Canaani Togethering

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 18:21

The most wonderful events, next to the birth of a human child or grandchild, are the birth of puppies...and the bittersweet moment when the eight-week-old puppy leaves with the new owner.

"Dog people" are a unique breed. If you are one of them, you have a large extended family consisting of nearly all the people who are possessed by their dogs. We understand each other, we have a lot in common, and we try to be helpful and hospitable to anyone in the "breed." It all flows from the special bond that develops between human and dog, and we believe that the Canaan dog is not like other dogs. Those of us who live with a Canaan dog feel we are part of a very select fraternity. We and our dogs "live inside each other's heads," as Bryna Comsky put it. I call it "togethering."

Bryna Comsky is a breeder who, like all serious breeders, retains an interest in her dogs and their offspring, wherever they are. Her kennel, Ha'Aretz Canaan Dogs, is located in Illinois; she favors the American pariah style of Canaan dog (the other style is the Israeli). When I learned she was to be in Massachusetts to pick up a puppy, we made up to meet at the home of Vladimir and Tatiana, whose Canaan bitch, Ha'Aretz Barbara, had four puppies ready for new homes. With my 4.5 year old female bitch, Keren (Israeli style Canaan), I drove out to the "estate" of Vladimir and Tatiana, near Fitchburg. When Vladimir, Keren, and I explored the deep woods behind the house, I learned about the black bears, coyotes, and turkeys that Barbara either challenged or hunted, and saw the maple sugar house. What an ideal place for a dog--50 wild acres! And of course half the house is set aside for the puppies to romp. It seemed like a pretty neat place for the humans who live there, too.

The sire of the puppies, Ha'Aretz Rishon Noah, was there with his owner, Joe Bartolomeo, and his family: his wife, Monica, his son, Justin, and Irma, Monica's mother. One of the puppies, Tyrus, was destined to return with them as the new puppy of Joe's son, Justin. We had a great party: wine, Russian soul food, home-grown corn, and friendly talk about life in the country, Spanish music, the golden age of Spain when so many cultures existed together, and of course, dogs.

Justin is about the same age as was my son, Ari, when he got his Canaani puppy, Keshet (Rainbow) from Myrna Shibboleth at the Shaar Hagai Kennel in Israel. Ari took full charge of "Keshet" and they were inseparable until he went off to college. Keshet was his third parent, certainly they learned a lot from each other. So I hope and anticipate that this is the beginning of equally great things for Justin.

Pictures of the visit
Pictures of Barbara and her puppies
Ha'Aretz Canaan Dogs
Cherrysh Canaan Dogs (Keren's birthplace)
Shaar Hagai Canaan Dogs (Keshet's birthplace)
Canaan Dog Club of America
Israel Canaan Dog Club of America

Note on terms: A male dog is a "dog" or "boy" and a female is a "bitch" or "girl". The father is called the "sire" and the mother is called the "dam." The Canaan dog is named for the Biblical "Land of Canaan" and the Hebrew form of the adjective sounds like "Canaani" so the breed is sometimes called Canaan dog and sometimes, Canaani dog. "Togethering" is a word I coined to describe the bond that develops between people and their companion animals, and among the animals.