Helping Rescue Dogs Enriches Many Lives

The Yomiuri Shimbun
“Yuba, you’re going to be a big sister,” is just one of the things Keiko Tanaka repeatedly told her dog before the birth of her son Rei. When Yuba and Rei first met, the dog watched over the child as he slept like an elder sister would for a younger brother. Recently, Yuba has begun coming to the kitchen as a way of letting his mother know when Rei is getting cranky. Yuba and Rei also cuddle up and watch TV together sometimes. “When it comes to motherhood, Yuba outranks me, having given birth to so many children,” Tanaka said with a smile in Kawasaki on Aug.7.

A small white dog named Yuba tenderly gazes at a young boy as though she is his elder sibling. Ever since her owner, Keiko Tanaka, 32, who lives in Kawasaki, gave birth to her first son Rei, 1, in May last year, his closest companion has been Yuba.

Yuba is a female rescue dog who became a member of the Tanaka family two years ago, after being taken from a breeder that forced her to give birth to several litters of puppies for the sole purpose of selling them. Tanaka came across Yuba through the assistance of a private animal rescue group and the dog has become an irreplaceable member of the family.

“Yuba is very kind after all of the hardships she has faced up until now,” Tanaka said.

Rescue dogs are taken in by local animal care centers or private rescue groups for a variety of reasons, such as having been abandoned by their owners or breeders.

According to the Environment Ministry, the number of dogs kept at facilities such as animal care centers decreased by two-thirds in the last 10 years, while the number of cases in which dogs were killed decreased to less than a tenth. However, it seems that those who own or sell pets still have a low awareness when it comes to the importance of life.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Goro is a comedian and loved by everyone, said Edward Lampert, seen standing in the back on the right near his wife, in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Sept.21.

Edward Lampert, 66, and Yumi Kitamura, 62, a couple living in Minato Ward, Tokyo, adopted a Saint Bernard named Goro into their family three years ago. He is their third rescue dog. He was sold from a truck as though he were a showpiece but now spends his days peacefully.

“If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you should begin your search for your new family member in your local shelters. I’d like to see a society where that way of thinking is the norm,” Kitamura said.