of trauma a dog can make the difference between life and death, I decided to gather together service dogs from across the country and bring them to support injured and sick people in hospitals in Israel,” Meitar Sela, Founder of Reserve Dogs (Klavim B’tsav 8), told Goodnet.

The volunteers of the Reserve Dogs initiative have been bringing service dogs of disabled IDF war veterans, guide dogs for the blind, and guide/service puppies in training, to 11 hospitals throughout Israel, providing love and comfort in a way that sometimes no human can do.

(Photo credit @ Sary Hayon, dog photographer)

The healing power of companionship

The stories of these canine companions illustrate the profound impact they have on individuals and communities. These loveable dogs are weaving a tapestry of positivity across Israel, reminding everyone that even in the face of adversity, there is always room for joy and connection. They serve as a poignant reminder of the healing power found in the simple companionship of a loyal friend. Their tails may be wagging, but it is the spirits they uplift that truly echo in the hearts of those they touch.


(Photo @ courtesy Reserve Dogs)


This article was originally published on Goodnet and appears here with permission.


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