venerdì 17 ottobre 2014


Yesterday we went to Ōzato prison camp/gas chamber with a Mission: to adopt a dog for our friend Yoco-san. Wednesday is the ONLY day of the week when humans can visit the place and bring home a dog or a cat (both and/or more than one, if they have very good souls). The other days… No comment.

I was surprised by the welcoming gentleness of the staff who works there. Mostly volunteers (women, I didn’t see any man) of the JPCA (Japan Pet Care Association). After 1 p.m. people like us started arriving, willing to bring home a cute puppy. At the end of the afternoon only three lucky dogs found a new family, the others need to wait for the next Wednesday…

Ōzato’s system is very peculiar. There end all the stray dogs and cats of Okinawa, for their last destiny. If you are in a good shape and health, if you’re young and cute you’ll have a chance. You’ll be kept alive and every Wednesday could be your lucky day.
However, if you’re old and sick, or not so good-looking, then… you have FOUR working days if you are a cat, FIVE if you’re a dog. If during these few days nobody appears at the horizon and brings you away from there… the CO2 waits for you (20 minutes of sufference before dying). Everybody knows it, this World is a place only for good-looking souls…

Some time ago I made a petition to make pressure on the authorities that could do something about this, towards a ‘zero-killings’ future (spay the stray animals for free through a public system, you can bet that soon the animal population under the cars wheels will decrease). Until then… we can only rely on the wonderful volunteers, on the cuteness of few lucky animals and on Wednesdays…

Yesterday it has been the lucky day for Anji, the less good-looking dog (boy) of the group available for adoption. Our friend Yoco wanted a four-legs company and decided to look for him/her not in a stupid shop where pets dealers get rich, but at the public kennel. BRAVA Yoco! She chose a funny and shy dog, the one who has been in the ‘lucky ones circle’ (the élite destined to be adopted and not gassed) for six months, the longest-term ‘guest’ of Ōzato. He’s only one year old, but maybe because of his chanpuru breed, or maybe because he has been abused when puppy (he’s too quiet), looks older.

I proposed Yoco to call her new friend ‘Girolamo’ (I know an Italian actor that plays like a dog), but she opted for Anji, a kind-of Japanese version of ‘Angelo’. When Yoco chose him, instead of any other – more fuffy, chubby, sweet -, all the volunteers were terribly happy. I don’t know if Anji is happy – he didn’t give many signs of happiness, maybe he needs time to get used to the new life -, but certainly I am very happy to see that in Okinawa there are people as Yoco and as the JPCA volunteers.

Another peculiarity of Ōzato’s system is the incredible amount of rules. After you decide to save an animal, you’re only half way… First you need to fill up a bunch of forms, then try not to sleep during an hour class on how to take care of the animal and what further steps to make. One of them: later on go to your city hall and fill up more paper stuff. Maybe to avoid smart guys that pick up animals and just set them free after leaving the prison camp (exactly what I would do). Or simply beacause Japan is The Country of rules… At the end of the ‘class’ Yoco was more exhausted than after one of my Italian classes (she’s a student of mine). If I had to take a class of that kind I’d probably leave the place after one minute, chocked by boredom, not bringing home any animal… Luckily for Anji, Yoco is not me.

During our visit the volunteers asked us if we wanted to see also the cats (they keep them in a separated place), but I refused. If I had watched them I’d very probably had brought home at least five of them, and…
To end this story: dear friends in Okinawa, do you want a dog or a cat? PLEASE, do not go to any stupid pet shop. Save a life going to the prison camp of Ōzato (on the hills around Nanjo City), on Wednesday. After doing that, you’ll feel more… rich.


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