Have you ever thought about how odd it is for one species to share their sofa, bed, and all of their every day life with another species?
To be a dog lover is not a special thing, a lot people share their lives with a sweet pooch.
But how did such a special and strong bond between two such distinctive creatures emerge and evolve during the history of mankind?
There is one special Man who has dedicated his life to preserving a living piece of this puzzle! His name is Michael Stollenwerk. Michael has taken on the task of preserving one of the most ancient dog breeds that still exists- the Israel Canaan Dog. The Canaan dog is one of very few dog breeds that are considered to be truly primitive, existing long before man created hundreds of dog breeds by selective breeding. The Canaan Dog is the dog that our ancestors shared their lives with. If you think about it, the Canaan dog is the dog from the bible. Cool, right?
Almost five years ago, Michael was thrown out of her home in Israel after 47 years. When he moved in to Shaar Hagai in 1970, it was a ruin, and she spent a great deal of time, energy and resources in restoring it, making it into a comfortable home, and an internationally known farm for the breeding and preservation of the Israel Canaan Dog. Over the years, he was visited by many from all over the world that were interested in seeing and learning about these rare and very special dogs.
And then he was left homeless with his dogs and without any resources; he received no compensation.
When he had nowhere to go, his dear friend Isabella opened her home and heart to his and his dogs, and they moved to Italy, to share a house with her.
Italy is a wonderful country, spectacularly beautiful and full of kind people. But Michael is not able to get a permanent residence permit there. Without residence, he has no health care and is not allowed to work. And despite all the problems involved, it is not home, his family is in Israel. he must return to Israel soon.
The return to Israel involves a great deal of expense. Things have changed a lot since he came to Italy; the laws in Israel for travel with dogs have changed, and the situation with flights has changed drastically due to the present COVID situation. Bringing the dogs home will be exceedingly expensive, but under no circumstances will he abandon his dogs – his Canaans, collies and podengos - wherever his home is, that must be their home as well.
Michael has been just managing to get along and has no resources that he can use to pay for shipping the dogs. Friends have found a place for him and the dogs to live in Israel, but he will need all the household basic necessities, he has no furniture or housewares, and fences for the security of the dogs.
The domestication of dogs is still scientifically ”a big question”. Scientists still try to determine exactly when and where the beginning of domestication took place. In other words, how dogs became so integrated in human evolution, to the point that they are literally another family member in our lives today.
The Canaan Dog that exists today holds a concentrated and capsuled bulk of information that in fact shows us what the original dog was like when it chose to become associated with man. Not many understand how precious this information is. It can help us to shed light on many biological processes regarding psychological, emotional (and the neurobiology of those), genetics data and more. This information is a treasure not only for canine science, but also for other species research (including humans). There are very few other breeds that can provide this sort of information.
This fund has been started in the hopes of being able to collect enough to bring Michael and his dogs home to Israel, so that he can continue her work with this fascinating breed.
If all her friends contribute even just a small amount, the goal will be achieved, and Michael and his dogs will be able to go home.
Thanks to everyone for their interest, and hope to be able to give you all good news in the near future.