Tuesday May 31st and Wednesday June 1st were more animal care, cleaning, and organizing days back at Club LOHAS, so nothing too exciting to report.
We did make an excursion to Hotel Listel, a huge resort hotel being used for evacuees in Inawashiro, to see if anyone needed help with their animals. We found several dogs being kept in cars, but the guardians reported they were all ok except for one. One man led us to his shiba mix living in his car. The dog had been attacked by another dog a month earlier and the dog had been to see the vet and received antibiotics, but the injury right above its tail was not healing and was still an open wound even after so many weeks. I took a peek at it (the dog wouldn't let me near his tail) and the wound looked healthy because the dog had been constantly licking the area. He was wearing an e-collar, but it was at least one size too small and the dog could easily access the wound. We told the owner that we suspected a bigger e-collar would allow for the injury to heal better as the dog wouldn't be able to lick the wound. We returned later in the day with a bigger e-collar and gave it to him along with some treats. The man was very grateful for our help and the e-collar that we brought was a much better fit.
That same day we went to another evacuation center in Inawashiro where, previously, JEARS and Kinship Circle volunteers had met Mr. Yamamoto, an evacuee with a golden retriever named Sandy. He had needed heartworm prevention for Sandy so we stopped by with the medicine and some collars for him to choose from. Mr. Yamamoto was excited to see us, as was Sandy, and he appreciated our help. He even walked with Sandy to Club LOHAS for the next two mornings to say "hi" and to drop off some fruit!
Sandy before he got his new collar. Photo courtesy of Brian Taniyama
On Thursday June 2nd, Susan had arranged for us to pick up the third dog from Mickey and Bill's house. The guardian had been asked to tie her up outside so that we could pick her up. We weren't sure if she would be, but it was worth a shot anyway because we were also planning to go to the Kawamata area to pick up the chickens from Samu's house! We had been wanting to get them out since the day that we found the coops propped open and one chicken killed. It seemed that the chickens were not safe where they were and they needed to be moved. We had gotten permission from the owners to remove them and Fran had offered to take them and keep them at his home so we were going to pick them up that day and keep them until he could come for them on Saturday.
Susan and I left for Kawamata fairly early in the day. Before we went to the chickens and dog we stopped by Yukimama's house to check on the cats there. We also drove down the road that Yukimama's house is off of to look for a cat we had seen previously that we noted was lactating. The first time we had seen her we had searched her property for kittens but had been unable to find any. This time when we drove by we easily spotted her. We parked the car and began walking towards her and she immediately jumped into and open window of a shed with a door. Susan said, "I think she's led us directly to her kittens this time." Indeed, Mama cat had led us to her kittens. When I carefully opened the door to the shed I saw one tiny kitten butt scramble for the corner behind a bunch of junk.
We brought out some good stinky wet cat food and mama cat was very interested in it, but the kitten we had seen didn't come out. The shed was full of stuff so we began moving items to search for the kitten and any littermates it might have. I grabbed the first kitten, a brown tabby male about 5 weeks old and took him out to the car to put him into a carrier. The next two were also easily caught hiding behind a box in the corner of the shed; a black and white girl and a black boy. The last kitten was the most difficult. He was another brown tabby boy but much larger than the other kittens. Once he was caught he fought the scruffing, but we safely got him into the carrier.
Mama cat was still hanging around the shed trying to get close to the stinky cat food. I let her eat some as I slowly approached her and she let me gently touch the top of her head. Since she was so hungry, we figured it would be easy to trap her. We set the humane cat trap we had brought along and in less than 3 minutes we had her! Looking at the kittens they were all fairly skinny, especially the smaller brown tabby boy and black and white girl. They had a fair amount of eye discharge and their eyes had that alien look that underweight kittens get. Mama had begun resorting to hunting to feed her litter as we saw a bird carcass and half-eaten mouse. We were very glad to have rescued this group since they were clearly on the brink. The rescue was so compelling it was covered by Discovery News. With 5 rescues already under our belt we were feeling quite successful already before we even got to the chickens and dog.
At Samu's house, we were relieved to find that all of the chickens (Kawamata Chamo is their breed) were still alive and in good condition. They even still had some food left over from when Miwa and I had fed them the previous Saturday. We proceeded to get the crates ready that we had brought to keep the chickens in and I crawled into the first coop which housed one hen and one rooster. They flew around a bit, but I got them into the crate fairly easily. The second coop, however, was not as cooperative.
The larger of the two coops housed one rooster and 3 hens. I scrambled into the coop and they all immediately began flying everywhere. I was clearly in over my head.
I would like to note that I do not have any chicken wrangling experience so I know that I was doing it completely incorrectly. I have since found out that all you have to do is grab their feet and they pretty much go completely comatose and you can load them.
As evidence of my ineptitude, here is a video that Susan took of me catching the chickens.
I managed to get all of them, but it took about 20 minutes.
Once we had all of the chickens piled into the van in two separate crates we went to Mickey and Bill's house to pick up the third dog. On the way there we kept scanning for police cars because we were worried about another experience like Monday. We passed one which I'm fairly certain were our "friends" from Monday because they saluted us! Other than them we saw no police officers.
When we arrived at Mickey and Bill's house we found not one, but TWO dogs! One was tied to the same dog house that Mickey had been tied to and looked almost exactly like her. The second was a free-roaming black collie mix. We caught the free-roamer first. He turned out to be a fairly old man dog. We have no idea why he was hanging around. The guardians said that they didn't know him. He may have been a dog left behind when his guardians evacuated and found his way to Bill, Mickey, and Lucky's house because of the food or because they are female dogs. Regardless, he is fairly sweet though barky. We next picked up Lucky who eagerly took treats, but seemed kind of shy. Since then she has perked up and is very sweet and submissive. Both dogs were much cleaner than Mickey was, but similarly tick-covered.
Our car was quite full now with 1 cat, 4 kittens, 6 chickens, and 2 dogs; 6 more animals than we had anticipated picking up. We headed back to Club LOHAS where Bill and Mickey had a very happy reunion with Lucky. It was clear that they dearly loved each other and had been missing Lucky. They now get walked together twice a day and it's so sweet to see them all side-by-side.
We decided that the safest place for the chickens was in one of the vehicles because everywhere else was filled with dogs and they couldn't be left outside because of the foxes. So the chickens were loaded into the Toppo car which we couldn't use yet because of registration issues. They settled in well and were happy for regular food and water.
The mama cat and kittens were kept inside with us. The two smaller kittens are quite sweet, but we are worried that the bigger ones are not very friendly and difficult to handle. Hopefully with time they will come to accept being around people.
At the end of the long day we were invited to onsen at a nearby hotel by a friend of Yoshikawa-san (owner of Club LOHAS). I'm so glad that I accepted the invitation because I was able to relax here: