Earlier this month, our 15-year-old dog died, leaving our household grieving and heartbroken.

Readers may recall that in August my two dogs saved me from a bear in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, barking and chasing it off after it had swiped my head and arm. Had they not come to my aid, my injuries would have been far more severe. It was a last act of brave loyalty from Rhubarb, an aging dog that only had a few months to live, ably assisted by her 11-year-old sibling Goro. At only 14 kg, Rhubarb didn’t hesitate to charge a bear that weighed well over 100 kg.

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