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In June 2013 a woman — let’s call her Samarichan — found a golden retriever tied to a fence in Tokyo’s Inokashira Park. She did all the things decent people do in such situations: contacted the police and other authorities and sought the owner through social media, but to no avail. Meanwhile, the dog languished in the pound.

During her search, Samarichan learned the dog might also have been abandoned on a previous occasion. The deadline loomed for claiming the dog before authorities destroyed it, so she decided to take it home. This is no small thing in Japan, where many landlords do not allow pets, particularly large ones.

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