Around the world, we have been watching and listening to the news as the earthquake in Japan turned into a tsunami and then morphed into concerns for the stability of nuclear power plants. We watch and wait as aftershocks rattle Japan again and again. We worry about our relatives and friends in Japan and seek them out online and on the phone. We find some of them are safe, at least for now.
Many, many people are still missing in the aftermath of the quake, tsunami and aftershocks. Search and rescue dogs flew from the United States to Japan on Saturday. The dogs are from Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in California. They are getting a good night’s rest after the long flights and will soon begin work. Follow @searchrescuedog on Twitter for timely updates. SDF will get help to pay for this deployment from Charles Annenberg Weingarten of Explore.org. Weingarten promised to donate $1 for or every person who “likes” the Facebook page Dog Bless You, up to $100,000. I first learned about the challenge on care2.com. Lots of humans tweeted and FB shared the link and met the challenge!
Our community cares about the humans. We also have a special interest in the animals, and many of us want to be ready to help however we can. We hear little about Japan’s animals in the news, which is typical in major disasters when the human community has a lot on its hands just to find and care for the humans. Animal Refuge Kansai, an organization devoted to providing refuge to animals, places the first priority on work with humans. ARK took in 600 animals after a major earthquake in 1995, and based on that experience, expects to care for more homeless pets after the initial work to save human life and repair infrastructure is well on its way. In 1995, most of the pets came to them from emergency centers for humans.
We Also Worry About Our Anipals
The AT identified as many anipals in Japan as we could and sent messages of support to them. A number of pals have responded that they are ok. We have heard from @Aska_Alaska, @VanillaTheDog and @kurousanohaha.
@Kuronekotango just checked in and said, “We are good, thank you! Starting to think Mao is a quake antenna tho, acts strange & few mins later there is shaking somewhere.”
@IamButton has been in contact with members of her family in Japan, too. We have also been in touch with @PepiSmartDog, whose mom is on a ship that was in a Japanese port the night before the earthquake. She is ok, cold and cruising in Russia now.
If you have heard from any other anipals in Japan, please leave a comment. If you are an anipal or human reader of The Anipal Times in Japan, please leave us a comment here or send a tweet to @CheshireK and let us know you are safe. We are all here rooting for you and ready to help when and as we can.
News about animals in the earthquake- and tsunami-affected areas
Anipals who know Japan well have been especially concerned for the elderly people and cats of Tashirojima (Cat Island). @DaneRay was the first to tell me about this island and to express concern for these people and cats who live at sea level directly in the path of the tsunami. It appears that Tashirojima did sustain considerable damage, and that the community has survived. The source said that Japanese military helicopters have landed on the island. We aren’t in a position to check on the immediate source of the report, but we got it from The Cat’s Meow via a comment on The Conscious Cat, with much thanks to @Skeezixthecat for posting the link.
Although the news focuses on the human cost and resilience of the Japanese people, at least one Japanese newspaper has reported on a reunion of a dog and his human. We got this from World Vets Facebook page, I can’t tell you more about the story because unfortunately, I can’t read Japanese. The picture World Vets shared tells us enough to share their great relief.
How to Help
Behind the continuing aftershocks and work on nuclear plants that is dominating the news, animal welfare organizations are planning for assistance in Japan. Operation Fuzzy Mice is listing all of the animal welfare organizations she can find out about that are providing services or funds for recovery to Japan. Tom Collins, a Blogpaws blogger whose son is in Tokyo, is also pulling together information on where to donate. I know that I’m not even close to listing all of the efforts that are in planning or underway now. Please, leave a comment and add relief efforts for animals that I have omitted.
Search Dog Foundation is already on the ground. World Vets is preparing to deploy a team of volunteer veterinarians to Japan and is working with local animal welfare groups near the earthquake’s epicenter to begin to rescue animals. They have a donation page to help fund the deployment and veterinary supplies for the earthquake-affected area.
American Humane Association is also taking donations and working with other groups to develop a strategy.
Three Japanese organizations have formed Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The organizations are HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network. Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is accepting donations and will be working together to provide resources for animal rescue and support.
I am helping a group of anipals’ humans to raise money for the relief effort through an auction on my blog. The humans, including mine and @MaggieTKat’s and @DashKitten’s are making new work inspired by Japan. @Boomiethecat’s mom will offer one of her handmade quilts as well. We are hoping to be ready to start the first auction on Wednesday, March 16. If any other anipals are planning fundraisers, please leave a comment or send me a tweet.
Note: Brand new AT reporter @DaneRay really earned his treats today. His reporting contributed greatly to this story. Look for more stories on Japan and earthquake response from @DaneRay.