Talking Books with Memoir Author Myrna Shiboleth

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Myrna Shiboleth is an animal behaviorist, world champion dog breeder, international dog show judge, and is acknowledged as the world authority on Canaan Dogs, one of the few remaining breeds of feral dogs in the world. After growing up in the U.S. and receiving a degree from Northwestern University in art, she made a radical change in her life by emigrating to Israel. She has worked at a variety of animal related occupations over the years, including stable manager and riding instructor, kennel manager and dog trainer, advisor on dog behavior to the Israel Defense Department, keeper and animal trainer at the Safari Park, and more. Her previous book, The Israel Canaan Dog, has been published in two editions. She lives and breeds Canaan Dogs and collies at Sha’ar Hagai Farm in Israel, lectures and instructs in Israel and abroad on a wide variety of dog related subjects, writes for professional publications in Israel and abroad, and continues to enjoy new adventures with her dogs.

Q. Thank you for this interview, Myrna. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write a memoir?

A. Actually, I wrote it for myself. I wanted to preserve all the adventures I have had over the years, and thought that writing them down would be the best way. Then I could pass the stories on to my grandchildren. Once I started writing and re-reading what I had written, and letting friends read parts of it, I realized that it actually was pretty good and quite funny, and that maybe I could become the James Herriot of Israel.

Q. Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?

A. I just went with the flow. I wrote episodes in random order, and then later organized them when I was getting the book ready for submission to a publisher.

Q. Who was your favorite character in Tails of Sha’ar Hagai and why?

A. I would have to say that would be Baba, the hyena. There are not many people around who have lived with a pet hyena, and she was a very unique personality. I had a lot of unconventional experiences with her.

Q. Who was your least favorite character?

A. I can’t really categorize anyone as my “least favorite.” Everyone in the book has held an important position in my life at one time or another. There is no one here that is a villain; everyone has contributed something that I appreciate, sometimes more now than at the time. 

Q. Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?

A. The setting is Shaar Hagai Farm, my home for the last forty years, a beautiful spot in the forest on the road to Jerusalem. Living here and coping with all the difficulties of “pioneering” have made me who I am today, and looking around and seeing what I have achieved gives me tremendous satisfaction. Those who read the book will understand why.

Q. What was the hardest part to write?

A. For me, the hardest parts to write were about my relationship with my husband. I have always been a person that doesn’t find it easy to reveal personal feelings. Making things funny is easier, but some things have to be treated more seriously.

Q. What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?

A. I can’t remember any particular moment of inspiration, I just sat down one day and started writing. I am sure that I was influenced by having read books by other writers in this genre, but I can’t say that there was a particular “Ahah!” moment.

Q. Do you plan on writing more memoirs?

A. Since I intend to go on having adventures, I expect that there will be plenty more to write about.

Q. Thank you for this interview, Myrna. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?

A. Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

The book is available through the publisher, or from Amazon .

My own websites are and


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