Every country has a different culture when viewing the human-animal connection. I intend to pay attention to this as I travel thru the cities and farm country of Israel and while piloting a barge down the canals of the Loire Valley. Walking and eating in Paris will expose me to the way animals are cherished in this animal-friendly city.
In Tel Aviv the streets are alive, not with the sound of music, but with the pitter-patter of dog and cat feet. People bring their dogs to the beach off-lead and the dogs stick by them both on the beach and in the water. It is a rare US beach that would allow this. The boardwalk at the Tel Aviv beach is also filled with people walking their dogs. It reminds me of a nice day at Hook Mountain. Cats are around by the hundreds, especially by the restaurants. We went to eat in Jaffa, an Arab city next to Tel Aviv. The stone walls around the establishment, on a slight angle, were inhabited by cats staring at the diners. I forgot to mention that this was a seafood restaurant. Every once in a while we had cats under our table. We did pass one place where a king Charles spaniel was seated at a table for four with his family. This is against sanitary laws in most states in the US.
We then drove from Tel Aviv to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee where we were met by many members of Laura’s Israeli family for a family reunion. It was wonderful. As we drove we saw many herds of cattle, sheep and goats in the hills. The land reminded me of the Utah landscape—hilly and dry. In Israel these areas are separated by irrigated land where they grow bananas and date palms, fields of corn,vegetables, hay and wheat. Small villages were scattered among these agricultural areas—both Arab and Israeli. The Arab villages had distinctive minarets piercing the sky.
Laura’s family settled in Israel in the early 1900s, finally ending up in Nahalal, a cooperative farming community in the Galilee. We were greeted by two people who were present in 1920. The family still farms, raising turkeys and producing milk from Holstein cows.
Because it is so hot, they milk early in the morning and after six at night. The cows are milked by robots that place the milking machine on the cow’s teats; the production is measured on a computer which recognizes each individual cow. If a problem arises, Arie (Laura’s relative) is notified on his cell phone and looks after the problem. Today the relatives of the original settlers met with us in a family reunion. Over 100 Israelis were present. In two days we will be leaving for a self-guided barge trip in the Loire valley of France and a chance to see how animals live there.
We took the train from Paris to Chatillon-de-Loire and picked up our boat and our friends to travel the barge canal next to the Loire river to Never. We feed a dozen ducks alongside our boat. People passing on the towpaths are accompanied by a wide variety of dog breeds, most of which are often seen in the states. All the lock-keepers have dogs that run around while our boat is in the lock.
We moored on the Loire canal for the night. All the French people camping along the canal have dogs. Most are not neutered, but seemed well loved. In the towns where we stopped, many folks had their dogs in various contraptions attached to their bike. We went to dinner in Marseilles-les-Aubigney. The owner’s dog, a French Poodle, was on a chair to greet us and stood and begged while we ate. We have such dog envy, wishing Tunie was with us!
On the barge trip thru the Loire valley we passed huge farms with corn and wheat fields, along with herds of grazing Charolais cows.
We finally reached Paris. It seems that everyone has a dog. Most of them are small and follow their fashionable owners unleashed down the Rues. Dogs are allowed virtually everywhere and were in all the shops and restaurants. I did notice that there were a lot of old dogs, many with bad teeth and almost all un-neutered males. I’m really looking forward to seeing Oliver and Tunie tomorrow.
Tunie was so glad to see us. She enjoyed a wonderful vacation upstate with Aunt Josephine but was happy to jump into our bed again. Oliver had grown to like his life at the animal hospital, where he was free to roam the premises and sleep on the hospital towel stash. He really seemed to be glad to see his sister Tunie.
Dr. Segall can be reached Tuesday thru Thursday mornings at The Hudson Valley Animal Hospital, 4 Old Lake Rd Valley Cottage, NY (845) 268-0089 ex 3.