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Kakogawa Rescue Report

加古川1

I’m sure there were many of you who were concerned about the dogs and cats found in Kakogawa after we introduced them in “ARK News and Events”. The other day, I (staff member K.K.) was able to finally pay a visit to the rescue location, and did what little I could to help. Even though the owner’s cancer had made him very weak, he continued to passionately care for the animals, and remained cheerful when speaking to us and thanking us.

We encounter many cases where a large number of animals have been raised together, and soon the situation gets out of control. For example, when the animals aren’t neutered and rapidly reproduce, or with money-hungry breeders who suddenly stop showing up to care for their animals, or at so-called “collector’s” houses. To sum up these cases, I’d use the words “carelessness”, “selfishness”, and “irresponsibility”.

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However, the case in Kakogawa is different. All of the animals, including those that were tied up and abandoned in front of the owner’s house, had been rescued by the owner. It was clear that he had done his best to care for the animals, including neutering and getting medical treatment for them. When I heard from the staff who visited the rescue area, and when I met the owner myself, I could truly feel how strong and deep his love was for the animals, and it left a deep impression on me. It made me realize quite clearly that I want to help in some way. This individual is suffering from cancer and the animals that have only him to depend on are trapped in a pit of despair. Why, God? I am filled with bitterness.

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Most of the cats were like strays, extremely wary of us, and some wouldn’t even let us touch them, preventing us from taking them in for medical checks. A lot of cats had feline AIDS, but some were friendly and otherwise seemed healthy.

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All of the dogs were very dependent on their owner. Sure enough, when it came time to assess the dogs one by one, the dogs were friendly to us when the other dogs or the owner was nearby, but once they were alone they started to panic.

Once we managed to make some space at ARK, we began to transport the animals over. But upon doing so, some of the once-friendly dogs turned aggressive, and we had no choice but to return them to their original home. After returning them, they went back to being their friendly selves, and let their guard down around us as well. That made us realize that not only was ARK a very high-stress place for them to be, but also that they really felt most comfortable at home with their owner.

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At first, the owner said that there was one young, independent dog he wanted ARK to take in, because it would probably be able to find an adopter. The other dogs were too old and timid, so he decided to take responsibility to euthanize them himself. It’s very unfortunate, but cases of dogs like these finding adopters are very rare. He knew this was the reality.

Everyone probably feels the same way: let’s save more animals and make them happy. But for these animals, what exactly is happiness? Well, certainly finding them a new home where they can feel secure again would make them happier. But for cats and dogs that are old, timid, or aggressive, the chances of finding a good home are terribly low, realistically speaking, next to none. When dogs can’t find adopters, we end up having to take them in and let them live at ARK. However, because we have so many animals to care for at ARK, it is difficult to care for all of them properly day in and day out. Ideally, individual care for each animal would be great, but unfortunately is not possible presently. (That’s just my opinion.)

Can we really call this “saving” animals? Is this happiness?

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Especially with older animals, when there is a change in environment or separation from the owners, the animals feel a sense of loss and insecurity, which may cause their physical condition to deteriorate through excessive stress. Which is better: to bring an animal to ARK to join the scores of others awaiting homes amidst pain and stress and reaching the last year of its life, or to be put to sleep in the arms of its loving owner?

There is no one simple answer. It’s not a problem that can be discussed in terms of right and wrong.

We at ARK each have different mindsets about this, and the owner had been troubled about what to do as well. What I can say for sure is that everyone is doing their best to find the happiest path for the animals.

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Considering the physical condition of the owner and other complicated aspects of this delicate situation, we have decided to stop recruiting volunteers to come to the site in Kakogawa. But please don’t worry. We at ARK are in contact with the owner everyday and are paying him visits as often as possible.

We would like to continue giving you as many updates as possible; however please understand that as conditions change day-to-day and we have the owner’s personal situation to consider, we are not able to release all details. Thank you for your understanding and support!

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