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I fully agree with the statement in the article “New year, new chances: What to expect in the Year of the Dog” in the Dec. 31 edition that “faithful, intelligent, warm and full of energy, the dog has long held its place as man’s best friend.

I am a dog lover and have some personal experience to prove it. When I made a weeklong trip with my family, I asked a nearby animal hotel to care for my dog. Returning home, the first thing we did was go pick up our dog. To our shock, he was in miserable condition, having lost most of his hair, walking slowly and looking at me with vacant eyes (I’ll never forget the dog’s face).

The hotel owner explained that our dog had refused to eat and even walk from the very first day. Of course, our dog began eating a lot again, walking with us and fortunately returned to his normal life in a few days.

However, we then had to make a very important decision that when we take even a short trip away from home, at least one member of our family must stay to be with our dog. It was clear that our dog felt as if he had been abandoned in the animal hotel.

Through this painful experience, all my family learned the importance, necessity, depth and power of love and compassion.

While I can’t generalize that every dog has such traits, it was reported the other day that a severely dehydrated dog was rescued in a flat in Hungary lying alongside the body of her owner, who had died weeks before.

Having also observed the everyday behavior of our neighbors’ dogs, I feel that the essence of a dog might be compassion.

Sadly, our dog has passed away, yet he has been always with us in our hearts.

“Aren’t we expected to live with our beloved pets or neighbors around us (and the world) in peace, based on compassion and togetherness in the Year of the Dog?” — I hear such a message from our dog.

HIROSHI NORO
HADANO, KANAGAWA PREFECTURE

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.

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