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How to Get a Camel to Say “Ahh” and Other Tails

Avi Friedman

In a spin on the dream of many a Jewish mother, Dr. Doni Zivotofsky has pursued a career in medicine — animal medicine, that is. Zivotofsky plys his trade to the Holy Land, where he travels far and wide to treat camels, donkeys, goats, sheep, or any other animal in distress. As a frum Jew, Dr. Zivotofsky brings his expertise in veterinary medicine and his knowledge of all the pertinent halachos to his clients twenty-four hours a day — but, for the most part, only six days a week.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Driving through Jerusalem on December 26, Dr. Doni Zivotofsky thought he was just about done working for the day. As one of Israel’s top veterinarians, he had just made a house call in Jerusalem’s French Hill section to treat a sick kitten, but that was his last stop before heading home.

At 4:30 in the afternoon, he might even beat the traffic, and he was looking forward to spending the evening with his family. But it didn’t quite work out that way. His cellular phone rang as he got into his maroon pickup truck. A caller from Abu Dis was on the line, asking for urgent help in delivering a camel that had been in labor for three days. “I’ll be right over,” he said. Calling his wife to say he’d be late, he swung around to head for Abu Dis, an Arabmajority Jerusalem neighborhood at the foot of Har HaZeisim. So much for an evening with the family. “I had to go,” said Zivotofsky after the incident. “After all, I’m a doctor, right? Just because my patients are animals doesn’t mean they don’t need care, or that they don’t need treatment. The camel’s birth was an absolute nightmare. She had a uterine torsion and was in incredible pain. The owners were nervous that she wouldn’t survive the birth. I got home at 11 p.m., but both the mother and calf were doing well by the time I left.”


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