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NPO SALA NETWORK
|Rescue of 49 maltese dogs - taking off "armor"
On June 16 we arrived at the Tokyo Municipal Animal Protection Center at
around 2:30 p.m.
Tanino, Representative of SALA Network and the former owner of the maltise
dogs who abondoned them entered into the Center's office for a hand-over
procedure. We offered our help to put name tags to each of the abondoned
dogs, but the officer said that as the Center staff will do it the other
SALA staff members should not enter into the Center.
Although we wanted to move the dogs as soon as possible, the officer ordered
our staff members just to wait outside in the rain.
We waited for almost one hour --- the Center's staff put name tags to the
dogs and our staff members moved the dogs in the cages into our van. We
were not allowed to take photographs during these works.
We just wanted to take a few snap shots as SALA's rescue report records,
but the Center's officer told us very coercively "As the facilities
are under our management, you are never allowed to take any photographs."
-- It sounded like telling us "you do just what we order you".
When we tried to take a shot of our van with all the dogs in the cages
loaded, the Center's officer shouted in a loud voice ordering not include
their building in the shot. We understand that they do not want us to take
shots inside their shelter without permission, but they even did not let
us take photographs including a part of their office building from the
public street. It's a bit of surprise to us.
Within the Center, there is a site where children who visit with their
parents can communicate with dogs and rabbits. Photo-shooting is not allowed
While we were at the Center, protected and abondoned dogs were brought
in. The other day there was a TV program titled "Japan - heaven for
pets" broadcasted. However we wonder what they mean by "heaven"
as we actually see these unhappy dogs being brought to the Center.
We loaded the cages of 49 maltese dogs in our van and headed for SALA.
It was about 1-hour drive, but the van was filled with terrible "smell"
the dogs were giving out.
We are familiar with smell of dogs, but it was completely different --
these maltese dogs have been forced in a small place by the former owner
where they have been smeared with their pees and wastes since last September.
The smell cannot be expressed by words -- people outside the car could
even smell it although all the car windows are firmly closed.
It must be the dogs themselves who have been annoyed most with the terrible
After arriving at SALA, we brought all the dogs to the room on the upstairs
of SALA office. Although the dogs were small maltese dogs, they were much
heavier than expected (the reason would be known later why they were so
heavy). It had already got dark outside when we finished moving all the
Our hardwork started then. Firstly, we had to "take off" hard
and thick mat of hairs formed by dirt, pees and wastes covering the body
of the dogs (head, body and legs) just like block of cold "lava"
or "armor" as we expressed in SALA News in our home page. You
will probably not be able to even magine it. The "armors" must
have distrubed the dogs in eating or even in excreting. Moreover, the heavy
and thick "armors" made it impossible for the dogs to scratch
when they feel itchy and no ventilation for their skins available. The
poor dogs had to bear the heavy "armor" in summer season -- this
is beyond our imagination.
We started removing the hard and heavy "armor" one by one. We
could use an electric hair clipper for the flat part of the back, but basically
we had to work with scissors. Insert scissors into a tiny space between
the "armor" and skin and remove the "armor" by cutting
hairs by 1～２mm. We had to use varios tools for the parts we could not use
either hair clipper or scissors.
Worse thing is that as the dogs skins were covered by thick "armor"
for a long time they got thin and sensitive, and we had to be extremely
careful not to hurt their skins in removing the "armors". You
cannot believe it but you cannot tell which is head, which is tail or which
is leg at a glance -- you cannot tell even by touching them.......
It took us more than one hour to clean one dog. After the "armors"
are taken off, they got very small and they started playing around. We
worried about the dogs because all the dogs were inactive with no vigor
(they did not move around) when we saw them first. But they got so active
moving around and playing each other once the heavy "armors"
were removed -- they simply could not move -- this fact made us feel so
The armor itself was as heavy as the dog's weight !
"Armor"-removing work started in the evening and continued ...........
and around 11:00 p.m. when we all got exhausted with stiff shoulders, legs,
paralysed arms/hands we had late supper and had a short break. We finished
with just half of the dogs at that time.
After we finished quick supper and short break, we continued the "armor"-removing
work. While we continue the work, cleaned dogs started actively playing
It was almost 7:00 a.m. the next day when we finished cleaning all the
We did not have time to sleep, but we started our ordinary works naturally.
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