Shake off the empty words

Kakamigahara, Gifu

I share Amy Chavez’s impressions expressed in her Aug. 25 column, “Veterinary clinics for the rich and famous pets.”

We picked up, and lived with, a dog and two cats that had been abandoned shortly after birth. When we entrusted the dog and cats to a veterinarian near our home during family travel, he charged us for immunizations that he administered without our request or approval. He and his wife did not show a caring heart for the animals — only greed to charge us.

When the dog developed a big tumor, we brought her to a large clinic in a neighboring city. I felt embarrassed carrying this shabby dog in there while being observed by “rich and famous” pet owners. The dog did not receive proper treatment and died after prolonged suffering.

We often hear the word “aikenka” used to describe dog lovers, but I don’t think many pet owners deserve the title. Every day, before twilight, the road in front of my house turns into a doggie fashion show. Not too long ago, the stars on the catwalk included an Afghan hound, a golden retriever, a boxer and other big, imposing dogs. They disappeared suddenly and have been replaced by Chihuahuas and other exotic miniature dogs gaudily decorated — a dramatic change.

What hasn’t changed is the need to show off valuable brands.

I believe this attitude toward pets is related to bullying in school. Every time a shocking crime is committed by a minor, the authorities whose job it is to be concerned lecture children about inochi no taisetsusa (preciousness of life). I have doubts that they believe their own words. They don’t seem to demonstrate enthusiasm for helping either people in difficulty, such as minorities and the poor, or abandoned animals.

Children learn from adults not to help those in need, but rather how to cheat and get ahead with nice words while showing off the power of money represented by, for example, brand dogs.

Until we stop using empty words like aikenka and inochi no taisetsusa to flatter some people and, instead, engage in earnest soul-searching, children are unlikely to stop bullying.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

keisuke akita