There are many paths that lead to many exciting and interesting places on Okinawa. Lying relaxed and exhausted at the end of a recent path I had taken was Saburo a three legged dog who is surrounded by a whole lot of love!
I first learned about Saburo in March of this year (2014) while reading an article in the Ryukyu Shimpo, a popular Okinawa based newspaper. It was not the title that grabbed my attention but rather the photo of a joy filled puppy running along the beach. Unable to resist I clicked the link and started reading.
Saburo is far from an ordinary puppy and he has overcome far from ordinary circumstances. Once a stray Saburo was the victim of a hit and run last year which left him seriously injured. When Kiyoshi Oshiro, a nearby sabani (traditional Okinawan fishing boat) builder, heard the loud bang and Saburo cry out he did what he could to help the injured dog. With the loss of his rear left leg and a broken back local veterinarians told Mr Oshiro that Saburo didn’t have a chance of recovery. However, despite the professional opinion he was given, Oshiro didn’t accept this diagnosis and sold his very own sabani in order to cover the cost of Saburo’s surgeries which would ultimately save the dog’s life.
Following the surgery, as one might expect, Saburo could not walk. This is where Tomoko and Kazukai Takara step in. This husband and wife team, who work along side Kiyoshi Oshiro, faithfully took Saburo for walks along the beach twice a day using a special harness to help support his lower back and remaining rear leg. Day after day they continued this rehabilitation until one day it finally happened. . . . Saburo’s rear leg started moving. The rehabilitation continued and now Saburo not only runs enthusiastically along the beach every day but also enjoys daily swims in the ocean.
The article, which reminded me of the good in the world, put a smile on my face. I shared it with a few of my dog loving friends and then, like sometimes newspaper articles do, it went out of my head. It wasn’t until months later when I spotted a sleepy three legged dog in the corner of a sabani workshop that I remembered of the article and exclaimed to the man who graciously was showing us around: “That’s Saburo!”
Immediately the room filled with love and the men, who just seconds ago were making a beautiful sabani by hand, came over to greet me and introduce Saburo. Kiyoshi Oshiro quickly informed Saburo that he had a visitor and that he should get up to greet me but the dog, who was clearly worn out from his early morning swim didn’t do much more than glance my direction and accept a belly rub.
Having the chance to meet Saburo was purely chance but I have to say I am very glad that the opportunity presented itself. He is such a wonderful dog who is surrounded by a whole lot of love!
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CLICK HERE
When life happens it’s always unexpected and almost never within normal business hours. That being the case it’s important, at least in my opinion, to have a plan for when the unexpected happens. This is how I stumbled upon Animal Hospital 22, a veterinarian which offers emergency services.
Until today I didn’t have much to say about Animal Hospital 22. I had not taken the dogs there before because we had been using another vet. Early this morning, however when our youngest best friend woke up having what seemed like a seizure we decided that a trip to the puppy emergency room might be necessary. Immediately I knew who to call and dialed the number. It became clear that Animal Hospital 22 was foreigner friendly with prompts in both Japanese and English on their phone line. After getting the after hours emergency number we called and were greeted by a female English speaking staff member. She took all of the important information about the situation and directed us to come in.
Finding the location of Animal Hospital 22 was very easy. It is located down 81 and off 329 on the left before the A&W (map and directions are available at the link in the beginning of this post). The facility was also easy to find due to it’s size and the sign that clearly said Animal Hospital 22 on it. We went inside and were immediately taken into the exam room. The doctor, a nurse and translator were all there to assist in explaining what had happened. Once the basic exam had been completed the explained our options which would include a blood test. Blood was drawn and tested on the spot. It took us only about 15 minutes of waiting for the results. When the results came back the staff explained every detail (in Japanese and then translated into English) and answered every question that we had. We were given a prescription and moments later were cashed out and ready to head back home.
The experience was. . . well I don’t want to say pleasant because going to the ER with your seizing dog is much less than pleasant . . . let’s just say it didn’t suck as much as it could have. The thing that stood out to me was how well everything was explained. The doctor could have simply said “there is nothing that showed up on the blood work” but rather went into details about what each result meant. The doctor and translator also were happy to answer any and all questions that we had about the situation without making us feel rushed or like we were inconveniencing them in any way. Even though we had been there at 430AM it might as well have been noon with the kindness and understanding that the staff offered.
Animal Hospital 22 is open 365 day a year from 9AM to 12Noon and 4PM to 10PM every day. The business hours are the best that I have ever seen at a vet’s office. Translators are available to ensure that you can communicate your problems to the doctor effectively. Paperwork is also in Japanese and English. There is also pet boarding available as are special events throughout the year for pet lovers and their pets.
For more information please don’t hesitate to click the link above. Also please feel free to post your experiences in the comments below.
Note: For those of you who may be wondering our boy Smokey who was in need of the emergency room visit is doing just fine although he did give us quite a scare.