Happy Birthday, Shoko!

Marina, the rescuer.

When we lived in Israel I had a friend, Marina, who was always rescuing abandoned dogs and cats from the street. She just could not pass by if she saw a miserable animal who was apparently lost or abandoned.

She would pick it and take with her and then she would find a home for it. Marina had her own pets in the house, so she tried not to keep rescued animals, but she would try to find someone who would adopt a pet. She would call all her friends, friends of her friends, or even she would call on radio talk shows with announcements.

On a rainy day in February, 1998, Marina was on her errands when she saw a small group of little children teasing a small critter. It was a little puppy, all wet and shivering, skinny as a skeleton. Marina asked the kids, whose puppy was it and got an answer that it was no ones, it was just wandering in the street.

Not thinking twice, Marina grabbed the puppy, shoveled it under her coat and took it home.

Next day she stopped at my work and told me about the puppy.

A new friend!

March 1998. Reuven and his new friend, Shoko.
March 1998. Reuven and his new friend, Shoko.

Desdemona (Daisy), the dog of mine.

Year of 1982
Year of 1982

A pet for my son.

When I was a child I had a pet, a dog called Daisy for short (but her full name was Desdemona, no less no more). She was a mix breed, a dwarf pincher and toy terrier mix. She lived till old age and when she passed away my mother took it so hard that we never had another pet.

When my son was big enough, I decided that I just have to take a pet for him to teach him responsibilities. I did not want to buy an expensive pure breed dog, but I wanted to adopt a dog from the street. I considered that this way it will be a more valuable lesson for my son to learn.

That's why when Marina stopped at my work and told me about a little critter she rescued from the street and said that the doggy, a little girl, looked like a mix of a dwarf pincher, my heart immediately prompted me that this dog was intended for us.

The same night my son and I went to Marina's house to pick up the dog even without seeing it. My son had a coin of 5 shekels (about 2 dollars in that time conversion rate) to pay Marina a symbolic price, because it was a concept among pet lovers of never taking a pet without at least symbolic price.

When Marina opened the door, we were attacked by a tiny furious critter that was all just teeth and ears. Her aggressiveness was of a defensive type. However, she was not afraid of us, she was just afraid that we are going to take her away with us.

And we did!

Though I must confess that at the first glance I did not really like the dog; no wonder, after such an active reception. My son also confessed later that he expected to see something fluffy, hairy and white. However, we definitely came to pick up this puppy, so there was no way out.

By the time we got with this little dog home, our hearts were already sold to her.

Shoko! And Shoko!

Shoko was sold in bottles, cartons and small bags.
Shoko was sold in bottles, cartons and small bags.
We didn't know that you can't give to the dog a tennis balls as a toy. She loved to play with them, she was too small to tear them anyway.
We didn't know that you can't give to the dog a tennis balls as a toy. She loved to play with them, she was too small to tear them anyway.

Shoko!

At first we were thinking to name her Daisy, after my dog. But grandma came up with a better name for this little skinny critter. We named her Shoko, because she was of brown color.

There is a brand of chocolate milk in Israel, the most delicious that all kids like, it is called "Shoko". Our new member of the family was of the same color as chocolate milk.

Shoko became a member of the family from the first day. My strong concept is that people should never adopt a pet into the house if they are not going to make it a member of the family. Adopting a pet is a big responsibility and one should think hard before adopting a pet. If a person adopts a pet, it should be final, no way back. No giving it away after several weeks or months unless a very serious cause is present (like severe allergy, or the like). One of my friends (well, sadly, she is my friend, though we are so different in all our ways) just juggles with her animals. She adopts a dog or a cat, then circumstances come up and she passes the pet further. Just like this, it always "circumstances", never her fault. 

If one takes an animal to the house just as a temporary matter (like Marina, who gives rescued animals an emergency home, but then finds for them an adoptive family)- it is another pair of shoes. But if you made a decision to adopt a per, you should take care of it like it would be a member of your family, the same responsibility.

It is not our way. If we adopt a pet, it is a member of the family. Like Shoko.

When we moved to USA in 2001, we took her with us. When we went to Israel to visit grandma in 2005, we took Shoko with us too, because we could not leave her with anyone. I wrote about travelling with a pet by air, because we know this experience first hand.


Mix of a rat and a butterfly. Do you see her?

Can you lick your nose with your tongue?

Shoko can!
Shoko can!
She is the same puppy, just her hair became gray....
She is the same puppy, just her hair became gray....

"What breed is she?"

When people asked me, "What breed is she?", I used to say, "A mix of a rat and a butterfly", because her ears were bigger than her head and she looked like a rat overall.

Shoko was a tiny weak critter, she was all in wounds and worms when we got her. The vet checked her and estimated that she was most likely about four months old, it would make October 1997 the month of her birth. We picked up the middle, October 15th for her birth date and since that time my son celebrates Shoko's birthday every year.

Today his Facebook status says, "Happy Birthday, Shoko!"

But when we adopted her I was not even sure if she might survive at all, so weak and skinny she was. Even when she started to gain weight and became more self-assured I doubted that she might live long. Look at her now; she is growing older and still as lively as a puppy.

Happy birthday, Shoko! And please, live with us for a long time, long, as long as possible.

She still plays as if she is young. She has a character of her own and her character is no sugar, really. It seems that she remembers the hard days of her early childhood and she does not trust anyone, except us. She is aggressive with newcomers and big dogs, because she learnt it hard way how to protect herself. She is the Boss and she will show it to anyone. Big dogs get scared when this this pooch "attacks" them.

In Israel there was a huge German Sheppard in the neighborhood, just huge. When Shoko barked at him for the first time, he even didn't see her, he was looking around, over her head to find out who was this noisemaker. But after Shoko got closer and the German Sheppard saw her, he put his tail under his legs and rushed to his owner. The owner didn't believe his eyes. The same thing happens with any big dog around her. Shoko is the boss.

Interesting, what she is saying to them that they are openly afraid of her?


This is the way Shoko used to drink milk from a plate- her back legs should be up on something!
This is the way Shoko used to drink milk from a plate- her back legs should be up on something!
An overall for a time when she is in heat.
An overall for a time when she is in heat.
A new member of the family, a hamster Chuck Norris (because our hamster was a champion beating all neighbor's hamsters!)
A new member of the family, a hamster Chuck Norris (because our hamster was a champion beating all neighbor's hamsters!)

Shoko is the most devoted dog ever.

Shoko is very lovable and affectionate with us.

We think that if she was lost, or thrown away, she came from an abusive family, maybe even from a family where the kids were bitten with a belt. When you touch a belt (take a belt into your hands to put it into the pants), she becomes very anxious, she starts barking in a screaming way and jumps around you.

If you jokingly start striking somebody or wrestling, Shoko goes crazy. We never play noisy games anymore around her, like wrestling, or tapping each other, because we are afraid that Shoko might get a heart attack from her anxiety.

Shoko can cry silently with tears.

First time we saw it just several days after we adopted her. My son took Shoko to his friend's apartment. The boys were just sitting and chatting, Reuven was holding Shoko in his arms. The friend's mother looked at Shoko and said, "She is crying". Shoko's eyes were full of tears and tears were rolling down her face! Reuven rushed home with her, because he understood that Shoko was anxious that he might leave her to his friend.

Shoko cries every time when we take her to a new place. We stopped taking her with us when we have to enter somebody's house.

That's why we had to take her with us when we went overseas to visit grandma, we just cannot leave her with anyone, it will be a total tragedy for Shoko.

She is enough self-assured now to know that she is safe with us, but we still think that she remembers her "hard childhood" 

It's fun growing with a pet friend!

Reuven could not beat Shoko in running.
Reuven could not beat Shoko in running.
Shoko is digging in Reuven's pocket.
Shoko is digging in Reuven's pocket.
This image is deceptive. Shoko thinks that she is a tiger.
This image is deceptive. Shoko thinks that she is a tiger.

Cold America's winter gave Shoko a nice fur coat.

You can see in the pictures that while in Israel Shoko didn't have long hair. She had more like a skin, similar to Doberman's type.

We moved to America, Wisconsin, in November 2001.

Both of them, my son and Shoko saw snow for the first time. My son was so happy to learn at least what snow is and how it feels, he was playing in snow all the time.

Shoko was perplexed. She was very apprehensive of this white cold stuff and for several days she wouldn't go into snow for her needs.

She would go around and around until she would find a small uncovered patch of grass to do her needs.

When snow covered everything in the yard, it took her some time to learn that snow wouldn't mind if she abused it.

We had to make for her a warm coat and shoes, otherwise she was not able to spend even short time on the snow.

To our great surprise, by the end of the winter Shoko's body was covered with a nice fur. Nature gave her a warm coat for protection! Isn't it amazing?

Our dog definitely understands three languages! Some things she obeys better when said in Hebrew (commands like "No!", "Place!"), some things she listens better when said in English (like "this way", "come here"). But when you start talking to her in Russian, she starts answering you, in her own way, how only she can talk. She would produce unimaginable sounds that would make you laugh and wonder!

Shoko is rather talkative, especially when you come home from work. Though she is happy to see you, but oh, she will tell you everything she thinks about you, and sometimes her tone of voice is so reproaching and blaming, that you are really glad that you speak different languages.


Happy Birthday, Shoko!

Please, please, live long!
Please, please, live long!

Happy Birthday, Shoko! Throw a birthday party for your pet!

In 1998, on October 15th, Reuven threw for Shoko her first Dog's Birthday party on the lawn next to our apartment building. He invited every dog from the neighborhood. He bough several packs of dog's treats and was treating every guest.

The dogs and their owners had a great time celebrating Shoko's first birthday!

My cousin said once about Shoko: "This dog had personal acquaintance with God", meaning that God arranged for Shoko to be adopted into our family.

Every year we make some kind of a birthday party for our dog.

You can do it too! Of course, your pets do not understand what's going on and most likely they have no idea that it is a Dog's Birthday Party, but they will enjoy your extra attention, special treats and all the fuss around them.

What is even more amazing, you yourself will have fun throwing a Birthday Party for your pet! Yes, it is a little bit silly, but I guarantee, it will be fun!

You may invite your friends with pets to come to your party (just mind that the dogs go along together fine and won't fight. My dog goes along well with small dogs who accept her leadership).

Make funny colorful invitations and send them out to your friends with pets. Put pictures of a Birthday Dog all over the place.

If you are making a party outside in your back yard, make sure that the space is protected with some kind of a fence and the dogs won't run all over the neighbors property.

If you are making your pet's birthday party inside the house, make your house "dog's proof".

Get many toys for pets to play and mind that the toys are "pet friendly". You may even give some toys to the "guests" as a party souvenir.

Don't forget to take lots of pictures! It will be something to have a nice memory of your pet's birthday party!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHOKO!

We had to say Good Buy.....

Shoko was 17 years old... Besides her age related illnesses they found a huge tumor in her bladder. I will not describe how I tried to keep her with us with the help of trans dermal Tramadol as long as I could....

Time came when we had to say farewell to our beautiful devoted dog....

Shoko, you will be remembered forever. Enjoy your time on a Rainbow Bridge... until you will jump into my hands again....

How to make a BirthDay cake for your dog.

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Happy birthday to Shoko! This dog lover also traveled everywhere with three mastiffs, but as I couldn't fly, I drove with them from Calgary in Western Canada to Florida. Now, only one of my mastiffs is still alive -- the big Dick, once 250 pounds and magnificent, now old and doddering, a Chihuahua who joined us not to long ago, and now a poodle/pug cross who came to our house as a rescue and who we hope will find a new home soon. We didn't adopt him, just gave him an emergency home, but ... Lovely article. Lynda


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 5 years ago from HubPages, FB

Very nice hub re Happy Birthday for Shoko.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Lynda, thank you so much for your comment! Especially from a dog lover like you! My friend Marina from whom we got Shoko is also giving emergency home for the dogs and cats she rescues and then she find them a new adoptive home. Great people you are! I hope you will find a nice home for the doggy.

If we have to travel overnight, we always take Shoko with us. We know nice pet-friendly hotels in many places.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, Vladimir! I know you love animals.


Truly Different profile image

Truly Different 5 years ago from Israel.

Happy Birthday, Shoko! You look so much like my dog! I also have a mix breed with big ears.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, TD! Shoko's ears don't look so big any more since she grew up. Her hear grew, but her ears remained the same. LOL.


sjk6101983 profile image

sjk6101983 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

Happy birthday, homedog! Let's kick it sometime in the dog park with Reuven and Sarah sometime - I'm sure they miss seeing each other!

~Oreo~ (My dog)

Happy birthday, Shoko! ~Sarah~


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Your son is gorgeous and your new friend is adorable. Great photos!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Tnanks, Pop! My son will be 23 in November and Shoko is 13! Time flies!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

I really enjoyed reading this story of yours. Happy birthday, Shoko!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, Sheila!


sa_ben 5 years ago

The first time I saw Shoko (do you remember when it was?)I felt something special about her. I thought it was because of the way you introduced her to me. But now looking at her pictures I should say she is a really charming dog! And I think she is aware of her charms.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

sa_ben, you knew my first dog, Desdemona (Daisy). It was years ago.... Shoko looks very much like her, but Shoko is smaller and more brown. We got Shoko in Israel....

Daisy was in Kazakhstan.... Oh, those were the days! Awesome student times! Miss you, sabenchik!


funride profile image

funride 5 years ago from Portugal

Happy Birthday Shoko!!!

Congratulations Vera, you have a very nice friend there. I bet he is very happy with you making this great tribute :)


alby 5 years ago

happy birthday SHOKO from spain!!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, funride! You bet she is happy, she's got all the best treats on her birthday, though, as on any other day too. LOL


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Alby! Hello, my boy! Great to hear from you! Shoko says HI to you!

For those, who don't know- Alby (Alberto) is our sweet exchange student - http://hubpages.com/family/Hosting-an-Exchange-Stu...


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 22 months ago from USA Author

Update. November, 2014.... Shoko was 17 years old... Besides her age related illnesses they found a huge tumor in her bladder. I will not describe how I tried to keep her with us with the help of trans dermal Tramadol as long as I could....

Time came when we had to say farewell to our beautiful devoted dog....

Shoko, you will be remembered forever. Enjoy your time on a Rainbow Bridge... until you will jump into my hands again....

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working