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Dogs find new salvation with government website

Date Posted: 2005-09-29

The Okinawa world is going to the dogs.

At least, that’s an expectation of the Yaeyama Welfare Health Center, which has launched an internet bid to improve the lives, and preserve the lives, of dogs across the prefecture. The Center created an internet Home Page strictly devoted to dogs a year ago, hoping to match dogs in distress with people wanting an animal.

Already, officials say, they’ve reduced the number of dogs facing euthanization, being put to sleep, because of homelessness. The Center staff says its goal is to find all dogs homes, and they’re posting pictures of available animals on the website. The site can also be used to list lost dogs in hopes the missing pooch will be recognized and ultimately reunited with its owner.

“It’s too hard to see the dogs dying every day,” says one staff member. We don’t want to see more. W hope dogs can find masters or homes.” The home page, http://www3.pref.okinawa.jp/view, lists plenty of information about animals available as pets. All breed information, age, identifiable habits, and pictures are posted.

For a person traumatized by losing a pet, it’s another avenue. “I’m working everyday and don’t have time to go to the Health Center to look, even though I know my dog’s missing. It’s so nice to have a home page where I can look,” said one harried businessman. “I can tell about my dog if he’s been found.” Another advocate of the new program says she knows “there are a lot of masters who don’t know where their dogs are, and they don’t have time to check.” She says the Health Center has an aura of love, with a staffer named Miyagi exercising lots of tender loving care to animals. “I love to watch dogs, and I’ve taken care of a lot of them,” Miyagi says. “Feeding and walking and training them how to behave is wonderful. I just wish I had the money to buy them all, but I can’t.”

The young dog handler encourages people wanting a pet to visit the website and find the animal of their dream. He or she is there, Miyagi promises.

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