Having met Elizabeth Oliver of ARK (Animal Refuge Kansai) at ICAWC conference some time ago, I took the opportunity to visit her in Japan at her proposed new shelter site in Shitsugawa, Sasayama and existing facilities in Nose. Elizabeth has had a very interesting life moving to Japan in 1969 to teach but now spends all of her time and efforts caring for abandoned and unwanted animals.
The older existing shelter is a collection of homely kennels and runs perched on terraces in beautiful surroundings. On the day of my visit, about 120 dogs, 50 cats (many gorgeous Japanese Bobtails that would be quickly snapped up here in the UK), rabbits and two goats were being cared for. A silver fox is a permanent resident, his release being not being a viable option.
Staff and volunteers were busy carrying out their jobs with patience and kindness to the animals. I observed one volunteer teaching a dog basic obedience with its ration of supper. An excellent practice, which enhances the dogs stay in kennels, improves behaviour and therefore increases the chances of being adopted.
The new shelter site is positioned in absolutely stunning countryside with a mountain stream running through the property. Elizabeth and her team have wonderful aspirational plans for the new shelter including educational facilities and lodgings for visitors.
I wish Elizabeth and her fantastic team the best of luck with the new shelter development. If you would like to find out more about ARK or to make a donation towards the new shelter, please contact Animal Refuge Kansai.