Supports traumatized kids and is a beauty, dog wins prize

Ruby provides emotional help for children living near the Gaza border chosen most groomed in Croatia show beating 101 other Dalmatians

Ruby, the therapy dog caring for children in the Gaza border region, clinched first place in the annual World Championship in Dog Grooming held in Zagreb, Croatia. Competing in the Dalmatian category, she triumphed over 101 other Dalmatians of the same breed.
Ruby, along with her owner and handler, Or Levi, 31, resides in a community in Israel's south close tot he border with Gaza, alongside their Springer Spaniel, Flory.
3 View gallery
רובי בעת ההכתרה בתחרות בקרואטיה
רובי בעת ההכתרה בתחרות בקרואטיה
Ruby after winning the competition in Croatia
(Photo: Ira Bushanska)
Ruby and Flory serve as therapy dogs, working with children in individual or group sessions. "Through the child-dog interaction, children can express themselves and process events," Or explains. "With the help of the dogs, we alleviate anxieties using mechanisms of projection and mirroring. It's an amazing process. Some children, thanks to Ruby and Flory, stopped wetting the bed, ceased stuttering, and managed to sleep through the night."
Following the October 7 Hamas terror attack, they had to evacuate their home for about two months. "We woke up like everyone else on that Saturday," recalled Or. "That night the dogs weren't calm. With no safe room in the house, I moved the fridge to block the door. The dogs stayed quiet for eight hours straight. Ruby would put her paw or head on me. It's as if they knew what was happening. I live alone with the dogs, and they were very attentive to me."
"Ruby looked at me to see how I reacted. She's super sensitive, but she bounced back. She was there for me all the time, feeling she needed to hold me. When they caught the terrorists in the fields, a few hundred meters from my house, the dogs stayed calm until we got the message to escape. They opened a window for us for half an hour, and we fled, moving from house to house. I couldn't believe this was happening."
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רובי הכלבה מהעוטף
רובי הכלבה מהעוטף
(Photo: Or Levi)
Despite being displaced, Or and Flory continued to prepare for the international competition to represent Israel. "When we returned, we started volunteering with the children of the community. Ruby and Flory helped children leave their homes for the first time to go to the youth club. We accompanied the children back and forth. Thanks to them, the children could start talking about their fears for the first time. For example, one child said, 'Are you scared too?' When it comes to therapy with Dalmatians, it does the job. Because every child knows the movie '101 Dalmatians.' They're both Disney dogs."
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אלופת העולם והיא ישראלית. רבוי
אלופת העולם והיא ישראלית. רבוי
Ruby
(Photo: Meir Gur)
The preparations for the competition lasted a long time, involving running sessions, hydrotherapy training, and a special diet. "Ruby is my best partner, an extraordinary therapy dog," Or added. "She's amazing. I can't do without her. Wherever I go, she's with me. Everyone knows Ruby and Flory. When they announced we won, I was euphoric and just cried. I couldn't believe my dog would win in Croatia."
The Dalmatian dog is Croatia's national dog, and its accuracy represented the symbol of this year's World Championship. This fact further amplifies the achievement, as Ruby, the Dalmatian, who came all the way from the Gaza envelope in Israel, is the one who ultimately clinched the title.
"Over 70 Israeli dogs went to represent the country in the World Championship, despite all the difficulties and flight cancellations," said Orit Nevo from the Israeli Canine Association. "All the investment comes from the owners, who are so committed to their dogs and achieve great results without any support or assistance."
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