Holding Udon-Kun


Udon-kun loves being patted and touched, and he always snuggles up to people. However, he doesn’t like to be picked up. When people try to pick him up, he grits his teeth and resists, looking both terrified and determined.


There are a few members of staff who can pick Udon up. I sure couldn’t. Maybe I am not good at holding dogs? Even if I could, not all adopters will be good at it. If Udon-kun’s potential adopters are limited to good holders or those who aren’t afraid of his bared teeth, there is less chance for him to find a new family.


I always wanted to get him used to being held, and tried to pick him up every time I had a chance when I was in charge of taking care of him. Little by little, I got him get used to being held and observed his reactions.


And finally, I did it!
To my surprise, Udon-kun was calm and relaxed in my arms. There was no sign of tension, and he never became violent as I kept holding him and walking around with him in my arms. I was sooo happy!

I think Udon-kun has always loved being held as well as being patted and stroked, but he had a bad experience when being held that made him afraid of being in someone’s arms.

I was so happy to have finally made it and did not want to let him go. I kept holding him for a long time, and my arms were so sore the next day….


Since then, I have picked Udon-kun up many times. Sometimes he resists it, but the training is necessary because the future adopter will have to hold him when taking him to the vet or taking care of him. If the new family lives in an apartment, he may have to be picked up when they are inside a lift or in the corridors.


Udon-kun was around seven to eight years old when rescued, so he might be over 10 years old now, but we will never know for sure. He is not young anymore and the severe cold winter of Nose-cho is hard for him, but the heated room is already full with old or sick dogs. Old, yet healthy, Udon-kun lives in a dog house outdoors. We put warm clothing on him, lay a hot carpet on the floor, and ask him to hang in there. Our sincerest hope is to find him an adopter as soon as possible, so he can spend his time in a warm, comfortable house.

Maybe someday he’ll ask to be held and sit on our laps. Udon-kun, let’s hope that will happen not with me, but with your adopter’s arms and lap.

On January 26, Udon was put to sleep.
After posting “Holding Udon-Kun”, Udon was struck with recurrent vomiting and was in really bad shape. We moved him to a heated room and he got better, but on the evening of the 25th he got up from his sleep in a daze and fell over. His eyes were staring off into space and then, even though nothing was there, he seemed to be chasing something with his eyes. He circled around the room restlessly and excitedly, and looked generally confused. Until that evening he had been perfectly normal, eating his food and going for walks.

When Udon was first unwell we took him to the vet. We found out that he was in the early stages of kidney failure, but this time the problem didn’t seem to be his kidneys. He seemed to be having neural problems. The next day we planned to take him to the vet but even a non-vet like me could see that his condition could probably not be treated at ARK. Udon was not a young pup and could probably not physically handle any treatment. On my way home I steeled myself for the next day.

The next morning Udon was better but he was still vomiting and not steady on his legs. I didn’t want to be late for the vet so I went about caring for the dogs and cats in a hurry. I really wanted to go to the vet with him, but I had to have another staff member take him because I really have to stick to my own duties.

10 minutes before Udon was about to leave for the vet, I was able to see him.
It’s cold out, Udon. Let’s get your jacket on you.
I thought back upon how Udon would amiably come up on my lap and allow me to hug him. I wonder if he was in pain, if he didn’t really know what was happening, or if he understood everything…

Udon never opened his eyes after returning from the vet.

If Udon had had a nice home, they probably would have nursed him and stayed by his side until his final hours. Maybe he would not have had to leave this world the way he did. Maybe his owner could have done more tests on him and found ways to treat him. But in a place like ARK, where there are so many animals, we can’t give such close attention to one particular animal. We have limited funds and time. We didn’t want to see him suffer more or face any other hardships so we had to make a decision more quickly than the average pet owner. I’m sure there are some people who think we are mean or that we made a mistake. But this was the agonizing decision that we at ARK had to make. What we want to do most is find homes for the animals. I just wanted to tell you the realities of ARK and that there is not just a single answer about putting an animal to sleep.

Please forgive me for posting this announcement so late.
I appreciate your understanding, as this was very difficult for me to write.

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