If you know me in real life, you're probably aware that I kind of like animals more than people. Friends have been known to complain that they get a mere 'hello' from me before I drop to the floor and enthusiastically greet their cat with effusive praise and chin rubs. I adore both dogs and cats, but I'm openminded about ferrets, snakes, birds, even lizards. I just LOVE animals.
In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, I was sad about the people, but I was more upset about the animals, especially the dogs (cats have a way of taking care of themselves). Pet dogs rely on humans so completely for affection, care and information. They are creatures of routine and when stripped of it, they become anxious.
If you haven't seen this video of two dogs who survived the tsunami, you MUST! It broke my heart a little:
I read one translation of the dialogue that implied that the dog was barking at the camera man to 'keep him at bay'. But that dog wasn't guarding his friend, he was seeking out help for him. I could read it in his body language; he was trying to draw attention to himself.
His actions spoke louder than any words. This dog spotted two humans. He ran a little bit closer to have a look, and yes! They're definitely humans! Humans (as all dogs are aware) have oposable thumbs and food. Humans can bring comfort. He barked once at the humans, then turned on tail and ran back, to lead them to his injured friend.
He patted the other dog gently with his paw. Maybe he was comforting him, maybe letting him know that help had arrived, or maybe he was using the gesture to bring human attention to the other canine (my dog has done this a million times - either tapping my arm to get my attention, or tapping her food bowl to remind me that it exists and it needs to be filled).
I burst into tears the first time I viewed it. I was moved by his survival, his compassion for the other dog and his courage in standing by and trying to get help.
If you look closely, you can see that he's filthy, wet and shaking. He's wearing a pretty chain collar with a fancy silver nameplate, obviously someone's beloved pet.
When something horrible like this happens, there is no civil alert siren for dogs and cats. They don't know what's coming and it's incredibly confusing and disorienting for them. Their worlds are literally turned upside-down. Emergency shelters won't take animals, so pets are frequently left behind to fend for themselves.
I know that there are thousands of humans suffering and many have died. And yes, I've made my donation to the Red Cross. But dogs and cats are suffering too and with the lack of resources and shelter space, it's rumoured that animals who manage to survive are being euthanized if unclaimed.
Below, I've compiled a list of organisation that are committed to helping stranded, lost and injured pets in Japan. A donation of 2000 yen is equivelant to $25 US dollars.
Please consider donating to one of these organisations. The first link offers information about the group, the second links directly to a donation page.
World Vets - donate
Animal Rescue Kansai - donate
Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support - donate
The Animal Humane Association has started a Japan fund. 100% of donations will go toward animal rescue in Japan - donate
Japan SPCA - donate
Japan Cat Network - donate
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