JCN Fukushima Rescue Story: Hime Chan

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Susan Roberts

I'm an educator, traveler, vegan, and animal welfare enthusiast. I'm originally from America, but have been living in Japan for over 20 years.

Japan Cat Network’s earthquake and tsunami response team received a call about puppies born underneath a shed, in an evacuated area of Fukushima.

JCN knew that a previous litter born to this evacuee’s dog had been thrown in the river (sadly, a common way for coping with unwanted litters in rural areas). In situations like these, it’s difficult not to respond harshly. But had JCN done so, they would never have had the opportunity to rescue Hime-chan and her siblings or successfully advocate for her mother and her mother’s sister to finally be spayed. This evacuated guardian also learned a valuable lesson and ended up telling JCN about many other dogs and cats needing help in the area. Volunteers were then able to help these other left behind pets over the coming months and years.

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The puppies were instantly popular at the shelter! Hime chan was a very happy puppy and loved playing with her brothers and sisters. But, volunteers noticed that she often cried more loudly than the others, and that the sounds she made were different from those her siblings made. Veterinary checks at the time did not definitively reveal any problems, and soon all of the puppies found adoptive homes.

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Hime chan’s new family began to feel uncomfortable about her odd behaviour. They felt that they couldn’t understand or connect with her. When more veterinary checks finally revealed her hearing impairment, the family decided they no longer wanted to keep her.

Hime chan went to one temporary foster home, and then another. That’s where she finally met her forever mama and papa. The second foster family was warned that Hime chan would be a handful, so they were prepared for the worst. But, JCN received a message right after Hime chan's arrival saying that she almost immediately settled in, and that she was not at all difficult to care for. In fact, she made quick friends with Buddy, another Fukushima rescued dog in the family. Buddy, who had not played with other dogs previously, began to play with Hime chan. Eventually he was hooked on doggie play-time! Hime-chan won the hearts of mama and papa as well, and her foster home became her forever home. Hime chan, the little princess, found her perfect kingdom!

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