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Rescue of 49 maltese dogs - taking off "armor"
You can see the photographs by clicking here.

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 there either?
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 smell.........

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 dogs.
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 sad.
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 around.

It was almost 7:00 a.m. the next day when we finished cleaning all the dogs.
We did not have time to sleep, but we started our ordinary works naturally.


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