From the moment we got off the train in Izumi-chuo to the second before the taxi to take us back there arrived, we were wet, very wet. Okinawa's rainy season finished earlier than usual and we were smug with ourselves for having got off lightly. The week in Tohoku most definitely balanced my rain rations out. In fact I may even be over my rain quota for the year after the last few days. It sure knows how to do weather up there! Still, I had my trusty JEARS emblazoned jacket and was ready to face the elements:-)
We visited kasetsu jyutaku, the accommodations people move out of general evacuation centers to. Rows and rows and then more rows of prefabs. They are small with a mini-miniature-kitchens, a living room, a stand up bathroom and sometimes one more room off the living room. Most are connected to a distribution center. These are not all equally equipped so while the residences are exact replicas of each other the received items are very different. One of the locations we visited was not getting regular supplies of pet food and once the word was out that there were pet volunteers in the vicinity, heads kept popping around corners.
Earlier on in the allocation process people were randomly assigned their new abode. This has given rise to pet owners living next to non-animal friendly types and in a later tale I'll fill you in on one owner's dilemma. The venue we stopped off at today had already got their ducks in a row in this regard and many of the fur parents were off to the back of the facility. This was where we met Kelly. An almost one year old German Shepherd. There was some serious adoration going on for this young boy.His family had decided the flooding gravel pathway was not suitable for their pooch and they laid down teracotta tiles for him. They were living in the last row of the prefabs so they were able to stretch them across to the fence. The fence, now there is a good idea,they attached his name plate so passersby could call to him and a tarp was run from the roof to the fence to protect Mr.Sociable from the sun and the rain. Under which they placed his kennel/carrier.
He was and is ADORED. The husband came out of the house when they heard us and positioned himself at Kelly's side and proceeded to show us all the tricks the young fella had been practicing. For his reward he got a raw hide stick which every so often he would drop so anyone could pick up and he could gently take. He was a very sweet boy.The family told us of their other dog who didn't make it, a collie who was Kelly's best friend and mentor.
The family evacuated when the sirens went off and left their dogs behind. They weren't allowed back to their home until the next day when the waters had subsided. They found Kelly a good bit away from their home trapped up to his shoulders in a pile of debris, they took hours to dig him out but they managed. He had a badly gashed back leg and even though the fur has grown back over it, it has grown back discoloured.His people said his overall behaviour hasn't changed since the tsunami and that he is still a puppy in an adult's body.They went back everyday they could to search for his buddy but to no avail.Kelly is now getting double the love as his people are getting over their heart-breaking decision. Kelly is going to be just fine.