Friday, March 18, 2011

Dog Days are Over: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Aftermath

By now I'm sure many of you have seen this video circulating the Internet. It's of a dog in Japan who has miraculously survived the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, but is refusing to leave the side of his canine companion who was more seriously injured.

If you've not yet seen this, don't press play before making sure you have a box of tissues available.

This is not the first time that I've wondered what would become of my dogs if they were ever stranded, due to a natural disaster like in Japan or just because they someone escaped from our backyard. I suspect that they wouldn't stay together: Abbie would be off like a rocket while Izzy would stay put, hoping Husband or I would spot her.

A few years ago, my mother, who also has two dogs, relayed this story to me. Apparently the gas man had checked the meter and left the fence wide open. Not realizing this, she let the dogs out into the backyard.

About fifteen minutes later, the telephone rang. My mom answered and a woman's voice on the other end said:

"I have your dogs."

Keeping in mind that this is my mother so half of my DNA comes from her, her first thought was, "Did you kidnap them? Are you calling to ask for ransom?"

Of course, that was not the case. The woman had spotted the two dogs in her yard, several blocks away, managed to read my mother's phone number off one of their tags, and had called as a Good Samaritan, rather than as a nefarious puppy kidnapper.

There is a happy ending to both stories: in Japan, the dogs have both been rescued and are receiving veterinary care and at my mother's house, the puppy's were returned and now she always checks to make sure the gate is closed.

The point of this post is to remind everyone that in a natural disaster like this, animals are victims too. Many will end up in shelters, which need to be funded to help locate new homes for these animals. Two organizations taking donations are Animal Refuge Kansai and the Search Dog Foundation. So after you've made your donation to the Red Cross, consider making another donation to help the animals of Japan.

I remember watching footage of Hurricane Katrina on television and being appaled that rescue teams were refusing to allow people to bring their pets with them. Husband and I vowed right then and there that if we were ever in a situation that required us to be rescued, the dogs were coming with us and no one was going to tell us otherwise. Unfortunately not all pet owners feel this way or have a choice in the matter so it's important for all us animal lovers to look out for those pets in need!

And if making a donation isn't an option, here's an informative article with other suggestions, including what to do if you encounter a stranded or abandoned animal closer to home.

Together we can all make a difference!

Happy Friday!


  1. dang, I wrote an AWESOME comment and it didn't save.
    Long story short, when my home was flooded during the big '93 flood, my parents were forced to leave our dog on our roof - my mom would boat to our roof every day to bring her food and water, until one day when the water was 9 ft over the roof of our house. We all figured our dog died, unfortunately...only to find her running the streets as a stray 4 months later! She lived another 8 years after that.

  2. Thanks for posting this Kathleen! I think so often people forget about animals in the wake of a natural disaster. I have two dogs myself (and a mean little cat) and I hope that they would stay together if anything ever happened.

    And I love your story about your mom's dogs :)

  3. My heart breaks for those animals, thanks for including a link to places people can donate.

  4. thankyou for posting this. I would NEVER leave without my dogs. nope wouldn't do it I would have a hysterical breakdown and then they would probably refuse to take me :)

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