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.


  1. How sick that poor cat looks... These updates are always part relief that you got a few of them and sadness at all the ones that are still out there.

  2. You guy's and Gal's are 1% ers.
    Don't ever forget that. If the world were right you'd all be the richest folks on earth!! I wanna believe in people but can't most of the time...everytime I see your posts about this i remember there are great...outstanding humans like you out there making shit right!

    Keep up the good work!!

  3. Thank you so much Jen and Chris. It's pretty hard, some days more than others, but getting to hang out with puppies and bitey dogs that become lovely dogs, and snuggly cats, is a fabulous reward.