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Attack Dogs Rescue Lives

dogs-2 A rollover ... obeying command of play with ESRA member Shashi Ishai (Photos: Gadi Sagiv)

Recently, I had the special privilege to go on a trip/barbecue to Kfar Tappuach in Samaria, to visit the wondrous Israel Dog Unit (IDU). I was vaguely aware that such units existed, and that the IDF and the Israeli Police had used dogs in combating terrorism, but I had never had such an incredible, mind-blowing encounter as this one.

The guard dog's “uniform”

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the one lone Unit commander, Mike Ben Yaakov, a boyish-looking man, dressed in disheveled t-shirt, baggy pants and a baseball cap. We later learned he was formerly from Brooklyn, NY (which translates, for those who know Brooklyn as "don't mess with him!"). He lives on the compound 24/7, and is assisted by a loyal following of local volunteers, his Ukrainian dog trainer and the awesome presence of hand-selected Belgian Shepherd attack dogs.

We were led outside to benches, where we were treated to a demonstration of a dog going through the rigors of the commands of attack, play, leaping walls, stay, etc.

Obeying command of attack. Normally, if this was a terrorist; he would be ripped to shreds
A guard dog obeying commands – jump on top of wall, jump down

Then, one of us volunteered to be led a distance outside the compound, to simulate a "search and rescue" mission, in which the dog, using only his highly, sensitive sense of smell, would locate his object. In a real situation, Mike might get a call that a missing person, who is compromised with a mental or physical condition, was last seen in a heavily-wooded area in a distant town. He would join an intensive search with the local district police and their dog unit, but, the crucial difference is that the local police would call off the search as night descended and resume at daybreak.

This guard dog is on a simulated search and rescue mission. A volunteer is hiding in the brush a few feet away. The dog has their scent

No such thing for Mike and his dog unit. Someone might be lying unconscious, exposed to the elements, and might not survive the night. Mike vows to comb the area all through the night, until the person is found, in whatever condition.

That made a great impression on my heart and brain, not unlike an emotional tattoo. I fell in love with this man's neshama (soul). His counterpart, Joel Busner, who resides in Netanya, is equally as dedicated. Despite the fact that he must go for kidney dialysis three days a week for five hours a day, his tireless devotion, patriotism and energy will take him in February to the US, for a fundraising mission for this wonderful cause. For instance, one need is that in summertime, these dogs must have air-conditioned units to cope with the sweltering heat, which cost $200 each.

If you would like to make a donation, you can go to Joel's website: Or, if you would like to contact Mike personally, he can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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