Danielle Eden is no stranger to hell.
She usually brings a few dogs back from there.
As cofounder of Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, she has visited countless animal shelters throughout the world. And often she would bring dogs in the most dire circumstances back to the rescue's own rolling 50-acre property in King, Ontario.
But she wasn't prepared for what awaited her at a shelter she visited in Israel last January.
Every last dog was in desperate straits.
"This is the worst shelter she had ever seen," Clare Forndran, media director for Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, tells The Dodo.
More than 250 dogs were squeezed into a space designed for just 70. Rats abounded. Many of the dogs had spent years there. Every bit of bread flung into a kennel was an invitation to brawl.
"Dogs were literally fighting over a loaf of bread," Forndran says. "There were more rats than dogs."
Indeed, dead rats, mingled with live rats, who mingled with dogs who had been eking out an existence there for years.
Once she surveyed this sordid scene, Eden couldn't choose which dogs would have a chance at new lives in Canada. They were all living in abject misery.
So she decided to buy the entire shelter.
Since then, Dog Tales has taken responsibility for all 250 dogs. Over the last two months, it managed to relocate 90 within Israel. Another 25 have made the journey to the Ontario sanctuary.
And 150 remain. But that shelter is undergoing a transformation thanks to a team in Israel assigned the task of making it habitable, while veterinarians administer to the animals' immediate health concerns.
The goal is to bring all of the remaining dogs to Canada.
And that mission is already off to a promising start. Among the early 25 arrivals, more than half have already been adopted.
Their diet no longers consists of bread. They are learning to trust again.
Want to help? Consider signing up to give one of them a forever home. Visit Dog Tales' adoption page here.