It was to be a 5.30am start but we slept late, so it turned out to be a 6am start instead. From just north of Sendai to Iwaki city via the expressway under normal circumstances should take about 3 hours when abiding by the speed limit. However this was Golden Week, a period of 3 consecutive national holidays when the entire populace of Japan gets time off from work and school simultaneously . No one wants to sit at home, so everyone moves and they move in their droves by any form of transport that will take them elsewhere. Public transport is usually choc-a-bloc, with seats being reserved weeks in advance. And roads? well, don't mention the roads! Nightly news broadcasts the record breaking traffic jams from around the country. Over the years the best approach I have learned to getting out and about in Golden Week is to leave early, crack of dawn early, hence our scheduled departure time.I added an extra hour to the journey length calculations and figured we'd hit the 10am kitty rendez-vous in front of Iwaki station on the nose.....despite it being Golden Week.
The plan was over-cautious to say the least. Speed limits were 'kind of' adhered to in some places and carefully considered in others ;-) My "Leave Early" motto worked like a charm, the roads were empty as empty can be.And that is what had us sitting in front of Iwaki station an hour before our meeting time. Chance to get some Java and find an ATM that works for overseas credit cards. Four banks later we were cashless but caffeinated.
|7 cats 2 to go.|
Re-united. There are so many wonderful wonderful stories of reunions. Everyone loves a happy ending they are so emotionally contagious. Happy endings in the animal rescue world are the highs that keep the volunteers coming back to help out again and again. We landed in on an unexpected high that morning in Iwaki.
|Chappy when we met.|
She had escaped the tsunami but her family's house had not. It lay in rubble. Her owner had been evacuated to a no pets evacuation center.When he and Chappy found each other again rather than cause hassle at the center he brought her 'home'. He visited her and fed her every day. But then he and his wife were moved to Government housing in Chiba. Government housing the length and breadth of the country does not allow pets in any shape or form. He asked family members to care for Chappy but she escaped and went back to the pile of rubble she had called home. For a few days the son and daughter-in-law tried to catch her. Chappy wasn't having any of it and she wasn't going anywhere with anyone who weren't her 'direct family'. Home is where the heart is right? The family members got in touch with Animal Friends (JEARS) and through a group AF were working with, Last Chance for Animals, Chappy was finally caught. And now here she was sitting in front of Iwaki station with 9 cats and a whole group of people she didn't know. No wonder things weren't thrilling.
What Chappy didn't know was that her people were in transit to see her, ALL her people. We got the call that they had arrived. She spotted them coming from across the taxi rank.She stood up, she squinted and if she could have spoken she'd probably have said "What the......?!AAAHAHAHAHAHHAHHHH"
The grandchild arrived first with his mother, then a Dad. With each new arrival Chappy's elation reached new levels. I thought if a dog could burst then this was where it was going to happen. We watched as this previous bundle of sadness turned into an overjoyed firecracker of excitedness. Circling, jumping, tail wagging licking and dog laughing*,. When she calmed a bit she only had eyes for her family. She wouldn't move away from them for anything, she gave velcro a run for its money.Then joy would well up in her again and she'd have to do her happy jumpy circle dance.
But I hadn't seen anything yet Chappy's Dad was yet to come.About 15 minutes later an older man and his wife traversed the taxi lot.The son holding Chappy let her leash go. All the volunteers gasped, one made a lunge for the leash. Chappy was only going one place. She beelined for Dad. He dropped his bag got down on his knees and wrestled with her while trying to get the treats he had brought her out of his backpack. Chappy only wanted him and his pettings. Ok then, when she saw the treats she wanted those too but just to take and put to the side for later.Right now it was all about contact, contact and more contact. She was oblivious to the world around her. She greeted and played with the man's wife but she was a true blue Daddy's girl and she had no qualms about showing it.Whoever coined the phrase jumping for joy did so because they were at a dog reunion. This 15 year old was hitting the high spots and she was over the moon.
*Dog laughing: http://www.petalk.org/LaughingDog.html
|Chappy getting some love after her emotional roller coaster|