The thing about being a dog owner is that even holidays turn out to be all about dog. We spent a substantial part of our japan holiday looking out for cute Japanese doggies and saying hello to them. One of the sweetest ones I saw was a little one (a silky terrier I think) perched on a bicycle basket and waiting for her owner outside a drug store. Her owner took such a long time that we spent quite some time just hanging out and petting her.
One of the KPIs for this trip was to search for dog related stuff. I had heard that the range in Japan for dog paraphernalia was extensive and was really looking forward to search for nifty things for Rusty. We saw several small shops while shopping but unfortunately none of the large hypermart kind which I have heard about. The shops also sold lots of dog clothing which the Japanese seem to love but I personally don’t like dressing up my own dog. A scruffy looking Rusty is just more HIM. =)
Google search did however throw up an interesting place (Dog Mind Cafe, Osaka Business Park, IMP Building), a shop which you can go to relax and play with dogs for a fee. The husband and I were quite intrigued and because we were missing Rusty like crazy towards the end of our holiday, we thought it would be nice to cuddle another furry friend. We paid ¥500 each to enter an area which had about 15 dogs to play with. There were beagles, shih tzus, standard poodles, toy poodles, dacshunds, a maltese and a bull terrier. We were most taken by a little black toy poodle whose personality reminded us so much of Rusty – independent, spritely and slightly aloof. =) I also spent a large part of my time cuddling a wide eyed wired haired dacshund which jumped on my lap voluntarily. It was one of the happiest days and I was superbly happy for those few hours.
The husband and I spent more than an hour there and day dreamed about having a place like this where we can rear several dogs and play with them all day. And at the same time charge others for it too! But as we spoke about it, we wondered if it was really fair for the well being of the dogs in the long run. We noticed that most of the dogs there were very lethargic and many spent their time snoozing on customers’ laps. A large number were also hiding in a corner away from everyone. Their mass of hair hide it well but the poodles were thin and literally light as a feather when you pick them up. (Husband said it was the “can pick up with 3 fingers” type of light) I enjoyed myself that day but can’t help but feel that there is some semblance of exploitation here. But I also wonder if this concept can be modified. With so many abandoned dogs in Singapore, it might be more realistic for these dogs to be housed in a facility similar to this than to expect adoption. For many, adoption never happens and they either get put to sleep or spend their lifes in shelters with questionable conditions.