Hanky Warning: This video might make you cry.
My mushiness over animals has increased exponentially since I started volunteering at an animal shelter. I was already a big sap before I started work at Wayside Waifs.
I know it’s just a drop in a very big bucket, but I’ve donated money to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The link is at the bottom. If you’re on Facebook, search for “Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support”. It provides updates on the work it’s doing.
Some people may ask: “Why bother with animals when so many people are suffering in Japan?”
Here’s what Scott Simon of NPR had to say on March 19, 2011:
A news crew from Fuji TV saw a couple of dogs this week, lying in the wreckage of Mito, Japan.
A dog with brown and white splotches seemed to hover over one with gray, black and white splotches. Both dogs looked grimy. The second dog didn’t seem to move.
When the dog with brown and white splotches came toward the crew, they thought it was warning them to stay away. But it returned to the other dog, and put a paw on its head.
Then they understood: the dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.
Japan is a nation of pet lovers. Most families have a dog or cat, birds, a rabbit, or other pets in their apartments.
When I covered Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, it seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, “I couldn’t leave my pet.” But earthquakes strike suddenly. People can get stuck at work, school, or in panicked transit, leaving pets to fend for themselves.
Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins.
To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, “. . . helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.”
The dog with brown and white splotches and his friend with gray, black and white splotches were rescued, and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.
Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers, says on Facebook:
“. . . The one which came close to the camera is in the better condition. The other . . was weak. . . But please know that those two are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more and we need help.”
I noticed another, smaller story this week. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, went for 1.5 million U.S. dollars in China. Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols there. Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, “He is a perfect specimen.”
The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?
How to donate to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The Humane Society also is providing aid to Japanese animals.
Here’s another link to donate: World Vets Prepares First Responders To Japan.
To help the Japanese people, you can give to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. This is the link I used to donate to The Salvation Army in Japan. Salvation Army Quake Relief.
Below is a photograph I took in 2002 of The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan. The Japanese people have a long tradition of strength, beauty and endurance, and they will re-build. Below the photograph is a translation of the Japanese in the video.
UPDATE: CNN and the UK Telegraph have both reported that the dogs have been rescued since the footage aired, and are both receiving veterinary care; the more seriously wounded dog is at a clinic in the city of Mito, while the protective spaniel-type dog is receiving care at a shelter in the same town.
Here is an English translation of the voiceover exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He’s getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.