Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Help cats and teach English!

Substitute for a good cause!
Japan Cat Network is looking for someone to come to Hikone (near Kyoto), to cover some evening English classes so that we can continue to work in Tohoku. Right now there are classes that need to be covered for tomorrow night (Thursday). We are not looking for a volunteer - we can pay 4,000 yen per 60 minutes plus some transportation. If you might be able or interested please write back right away, We need someone for tomorrow, and need to set it up now, or leave Tohoku in the morning. There are also classes on Monday and Friday nights - with the possibility to crash here overnight if need be.
 If you are able to volunteer at the shelter as well, we would love you forever. 
Drop me a comment or shoot me an email if you can help!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

kits and pups

I have taken on a role as an (unpaid, of course!! ha) coordinator, so I'm trying to manage volunteers as well as drive, translate, and of course pick up and transport animals. Every day is a blur!

This is Mr. Saito and Ginny with one of the six kittens and five adult cats that we picked up in Aizu. He was really sad to see them go and shed a few tears as we left.
I was able to visit with Cocoa, the dog from Iwate, at the shelter the other day. I took her out for a walk and though she barks at most everyone else, she seemed happy to see me and gave me a kiss and didn't yell at me. I'd like to dedicate Cocoa's rescue to Lily, who not only gave me a donation and bought me coffee, but offered to spread the word about fostering in Niigata and has been in touch about other ways to volunteer.

Here are a few more shots of dogs we got on the last day we were in the 20 km. zone. They are all receiving food, shelter, and medical care now, and though some were quite sick going in, they all have a better chance now at survival and happy homes in the future.
I'd like to dedicate these dogs to my dad, who sent us a couple of good geiger counters, enabling us to monitor the situation, be safer, and scan the animals and ourselves after coming out of the exclusion zone.
During Golden Week, many volunteers and animals flowed through our network, stopping for a spell at the Sendai or Fukushima bases, transporting animals to Animal Friends Niigata, and from there on to Japan Cat Net and Heart Tokushima.
This dog, Jam, had severe separation anxiety. He was ok if he was basically in your lap, but if you walked away, he cried piteously until someone came back. Judy, a bitchin' translator with a fabulous potty mouth, slept in the genkan with him, then took him back to some of his people (friends of the owners, who had evacuated to a no-pets-allowed spot in Tokyo) in Hirono. One happy ending.

Next up: Olympic snowboarder rubs elbows with goats, drunks, dogs, and debris.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

radioactive dogs

dear friends,

We returned from Iwate late Thursday night with Cocoa. We were able to pass her to Isabella, the founder of Animal Friends Niigata, along with some other dogs that had come in with other teams. We went to bed, exhausted from the many hours of driving and the chaos that we had seen.

My rest didn't last long, however. No sooner had I gotten into bed then Susan and Miho came in, stressed and frantic. They had just arrived from the exclusion zone with a van full of sick and starving animals. They had learned that the <20 zone was to be closed at midnight, and had scrambled to take out as many animals as possible before the deadline.
Ginny with Skinny
We went down to the parking lot in the middle of the night to minister to the frightened animals. We fed, watered, and walked them, cleaned their cages, and put anything that had been exposed to radiation in bags to be disposed of as toxic material. These are the animals that you can see in the video. I walked a few of the dogs, including the skinny brown dog whose ribs were highly visible in the video. He was wheezing the whole time, walking unsteadily.

In the morning, the dogs (and one cat, who ate six packets of food at one go) were transferred to AFN, where they were washed and put through a decontamination and quarantine procedure. The cat, Stuart the vet said, had probably a 15% chance of survival, as it had an upper respiratory infection, fleas, and was malnourished.
This tiny, sweet, and sick kitty stayed the night in the hotel bathroom before we could get her to the shelter.
The skinny brown dog, it seems, is in bad shape. When he was washed in his decon procedure, he collapsed. He is currently in intensive care at the vet. The cat however, has perked up quite a bit. She is on medication and has a healthy appetite.
On Friday morning, as we were walking and ministering to the dogs, I had the chance to meet the lovely Lily of the blog Café Yamashita. We have been reading each others' websites for awhile now, and when she saw I was in Niigata she reached out to me. She is just as friendly and generous as she comes across on her blog. Lily, flanked by her little boy Sora, jumped right in with offers of help, support, whatever we needed. Thank you so much, Lily!

And an update on the kittens from Aizu: Five out of six made it - the runt didn't survive. The rest are doing fairly well, though they have some kind of bacterial infection that gives them diarrhea, and kittens are highly susceptible to dehydration. Happily, one of the adult cats has already been rehomed. I'd like to dedicate those cats to my mom, who gave me a donation for gas money. Thanks mom! Cats are being sheltered, cared for, and put in good homes thanks to you.