Do Israeli animals in distress have a guardian angel?
If a young man named Avi Kuzi has anything to say about this, they certainly do! If any of you Green Prophet readers caught the article in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post, you must have been touched, as well as impressed by the tireless work of this guy who has done so much save and relieve the suffering of so many of this country’s furry and feathered friends.
Whether it has involved rappelling down a ten story elevator shaft to extract a stuck cat, hoisting a dehydrated and emaciated camel out of certain death in the Arava desert, or retrieving a lost monkey from a high eucalyptus tree, Kuzi has literally saved thousands of animals in his 15 year career as an animal rescuer.
Kuzi must have been endowed with his special gift at an early age, as he used to bring home sick and wounded animals and secretly nurse them back to health before releasing them later when they could fend for themselves.
His parents never let him have a dog or cat or his own, so he made up for this by temporarily “adopting” them while tending to their health problems. While serving in the IDF as a hand to hand Krav Mega instructor, mountain climbing expert and medical corpsman he received much of the training that would eventually be useful in what has turned out to be his life career.
He began to turn his attention to helping distressed animals when he volunteered to assist a local Tel Aviv branch of the Let Animals Live organization, and this eventually led to his present profession.
Avi charges around NS 700 (around $165) to go on most animal rescue missions, many of which endanger his own life. He has often been bitten, clawed and even kicked by many of the animals he rescues most of whom are too distressed to realize he is trying to save them.
According to Larry Derfner from the Jerusalem Post: “The apartment, where Kuzi lives by himself, is extraordinary. Despite the four dogs and seven cats, it’s perfectly neat, spotless and odorless, the last because the windows are kept wide open. He made most of the colorfully-painted furniture himself out of old wooden pallets the supermarkets gave him.
“He made the facade that covers his front door, as well as the big lighting fixture on his living room ceiling, out of eucalyptus bark. The animal he identifies with most is the wolf, and the walls of the living room and kitchen are lined with framed photos of wolves, and he’s painted large wolves’ heads on the sliding glass doors of his living-room balcony.”
He has even adopted several strays he has saved, and now has four dogs and seven cats in his personal care.
A strict vegan vegetarian, Avi was quoted as saying that he once ate some kinds of meat as a young boy “as long as it didn’t resemble something dead.”
He changed to forgoing even dairy products when he had a dream in which all animals in a green valley became white and suddenly became red – like blood. He considers milk to be “nothing more then white blood” and won’t eat in a restaurant that serves meat products.
Defner writes: “His and habits regarding everything having to do with animals are extreme. Every now and then he goes into a pet shop, buys as many birds as he can afford and sets them free. A vegan, he refers to milk as “white blood,” saying it’s meant for the cow’s calves, not for people. He sews pictures of wolves onto his shirts. He will have nothing to do with leather products, showing me the “Vegetarian Shoes” brand on his hiking boots, which are made of synthetics.
He has an avid abhorrence of hunting and hunters as well as fishermen, whom he considers to be nothing more than a form of hunter. An avid diver, he often cuts the nets of fishermen to allow the fish to escape.
Now in is 40’s Kuzi lives alone with his animal friends in a spotlessly clean apartment in his North Tel Aviv apartment and maintains a photo album of animals he has rescued and otherwise saved from harm.
His ability to communicate with many of the animals he has been in contact with has helped a lot in his work and is evidenced by being able to share such a small space with so many animals.
What makes his talents even more remarkable is that he never formally studied veterinary medicine or zoology. He just happens to have a God-given gift to have compassion for creatures that need help. “How do you study about retrieving a stuck cat from an elevator shaft”, he asked.
Do you know of someone who is a true Green Prophet? If, so drop us a line at [email protected], letting us know who they are. We will consider featuring them and their work in future weeks.