Friday, March 18, 2011

Japanese dogs stay together in midst of Tsunami

Animal lovers often respond to stories about dogs in a disaster because it is something we can connect too.  I was moved to tears during Hurricane Katrina by a woman who wept while standing in front of the rubble of her apartment building repeating again and again "my dog was in there."  I could clearly put myself in her place and understand what she was feeling.

Obviously the human disaster in Japan is beyond comprehension.   Thousands of people dead and radiation leaking from nuclear power plants that may kill and sicken thousands more.  So even though I am possessed of a boundless love for canines, preferring them to most people, I recognize that the trials of two dogs are insignificant in the face of this disaster.  However, as an animal lover I automatically think of the effect this disaster will have on animals, and on how loosing or being separated from their pets will effect the human survivors.  Which is why I found the widely circulated video of two dogs who survived the disaster so touching.

The two Tsunami dogs appear to be a brown spaniel mix and some sort of white spaniel type dog, possibly a Clumber spaniel.  After surviving the disaster the two dogs stand in the wreckage of what was once their home.  The white dog was badly injured but his brown friend wouldn't leave his side.

Here is the video clip

Here is an English translation (courtesy of a post on dogster of what the camera crew is saying)
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He’s getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.

The white dog is recovering in an animal hospital and the brown dog is in an animal shelter in the nearby city of Miro.  Hopefully their devotion  will be rewarded and they will be reunited with each other and with their owners (if they in fact survived).      Some people might say that the attention played to these two dogs moves the focus away from the human suffering and loss in Japan, but I would argue that seeing that these two dogs survived and stayed together gives us hope for the country as a whole.

The importance of dogs in our lives and the role they play in our families can be underestimated and that's why its so crucial to try to reunite them with their owners after a disaster.  Here is a photo of a man reunited with his dog that says it all

If you want to donate to the Japanese Animal relief effort you can donate to

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