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The Day Chachamaru joined Japan Cat Network

Chachamaru's rescue story

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We were out on one of our regular feeding and rescue missions in a restricted and evacuated area of Fukushima, for which we had been issued a government pass to enter. We would go to the houses of evacuees who had requested our help looking after left behind animals, maintain feeding stations along the way, and also check areas for wandering animals needing help. If we found animals in distress, or if the animals were wandering nowhere near a food source, we would pick them up for shelter. We did not want to over crowd facilities, putting healthy animals in potentially worse circumstances. On this particular day, we decided to check a secluded farm area that was off our general route, since an evacuee had reported seeing wandering dogs there.

We heard a dog barking, and stopped the van. When we got out, we could see a dog up on a hill, looking down at us. In these cases, I would often try shouting typical names, to attract the dog’s attention, hoping they might come running. Since this dog was brown, I tried yelling “Cha-cha!” followed by the typical “Maru!” and the dog came right down the hill. The volunteers said that I had correctly guessed his name, so Chachamaru it was, but I think he would have come to about any name at that point.

Chachamaru was immediately friendly, and overjoyed to see us! He did not seem in really bad shape, but we noticed that he would walk a bit and then collapse suddenly. This seemed concerning. We decided to leave a notice with all of our contact information at the nearby farm house and bring him to the shelter for a veterinary check.

The veterinarian told us that both of Chachamaru’s back legs had both been previously dislocated. The speculation was that Chacha had needed to escape from a too-small opening, which can result in this type of injury for dogs. Perhaps Chacha had been left behind inside a closed structure, and had desperately needed to get out in order to survive. Since his legs had both already begun to heal, there was not much that could be done about the injury. Chacha managed well on dog walks, without too much difficulty, but he was uncomfortable standing in one place for long. He would often just plop down, and sit. His favorite place to be is in the middle of the small streams located in some of our usual dog walk areas of Inawashiro.

Chachamaru’s original guardians were never found. His sweet nature made an excellent pairing with another dog at the shelter named Adelaide, who had been unable to interact positively with almost all other dogs. Addy (a guardian surrender) had become dog aggressive and had developed separation anxiety issues after being left alone in an evacuated area with her 5 young puppies. Addy was loving and sweet towards any humans, but immediately became fearful and defensive in the presence of other dogs. On multiple rehoming attempts, Addy became severely agitated and destructive when left alone but could not bond with other dogs in homes. She returned to the shelter where she was able to live happily and comfortably with Chachamaru. So, together they stayed.

These two doggies have cared for our volunteers lovingly over the years, and have made many friends, helping volunteers to feel at home in Japan. Chachamaru and Addy are still searching for their forever family to care for equally kindly. We would love to find a special home for both Addy and Chachamaru to go to together. They are a wonderful pair who enjoy long walks and will curl up quietly with their humans inside. Both doggies are currently staying with volunteers in Tokyo and can be met by appointment. Find lots more photos of Chachamaru, including from his rescue day, on his JCN facebook album.

Author: Susan Roberts

Director of Japan Cat Network Fukushima, Susan is an educator, animal welfare enthusiast, and vegan food fanatic.

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