Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Animal Rescue Efforts in Japan

I had time yesterday to catch up on my blog reading and discovered that I missed an important event last week - Paws for Japan. This was a hastily organized fundraiser for World Vets, an international nonprofit organization providing veterinary aid in the areas impacted by the earthquake and tsunami. The fundraiser was held on St. Patrick's Day, and I missed it entirely. Nonetheless, I spent a couple of hours reading about the group's work, the rescue groups partnering with them, and the many blogs that featured this fundraiser last Thursday. If any of you are looking for a way to help out, this one deserves a look. It's not too late to donate. I've received permission from Dr. V at Pawcurious to share her post about Paws for Japan (she's got a terrific blog by the way, worth a visit if you haven't been there yet). Her post from March 13th is below.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paws for Japan
Like many of you, I have been glued to the television this weekend in horror at the disaster that has befallen the residents of Japan. At times like these, our daily concerns about Little League games, the price of gas, or frustrations about the stupid little things evaporate as we take a look around at all the things we are fortunate enough to have- loved ones, security, safety- and imagine them all swept away in the blink of an eye.
We will donate, as always, to the usual organizations providing humanitarian aid. They need it.
Unfortunately, our animal friends have been devastated as well, and are so often left to fend for themselves in a crisis.
To that end, I hope everyone will consider taking just a small portion of any donation they are planning to make to relief efforts, and give that to an organization that is specifically proving animal relief.
Scams abound in these situations, but I am glad to share one organization I am sure of, having met the CEO at the last Blog Paws event. I am a huge fan of Cathy King and World Vets, an organization that has, under her guidance, provided assistance to animals around the globe.
Dr. King has already mobilized a team to go to Japan and provide aid to established groups that are already present. They will need all the help they can get in order to assist in the devastation.
To that end, I’ve joined Blog Paws Be the Change in declaring Thursday, March 17th “Paws for Japan” Day. We will be raising awareness of the World Vets effort and encouraging people to donate to their vital work.
Please consider shelving the green beer, just this once, and spend the day with your fellow pet bloggers getting the word out. I’m just one voice out there, but there are so many of you with so very much collective power in your voices- we need your help! 
Dr. V
And a few stories and photos I'd like to pass along. This one is from World Vet's facebook page:
From this morning's newspaper in Japan - a man is reunited with his mud-covered dog that was rescued. Yeah! World Vets is coordinating with a coalition of animal welfare groups near the epicenter. Our colleagues in Japan are headed into the disaster zone today to rescue animals. (* a note for those of you who, like me, were worried about this man and his dog in spite of the happy caption. I've checked thoroughly, and multiple sources confirm that this IS a happy reunion. The dog is not dead, just exhausted.)

The following stories of Yusuke and Shane were posted on facebook by JEARS, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, a coalition of three animal rescue groups in Japan responding to the crisis. 

Before we hit the disaster stricken area of Sendai,we spoke to this woman on the street toward the center of the city. She broke down and in tears, told us she was from a hard hit area, but didn't evacuate because they wouldn't let her take her dog (Yusuke). She stayed with him in a shaking house for three days she said, and told us that Yusuke was extremely stressed from the ordeal. She thanked us for being there to help.

One of our favorite stories so far from the road...

We met a man at an evacuation centre in Sendai, Miyagi (the worst-hit area by the tsunami - 10,000 estimated to have died in the area alone) who told us a very touching story about his Akita dog, named Shane. The man is a pillar in his community and when he heard the tsunami warning he rushed to warn his neighbors after letting Shane free in the yard. After notifying his neighborhood, he tried to get back to his house to get Shane, but the tsunami was rapidly approaching and he was forced to go to the local school on higher ground. He had given up hope of ever seeing Shane alive again. But, 6 hours later, one of the people staying in the center said they saw a dog outside. The man went to look, and it was Shane!! Shane had never been to the school before, but somehow, his instincts lead him there. The dog swam through chest-high water before being reunited with his owner.

The man took us to Shane, who was staying at his house several blocks from the school (the water had receded of course). Shane must have hung onto debris, as he cut both his elbows on something. We instructed the owner on how to clean his wounds and gave him some ointment to ward off infection. We were able to leave fuel with the local veterinarian, so he will return to check on Shane and provide him with antibiotics to ensure his wounds heal.

Shane and his owner, reunited
I apologize for the awkward formatting. Pulling photos and captions off various websites really plays havoc with a blog page. I tried mightily to force the formatting to submit to my will... with only modest success. I hope you will consider making a donation to the animal rescue efforts. Even a small amount can make a difference. If 100 people donated just $5 each, that's $500! You can learn more about these groups, and/or make a donation by clicking on the following links: 


  1. Thanks for sharing that really important post and all that information.

    Love and licks, Winnie

  2. Wow! Thats a powerful post. Glad to see all the pets and humans reunited! Love them dogs!

  3. This is such an important thing that so many people forget. Did you see that video of the sick dog and the other dog refused to leave its side? So heartbreaking. I'm glad this organization is getting a lot of attention so they can work on saving the pets.

  4. Our dog club is holding a special event on April 3rd to raise money for the animal survivors in Japan. While our sympathy goes to the people of Japan, the anomals often get overlooked.