If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you all know and love Willow, our bi-eyed fluff ball of a sheltie.We’ve been wanting to get a dog for the longest time ever and we were extremely lucky to get this gentled natured sheltie in October of last year. After deliberating which breed to get, to adopt or to buy from a breeder, our search landed on this sweet girl… read on to find out more about Willow’s story.
Why we chose a rescue?
Whilst there are benefits to buying a dog from a reputable breeder, I personally was raised with rescued dogs and people around me would adopt dogs from various associations. That’s one of the first reasons before getting our first dog I researched a lot. As we researched about breedings of dogs in Japan it became clear to me that buying was not an option for us. Laws here don’t protect the puppies and their moms enough, allowing breeders to rotate their dogs to produce a lot of puppies. We learned that behind each cute puppy in the pet shops are puppy mills, and even if they are reputable breeders separating puppies at 1-2 month old was very common practice and it was a practice we couldn’t support.
Willow was one of those mama bears, trapped in a cage only to be taken out for breeding. She spent her whole life locked in a cage. When she was rescued her fur was entirely matted and dirty that it had to be all shaven off and she weighted only 6kgs. When she came to us we had to teach her everything from walking to climbing up stairs but we were really lucky that she was a quick learner and her gentle nature, always wanting to please us made her an easy first dog.
About Willow’s Shelter: Opponokai & Adoption Process
Adopting dogs in Tokyo proved to be more complicated for us than expected as multiple organizations wouldn’t allow us to adopt due to us being young or being a mixed couple. We ended up finding out about Opponokai, a rescue association in Aichi-ken focusing on getting dogs out of puppy mills and saving them from euthanization. Most of their dogs are either mama dogs from puppy mills or puppies with some medical or physical disabilities. Opponokai have a lot of dogs and cats at their shelter and they are all crate trained and are taken out on walks as well as out in their shelter yard for playtime by rotation. There are a lot of volunteers working there which means that all dogs are very well socialized with humans and other dogs. Their adoption process also really prepares you well when welcoming your first dog home. Firstly they require you to have one first visit at the shelter, it allows you to meet your dog but also you might vibe with another dog more. Then they will ask you to prepare for your dogs arrival by having a crate, dog bed, dog food etc at home and then come do a thorough house check. Once that is done and you pass through the screenings you can either go pick up your dog yourself or have your dog or cat delivered to your home by a volunteer.
If you choose to adopt a dog in Japan, there are various amazing organizations you can go through but I wanted to share our personal experience here in Tokyo. If you are looking or thinking to adopt here in Jpan I hope this post helped you just a little bit.