Abigail Klein Leichman
November 12, 2023

Sa’ar Berkowitz, 31, a digital media manager who volunteers at the Keren Or Farm animal rehab shelter in Beit Berl, was serving on reserve duty in a hot spot near Gaza at the beginning of the war.

In the midst of rescuing people from deadly Hamas terror attacks, he heard howling and followed the sound to discover three abandoned puppies in the midst of an area under fire, with no mother dog in sight. 

“The puppies were emaciated and tired and it was obvious that they had been without water and food for several days,” he told reporters from a newspaper in Bat Yam, where he lives.

Berkowitz and some of his army buddies went to Netivot to buy baby formula for the pups. He took them into his tent and handfed them five times a day and three times at night for a week.

“They bunked with me in the tent and slept on me. It was a sweet respite to cuddle with soft and innocent pups in the midst of our battles with terrorists,” said Berkowitz.

Sa’ar Berkowitz feeding the puppies he rescued. Photo courtesy of Ilana Curiel
Sa’ar Berkowitz feeding the puppies he rescued. Photo courtesy of Ilana Curiel

“Finally, with the help of good people, I organized a special ride for them to an animal care association and they found them a warm home.”

He named the puppies Nir, Oz and Be’eri in homage to three kibbutzim near the Gaza border that suffered many murders and terrible atrocities in the Hamas onslaught.

“I hope I’m remembered well and help represent the State of Israel as having the most moral army in the world,” Berkowitz added. 

S.O.S. Pets, which helped Berkowitz find homes for the puppies, is currently raising money toward the care of hundreds of dogs and cats rescued from the destroyed Gaza border communities and other areas still experiencing rocket attacks from Gaza and also from Lebanon.  

“All of them were placed in foster homes and most of them have already found adoptive homes,” the organization reports. 

“The dogs arrive scared and sad and it is simply amazing to see how after a day or two in the foster home, wrapped in caresses and love, they are no longer afraid and just want love and security.”

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