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Pet Care Study Session

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Animal care manager Gillian Scott, of England’s Mayhew Animal Home, a vet clinic and animal shelter, recently paid a visit to Japan. During her short stay, she made stops in Kobe and Tokushima to give lectures on animal care, so we ARK staff had the opportunity to listen to her words of advice and wisdom.

(We got a “souvenir” from Ms. Scott and Ms. Oliver upon their return from Tokushima: four puppies rescued from a service area en route.)

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Apart from learning and exchanging detailed information about the practical aspects of looking after rabbits, cats, and dogs, we were very lucky to be able to hear in real-time cutting-edge information from Mayhew and England.

But the more we listened to her talk, the more everyone kept sighing, realizing what a difference there is between the state of affairs in the UK and here at ARK in Japan. One obvious difference is in public opinion, but there’s a big money problem as well. The day to day operation of the shelter in England is funded by donations. ARK only survives through donations as well, but in Japan it isn’t really customary to donate to charity groups. So the difference is in decimal points of magnitude...

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Here’s Ms. Scott showing us about handling dogs.
(The model is Ryoma-kun!)

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Sometimes when examining or caring for animals, a muzzle is necessary, but there are plenty of animals who refuse to wear one. So we were shown ways to use string, bandages, or even a leash as a makeshift way of sealing the mouth.

Gillian’s hands worked so quickly, it was like magic!

I thought I understood how to do it while I was watching, but later when trying it myself... oh dear. We’ll have to practice on animals who will be calm for us, so that we can do it on other, less patient animals in a pinch. Although for animals who don’t get afraid, we might be able to get by without muzzles, there are certainly times we will need to use them.

If we work inefficiently or slowly, it’s sure to make the animal more stressed and it could become a traumatic experience. It’s very important when caring for animals to work as smoothly as possible.

And quietly. Let’s consider this: if we’re trying to care for our pet, and we’re nervous, excited, in a hurry, or noisy, then the animal becomes nervous too, and gets left with an unnecessarily bad impression of the whole experience. Before all else, we have to be calm ourselves.

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We learned some tricks for putting a cat into its cage without a fight.

OK, pop quiz: who’s the model here, the one with the black coat of fur?

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Drum roll... it was Neita!
“What, is my turn in the spotlight over already? Everyone’s all busy studying, nobody’ll play with me! Boooriiing...”

At this session, Gillian, who is a cat lover, used the very active Neita as her partner and companion. This kind of marvelous, relaxed, flexible cat must be pretty rare, huh? Umenosuke is sure surprised!!


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