The Aug. 18 editorial “Too many abandoned animals” caught my attention because it refers to the Feb. 19 article “Millions of dogs, cats coddled, 200,000 gassed each year in pet-mad Japan.”
Our 17-year-old cat died peacefully a few hours before I read this article. I was shocked to read that, in 2010, 152,000 cats were euthanized. Also mentioned were private animal shelters, including one called Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK).
After checking ARK’s home page and filling out an application online, my wife and I went to an adoption event in Tokyo to meet several animals and sitting for an extensive interview.
We had to provide photos of our home and proof that pets were permitted in our mansion.
The staff at ARK searched the profiles of more than 100 cats that either had been abandoned or had belonged to owners who were no longer able to care for them due to the owner’s ill health, death or move out of the country.
In April they matched us with a 7-year-old pure-white cat that had been found wandering the streets of Osaka. It had a scar possibly from a cigarette burn.
On April 13, “Mashiro” was flown to Haneda Airport, and an ARK staff member delivered him to our home. For a nominal fee, Mashiro got a complete physical exam, necessary vaccinations, and was neutered. He also has a microchip.
Within days, Mashiro adapted to his new environment, and we are extremely happy to have him as a family member.
I don’t have any objections to people purchasing an animal at a pet store, especially if they’re looking for a particular breed. I do recommend, though, that potential pet owners strongly consider adopting a pet, at least on a trial basis, in order to understand the responsibilities of pet care.
More importantly, by adopting a pet, you are giving that cat or dog a second chance to live a full life followed by years of joyous memories for yourself. That has to make anyone feel good.
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.