Hero dog who saved her family from terrorists on October 7 dies

Petel barked incessantly as gunmen rampaged in Kibbutz Be’eri home, apparently scaring them off; was later mistakenly injured by soldiers

The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists when they infiltrated Kibbutz Be'eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel. October 25, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists when they infiltrated Kibbutz Be'eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel. October 25, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

A family dog that saved her owners from terrorists during the devastating October 7 assault on the country and was later injured by gunfire has died.

Petel had rehabilitated from her wounds and was recently reunited with the Ben-Zvi family before passing away.

“She went through a lot and used up a lot of energy in her rehabilitation and recovery,” Ella Ben-Zvi told Ynet on Monday. “A few people told us that she held on a little longer in order to be with us, and then let go.”

Petel, who was 11, an advanced age for a canine, already went through war in the past during a round of fighting between Israel and Gaza terrorists in 2014, when the sounds of loud explosions left her traumatized, Ben-Zvi said.

On October 7, the family sought refuge in their secure room, as did many others in the area, when Hamas opened its assault with a massive rocket barrage on the country. The Palestinian terror group then led thousands of attackers in a cross-border raid into southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and saw 251 abducted and taken hostage to Gaza.

Terrorists overran communities, then moved from house to house, slaughtering those they found. At Kibbutz Be’eri, gunmen massacred over 130 people, men, women, and children amid widespread atrocities.

When terrorists entered the Ben-Zvi home and began ransacking the property, Petel charged at the door to the secure room and began “barking hysterically,” Ben-Zvi said. “I encouraged her.”

Ben-Zvi said she had gained experience working at border crossings and knew that Arabs generally don’t like dogs.

“Petel was barking like mad,” she said.

The incessant barking apparently drove off the terrorists, who left the home. The family noticed that a baby monitor in the home was still working and that it was picking up the barking noise and then broadcasting it over the speaker.

“The terrorists heard the dog in stereo,” Ben-Zvi said. “I can only assume that the scene was too challenging for them and they decided to leave the home.”

Another group of terrorists also entered the home but did not harm the family.

Later, Israeli soldiers arrived to rescue kibbutz residents and captured the terrorists who were still in the home.

With the kibbutz still an active war zone, soldiers wanted residents to evacuate their homes but Petel was unwilling to go due to the sounds of gunfire that could still heard. As she was too big to carry, soldiers said there was no choice but to leave her behind. Petel was put in a bedroom with some water while her owners were put up in a hotel in the Dead Sea area, as were many evacuees.

By Tuesday the family was told that Petel had been injured. Soldiers who were clearing homes in the kibbutz heard her making a noise and thought she was a terrorist. They opened fire, and the dog was hit by shrapnel.

Troops did the best they could to patch up her wounds and Petel was taken by a kibbutz resident to a vet. She eventually underwent surgery to remove the shrapnel, followed by a recovery period during which she was taken care of by another family.

In March the Ben-Zvis moved to Givat Ela in the north of the country and quickly arranged for Petel to join them, where she stayed until her recent death.

Most Popular
read more: