Disclaimer: I know this post doesn’t really belong on this page, but as of the time of writing there was nowhere appropriate. Hopefully we can move it once there’s a place for it to go!
Dogs in Japan
People coming to visit Japan from a Western country might be surprised by Japanese animal welfare standards – after all, Japan is an Asian country and, while not quite as extreme as China or Korea, does not have a great track record when it comes to respecting animals’ rights. In Japanese society, dogs fare better than probably any other animal when it comes to garnering respect, though a caring Western dog owner might be surprised to learn what constitutes an appropriate level of care here.
When it comes to getting a dog, most Japanese people will head to the pet shop to buy a young pup. Collective consciousness of welfare issues associated with puppy mills and pet shops is reasonably small, so many people don’t see this as an issue. The all-too-common consequence of treating a dog like a commodity to be purchased, is that the dog is thrown away when owners realise caring for a dog is not all fun all the time. Unfortunately, the cultural trend for purchasing a ‘new’ dog as opposed to adopting a ‘used’ dog is strong, and so few people adopt from shelters. The general result of this is that dogs who end up in shelters are likely to be killed.
Those who are interested in getting a dog in Japan would do well to help out a dog in need and adopt. There are a number of no-kill shelters dotted around the country, which are in need of support to keep helping pull dogs out of the municipal shelters. Every time a dog is adopted from a no-kill, another dog is saved.
I personally adopted my dog at a shelter called Life Boat in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture (https://www.lifeboatjapan.org/satooya/dog/ – Japanese). They also have cats in need of a home. You can view each dog’s profile before you head in there, so you’re able to get an idea of the dog’s personality and temperament. They were super helpful and gave us as much time to decide on our new family member as we needed.
So if you’re looking for a pet, please consider adoption!