2008年05月 | ARCHIVE-SELECT | 2008年07月


Thank you on behalf of Look at Me!

Atomi? Where you going by car?

Hey, everybody! Atomi has found a new home, and we’re taking her there now!

Atomi spent over two years at ARK. It wasn’t easy to maintain her quality of life. After she licked the fence and got zinc poisoning, we had to cover her enclosure with plywood and acrylic sheets. Many days went by with her not being able to see outside her enclosure, so she would throw herself at the plywood and make so much noise. We didn’t think she could be easily rehomed, and thought that she probably wouldn’t find a new owner. That’s why we were so happy to see her in the car heading for her new home! We are so thankful to the family that will relieve Atomi of all the stresses she faced at ARK, although I was sad too, to be alone in the car after dropping her off.

Animals come to ARK for several reasons, but we always hope that ARK won’t be their “final home” but rather a “passing through point.” Not a place where they come to live out their lives, but a place that will offer them the chance to move on to find happiness once again.

For those animals that are taken to the “hokensho” and sent to the gas chambers, we want to do what we can to take care of the animals that come to us until we can find them good new homes.

People may feel relieved that their problems are solved when animals are rescued by ARK or taken in by ARK. But for the animals, it’s just the beginning of a very rough ride. When dogs or cats lose the ones they love, it’s very hard for them to adjust to a new environment. Listening to the different cries of all the other animals and being looked at by visitors is very stressful, both physically and mentally. It is not unusual for an animal to die from such stress.

Therefore, we want pet owners to take responsibility from the start to the end of their pet’s life. Before taking in an animal, we hope that prospective pet owners will think long and hard about the present and future responsibilities they must take on when owning a pet.

When things don’t go well or when tough things seem to happen every day, we can work hard knowing that there are many animals that we would like to make happy by finding them new homes. Once again, a sincere thank you to every single person who has adopted an animal.

Sunday, June 29
Kiku has been rehomed!
She is the first of the scaredy-cat family of 4 sisters to be rehomed.
Somebody has requested Ume, and Sakura and Momo are to follow!
Momo is currently on a short homestay. I’ll let you know more about her later.


| Rehoming | 13:12 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑


The thing Jiro lost...

It has been seven years since Jiro was rescued as a puppy and brought to ARK. Jiro is obedient and loves people, but hasn’t been adopted. Why? Because he’s a chicken! It’s only inside the dog house that Jiro can cuddle up to strangers, and he can only go for a walk with staff he knows. When he meets strangers such as hikers during a walk, he gets so scared that he can’t move forward anymore. Sometimes, he suddenly becomes motionless even though there is nothing to be fearful about.

One evening, one of Jiro’s eyes showed abnormal symptoms all of a sudden. His left eye was swollen and blocked with pus. There had been nothing wrong just a few hours before. At first, we thought something had gotten into his eye, or he had gotten a scratch, and it had caused conjunctivitis.

What he actually had, however, was glaucoma.

Glaucoma, when it’s serious, is accompanied by pain. It was so sad to see poor, spiritless Jiro. The Elizabeth collar had to be worn all the time to prevent him from scratching the eye, and he had to stay in a small cage. We didn’t know how tough or how painful it was for him, and all we could do was watch over him.

Because his eye pressure didn’t go down at all in spite of oral medicine and eye drops, completely removing the eye was considered. Taking out the glaucomatous eye removes the cause of the problem, and it means that Jiro won’t need to take medicine or go to hospital.

We knew the advantages of the surgery, but it was still shocking to see Jiro after the surgery. The fur around his left eye was shaved, and the swollen eyelid was sewn shut. Although everything was as we expected, we were concerned about whether Jiro would recover and be able to live well again. However, we soon learned that there was nothing to worry about!

Dogs are marvelous. It’s not a big deal for them to lose vision in one eye. Jiro runs and rushes through the forest in just the same manner as when he had two eyes. He doesn’t look like he’s having any difficulty at all.

His remaining right eye gets eye drops to prevent glaucoma. He used to resist them by closing his eye and twisting his body, but now he comes to us when we call his name, and calmly lets us put the eye drops in. Maybe he has learned that he’ll be praised and get a treat!

Staff members were discouraged when Jiro had glaucoma and his left eye had to be removed, because we were worried about him and his unpredictable future. However, even having lost one eye, Jiro is still Jiro who likes to cuddle up to people, who is a big eater, who doesn’t always read the situation right, who makes Noah mad, and who is still afraid of the world outside ARK….

We want our wonderful Jiro find an owner and be happy. One staff member often takes him home to give him social training. He’s now used to cars and he doesn’t do his business indoors. He’s such a baby who likes to get on the bed and he plays with toys. If you understand that he’s a bit of a chicken, he’ll become a great indoor dog partner!

| Dog | 13:07 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑


Field Trip

One of the things that all the staff members have been trying these days is socialization training for the dogs. All the dogs have gone through some sort of hardship before they came to ARK, and because of that, some of them are not really suitable as pets. However, in most cases, this just comes down to lack of experience, so we try to let the animals experience as many different things as we can. One of these is what we call a “field trip”.

We use the method that Arima-san, from Japan Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, taught us. We take the dog to a crowded area with lots of people and cars passing by, and get him to sit in one place and watch. While the dog is observing what’s going on around him, we give him snacks, talk to him and encourage him. We give him foods that he wouldn’t normally get to eat, like cheese or salami, or some strong flavored food that humans eat, to help him get used to the people, cars, city and noise. At ARK, dogs also have no chance to go for car rides, so field trips provide training to help get over car sickness. That’s one of the important things we do to help adopters, as many adopters want to know if the dog gets car sick easily.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been on a field trip yet. I’ve only heard the stories or watched videos of the trips, so I’ll have to tell you the details of some field trips without pictures.

Char sometimes gives a bad impression because he barks at dogs and strangers who walk past his cage at ARK. But actually he’s just a sweet dog who needs some company. I talked about him here before. When he stayed over at a staff member’s house, he was quiet at home, could wait for the toilet, and was able to stay in the house alone without any problems. He also got used to being in a car. During the field trip, he never got scared, was quite relaxed while walking around town, and ate snacks happily while watching the world go by.

Treasure is scared of strangers and if they look into her cage, she hides in her kennel and totally disappears. She likes going on walks and getting fed, so she gets along really well with the volunteers. On her first field trip, she couldn’t bring herself to eat any snacks, but she did manage to sit calmly. Well, that was what we thought, but when we tried to leave, she couldn’t stand up. She was actually too scared to move. She got car sick too. However, the second time, Treasure managed some snacks and didn’t get car sick much at all. She was originally born in the corner of some temple in town and was rescued from there, so we’re sure that if she’s rehomed, she will gradually get used to things with time.

Mocchi doesn’t know anything about the real world because she has been living at ARK since she was a puppy. She gets along with other dogs at ARK and always enjoys walking even with volunteers that she has just met for the first time. But when she’s introduced to an adopter, she acts like a coward, so she’s not been rehomed yet. She’s only been in a car only twice: when she was rescued, and when she went to the vet to be spayed. When Mocchi went on a field trip, she whimpered and was restless in the car, and then she whimpered in town. Her tail was down all the time, and she couldn’t eat any of the cheese or salami, even though she usually loves eating... But the more she goes on field trips, the more her behavior is changing. Now she’s getting used to being in town, will eat snacks and is calm when she’s in the car.

Excuse us: we’re washing our hair! Sakura is small and nicely portable, she looks indifferent to whatever’s going on around her and never seems afraid of strangers. But, surprisingly, she is a chicken when it comes to meeting potential adopters. She is the type who loses the chance by doing things like barking at important moments. Maybe she’s friendly at ARK, but gets nervous when her environment changes…? We took her on a field trip, but it seems that we worried a bit too much over nothing. She was relaxed, ate loads of snacks and enjoyed her short trip. We only found this out because we took her out of ARK, so it was a great experience for her.
We will keep trying as hard as possible to help our dogs overcome their difficulties, because we hope that as many as possible of them will find happiness as soon as possible!!

| Dog | 13:01 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑


Let’s play with Buunyan

Hey, Buunyan, let’s play!

“I’m not in the mood, but oh well, I guess I’ll do you a favor.”

“Oh! You scoundrel, you’re pretty good!”


Hey, hey, what’s wrong, kitten?

“I’m so frustrated. When I get bigger I’ll definitely get you back for this.”

Buunyan is so nimble you’d never think her rear leg was just amputated.

She’s so lively and energetic, and moves around so much that we worry that it will interfere with her medical treatment. Or what if she gets tired afterwards? But she’s so cute that we can’t help but tease her.

| Cat | 11:58 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑


Three-legged Buunyan

Lately ARK has had an unprecedented rush of cats. The ARK clinic is like a kitten mansion. For days we’ve not had time for our usual medical duties.

Every year around this time, we have a succession of consultations about accepting kittens. It’s impossible for us to take them all, so we give people advice instead, but there’s been a series of situations in which we were forced to accept the kittens. The cases that trouble us the most are when people say, “When I fed her, she stayed, and then she had kittens. I feel sorry for her, so please help.” If they really want to help those cats, they should make them local/commonly-owned cats and cooperate with others nearby to take care of them, or adopt them as their own and keep them inside. And of course get them spayed. If you can’t take that much responsibility, you shouldn’t feed them. Not getting them spayed and instead just giving them food will only result in unhappiness and unwanted kittens.

Of the many cases we see, there are some where we have no choice but to accept the kittens, and one of these is Buunyan. Buunyan was found tangled in the net in a tennis court. Her life was saved, but her hind leg was broken.

Because she was a growing kitten, we decided not to put on a cast, but to keep her in an enclosed space to reduce her movement and wait for her leg to heal; however, you can see the results in this photo. Ultimately, her leg was amputated. The broken leg became necrotic and had to be removed. Right now she still has stitches, but there’s no swelling or bleeding and her progress has been good.

Actually, at first we considered having Buunyan euthanized.

She was a seriously injured kitten who had tested positive for FIV, and for her broken leg to heal, she needed to rest in an enclosed space. She had to be placed in an environment where she couldn’t move for a month during a period that is normally one of physical and mental development for a cat. It was necessary for the treatment of her leg, but we feared it would interfere with the development of the rest of her body and her mind. We were also worried about whether she had the strength to withstand the treatment. The effects could have stayed with her even after she was fully grown, making her unappealing to adopters and potentially meaning she might have to stay at ARK for her whole life. Even if the treatment of her leg went well right now, her future cannot exactly be called bright, so we had to take the worst-case scenario into account while choosing our path.

When we decided to bet on the “luck” that this feline life carried, treatment began. For Buunyan, it was a matter of life and death. We had a flicker of regret when her leg became necrotic, thinking we had made the wrong decision and put her in a painful situation. But we chose to amputate it and bet on her making a good recovery. In kittens, FIV is transmitted from the mother, but sometimes they test negative later on, so we also took a chance with that.

With Midori, we decided not to amputate the leg. Both she and Buunyan had FIV. Now she’s living as a sponsored cat, but if possible we’d like her to be adopted.

Poor Buunyan lost a hind leg, but she seems to have a special power that other cats don’t have. She has awesome recuperative powers and an adorable, friendly nature. There are lots of other kittens, but everyone is attracted to Buunyan. We believe that with this special power, she can overcome her handicap and find an adopter very soon.

| Cat | 11:56 | comments:0 | trackbacks:0 | TOP↑

2008年05月 | ARCHIVE-SELECT | 2008年07月