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Goro the cat is a handsome ginger and he’s an open book. As the Beatle’s “All You Need is Love” goes, “there’s nothing you can see that isn’t shown.”

Goro is busting with love and it’s why he needs someone to just love to bits. Anyone who comes to his cage is treated to a royal welcome … yes, even when they don’t take him home. He’ll try to follow them out though. He’s desperate to be picked up and really, really, wants to have a family of his own.

He came to ARK when his owner died and he’s 9 years old, but as they say, “9 is the new 5” … or something like that. He’s not only a people lover, he’s also friendly with other cats. Simply put, there’s nothing to fault. He’s pretty perfect: Perfect tiger markings, fabulous eyes, handsome as all get out, and a purr that will rock the house.

What more could you ask for at the holidays? Goro is all you need.


Titan is not too fond of shampoos, but he loves people and even cats. | YUKARI YAMAGUCHI
Titan is not too fond of shampoos, but he loves people and even cats. | YUKARI YAMAGUCHI

Luck arrives for this Titan among dogs

Titan is a newcomer to ARK. He arrived in Tokyo only a couple weeks ago and is something of a miracle — or at least a dog that makes you believe in the strength of good despite some pretty hard knocks.

He is one of three dogs that were voluntarily handed over by the same person, who kept them locked in a warehouse where they were rarely fed. They were all extremely undernourished. How many years they were there and how many other dogs there were, we don’t know. But Titan and the other two, all likely related, were three of the lucky ones. Meaning luck finally arrived after what was likely years.

About 10 years old, Titan isn’t young but he is sprightly. At around 14 kilograms, he’s also the perfect size for an apartment. Surprisingly (or perhaps not, given that he was very happy to see anyone at all), he loves people and even cats!

Titan also walks really well on a lead, but is scared of shampoos. He is not at all aggressive. The likely scenario is that he was not physically abused, but had his world reduced to a prison cell, to darkness, with only occasional light. And being a gentle soul it didn’t turn him mean or anxious, just very lonely. So, here he is, “compact, but not tiny, handsome, quiet and friendly — really rather perfect!” And, he’s waiting for you to shine your light into his world.


Kura is an adorable young cat with a love for toys

Kura is a beautiful cat who is looking for a permanent home with a few good toys. | REIKO SUGAWARA
Kura is a beautiful cat who is looking for a permanent home with a few good toys. | REIKO SUGAWARA

This lovely creature is the 2-year-old Kura. She’s such a young thing but wears a perpetually worried expression. She and two other beautiful-but-cautious cats, Hama and Sushiro, came from a hoarder situation in which human contact was nowhere to be found. That meant no proper feeding, care or any sort of medical attention that they were very much in need of.

Kura is in Tokyo in temporary foster care and in need of a permanent home. She has become less shy, though not as much as the other two cats who were rescued with her. She is responding well, however, to some of the best medicine around — attention and affection. She is even starting to quietly ask for both, such are their wonders.

Kura is a healthy, very gentle and, as you can see, beautiful cat. She likes other cats and would tolerate a quiet, gentle dog. She’s a light eater and, at around 3 kilograms, does need to put on a bit more weight.

Her long fur needs brushing to keep hairballs and mats away but she is fine with that kind of attention, too. Kura has already discovered the strange new world of toys and they’ve become a real passion for her. She will play wildly with a toy and doesn’t need to be babysat. She doesn’t look it, but word is that she’ll “play like a lion all by herself.”


Natsume's stay at the shelter has helped him come out of his shell, but it's time for him to move on. | KANA MATSUTANI
Natsume’s stay at the shelter has helped him come out of his shell, but it’s time for him to move on. | KANA MATSUTANI

‘I am a dog’: Natsume the Shiba mix is looking for a home

It’s hard to believe but this happy-looking fellow was found along the side of the road, and had apparently been hit by a car. His name is Natsume and, yes, he’s a boy. Think Japanese literary classics.

Natsume is about 10 years old, weighs 15 kilograms and has been at the shelter way too long. This lengthy stay has, however, helped him get over his initial timidity. Natsume has learned to love walks and the dog run, is more comfortable with new people than he was when first found, and he’s toilet trained.

Our Natsume is a classic in his own way. A Shiba mix, his personality is quite typical of the breed, a bit hard to know and not wildly expressive. One thing’s for sure, though, he isn’t hiding any flaws. He’s genuine to the core and would make a fine friend for someone who will allow a relationship to develop naturally.

Picture curling up together all warm and toasty before the heater on a cold winter night, just you, Natsume and a good book. Perhaps some Soseki?


Hama loves human attention as much as he loves his toys. | REIKO SUGAWARA
Hama loves human attention as much as he loves his toys. | REIKO SUGAWARA

With a scratch under the chin, Hama the cat will be yours

Hama is a beautiful young ginger that hails from Gunma Prefecture. He comes from a hoarding situation, one of three cats that arrived at ARK in September through a local group that rescued the trio from horrid conditions.

Starved for stimuli and attention, Hama is still a bit shy around new people, but he’s learning fast and the affectionate nature that is often seen in red cats really comes busting through in Hama.

This is a cat that doesn’t do things by halves, he’s an all-out kind of guy. He plays, purrs and asks for affection with such gusto it’ll have you laughing and feeling energized yourself. How can you not feel a tingle of joy as you see how excited Hama gets when you tickle him under the chin? When you scratch him anywhere on his face, he’ll rev up his purr until he sounds like a powerful Harley idling smooth and low.

Hama’s toys are the main subject of his adoration, but so strong is his love for play, he can go through them pretty fast. This cutie is a catch. Scoop him up while you can!


Happy and healthy Ocho would do best in a home with no other dogs. | NIGEL BLEASDALE
Happy and healthy Ocho would do best in a home with no other dogs. | NIGEL BLEASDALE

Ocho is looking for a second chance with a new pal

A funny and affable dog, Ocho (or “Ochi,” as he’s affectionately called) generally has a sunny disposition. Unfortunately, he was unable to cope with the changing dynamics in his home of eight years after a new baby arrived.

When baby began to crawl, the storm broke. Ocho has a general dislike for other dogs and he began to get territorial with what he may have perceived as an intruder. Despite efforts to keep him and baby separate, Ocho scaled a fence and gave the kid a nip.

Ocho is now in need of a new home. He weighs in at just under 15 kilograms and adores attention. In fact, he plays like a dog that’s far younger than his 9 years. As mentioned earlier, he takes exception to some dogs and is likely to go after them. For a person who is not expecting any babies in the house, then Ocho is a perfectly happy and healthy dog who just needs a second chance.


Chii's ragged ear is the result of a chipping program, he didn't get in a fight. | SEITARO MATSUO
Chii’s ragged ear is the result of a chipping program, he didn’t get in a fight. | SEITARO MATSUO

Chii the cat will charm any new friends with his ‘super purr’

The gorgeous green-eyed Chii needs a chance and he hasn’t gotten one since he was picked up off the streets as a kitten.

He’s been sitting in the shelter for years now and though the word “shelter” sounds nice, it can’t offer an animal anything near what a home can.

And, no, the reason Chii, affectionately called “Chii-kun,” still hasn’t found a home is not because he’s a fighter. Chii’s ragged ear was due to his having been part of a neutering project to help strays, a program that requires vets to clip an ear, and Chii seems to have had a bigger chunk taken out than most.

Chii is anything but cantankerous. He’s a sweetheart through and through, and known for his “super purr.” Once he’s into your lap, he’ll turn it on and turn it up for you. Pick up on some good vibrations.


Phaedra is a pup who will act like a goofball for her friends. | KANA MATSUTANI
Phaedra is a pup who will act like a goofball for her friends. | KANA MATSUTANI

Phaedra the dog is looking for that fairy-tale ending

Phaedra is an adorably fluffy dog who was one of 34 rescued from the woods of Hyogo Prefecture before the pound got to them. However, she is still one of five who are stuck at ARK.

Beautiful Phaedra is the quirkiest of the bunch. She is quite shy around new faces, but once she gets to know you she throws all caution and care to the wind and “turns into a goofball.” She’ll rub against you and wag her tail so hard you’ll think it will drop off. And, because she’s so flexible, her antics make her look as if she’s made of rubber.

Phaedra adores being stroked and brushed and is always asking for belly rubs. She’s also friendly with other dogs her size. Phaedra’s name means “bright” and she has a bit of a mystical aura about her. She is named after the princess of Greek mythology whose story was rather tragic. We, however, are hoping that the future of this Phaedra will be bright and that her story won’t be similar to the tale from Greek mythology but rather a fairy tale — one in which everyone lives happily ever after.


Keane is keen on his new home

Kyoko Tamura (right), her daughter, Hana Nishimura, and her granddaughter, Kokona, gather around Keane the dog. | COURTESY OF KYOKO TAMURA
Kyoko Tamura (right), her daughter, Hana Nishimura, and her granddaughter, Kokona, gather around Keane the dog. | COURTESY OF KYOKO TAMURA

Keane was first featured here in May 2020 and he is now well settled into his new home in Shiga Prefecture with Kyoko Tamura.

When Tamura, a dog lover with three dogs at the time, first met Keane, she was grieving the loss of another of her dogs. She was immediately drawn to Keane, but as he was said to be on the verge of being adopted, Kyoko didn’t inquire about him any further. However, a year later she discovered that Keane had not been adopted. He was, in fact, still sitting in the shelter.

“When I met him again, I knew he was the one,” Tamura says. “He has the most beautiful, gentle eyes.”

Keane made himself at home from the very start, it was if he knew he belonged there. With her husband and son often away, Tamura finds the dog’s company “therapeutic.” He also helped her weather the death of another of her dogs, who died in June.

Keane is not young, however. He is 17 and, in October, suddenly lost the use of his rear legs. Not one to give up easily, Tamura started rehabilitation for him with a wheelchair and special harness and, miraculously, Keane is now able to go on leisurely walks.

“I’m hoping to spend a lot more time with him,” Tamura says, adding that her daughter, Hana Nishimura, and her granddaugher, Kokona, also love him. And, there is no doubt, the feeling is mutual.


Choco poses with members of his new family, Hinata and Seiichi Tachiki. | JUNKO TACHIKI
Choco poses with members of his new family, Hinata and Seiichi Tachiki. | JUNKO TACHIKI

Choco the cat is doing great in the ‘Big League’

Choco, first featured in the Adopt Me! column last October, appeared to be special from the start. Rescued by a school baseball coach as a kitten, he was placed on the path that leads to every shelter animal’s dream — a home to call their own.

Sure enough, not long after, Choco scored big when he slid into the arms of the loving Tachiki family — mother Junko, father Seiichi and son, Hinata. After first seeing Choco, Junko says they immediately started thinking about adopting him.

“We thought for a while and all agreed he was the one for us,” she says.

Credit also goes to Palermo and Sicily, the Tachiki’s two other cats. The Tachikis, who reside in Tokyo, thought a youngster on their team would be good for the two older, more experienced members, who could act as mentors. The strapping young Choco has already outgrown his seniors, but word is they’re all getting on well.

“Choco has the cutest voice imaginable and his eyes are the color of ‘yamabuki,’ (a Japanese yellow rose),” Junko adds enthusiastically. “He still seems like a kitten. It’s quite amazing. We think he’ll be more a part of the family with every passing day.”

Now that’s what’s called “making the Big League.”

If you are interested in adopting a pet, email ARK at Tokyoark@arkbark.net or call 050-1557-2763 Monday to Saturday (bilingual) for more information. Tokyo ARK is an NPO founded by Briton Elizabeth Oliver. It is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming abandoned animals. All animals are vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. Prospective owners are requested to undergo a screening process. Web: www.arkbark.net.

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