This morning, I was honoured and surprised to receive a thank you email from ARK Animal Refuge in Japan. I've never received a personal thank you from a charitable organisation before. In addition to Doctors Without Borders, I had donated some money from my Etsy sales to the refuge a few days after the tsunami/earthquake struck.
Here is an excerpt from their letter:
To all at Sarawen Perfume Art,
I am so sorry to be late in writing to say THANK YOU for your wonderful donation. This is just to let you know the current situation and what your donation is being used for. We are sending out daily updates so our supporters can follow our continued efforts.
We experienced the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and in that one year took in 600 animals. That experience has helped us this time although the scale of the disaster is enormous, compounded by the tsunami and the threat of radiation from the crippled nuclear plant. Kobe is only two hours drive from here but Tohoku is in the north of Japan, a day's drive away, this hindered too by lack of petrol. We have had two boys from our staff up there rescuing, visiting local government offices for radiation screening, and then meeting up with volunteers from our Tokyo office. The animals are then taken to Tokyo Haneda airport and flown to Osaka Itami, where we pick them up. As of 29th April, 110 dogs, 15 cats and a masked love bird have come in here. Once at Osaka ARK, they are processed fairly quickly by our resident vet; de-wormed, vaccinated, blood tested for heart worm, microchipped and neutered. We send details of the animals with photos back to the local authorities to try to find owners. Already several have found their owners and those will be boarded are ARK until they are in a place where they can take their pets back.
Elizabeth Oliver ARK
Animal Refuge Kansai - ARK
Web Site: http://arkbark.net
Recently, the Japanese government has allowed -some- owners to return home to search for their pets, but sadly, after so many weeks without food or water, the chances for many of these animals is slim. Personally, it's heartbreaking for me because I love animals and understand how important they are in peoples' lives - they aren't just pets, they are family! If a disaster happened in my area, I'd want to protect my dog and cat. I'd be devastated if I wasn't allowed to bring them to safety. In fact I would likely defy the govt. and either sneak them in or find some way to return to them (then again, I'm a bit if a rebel!). If you feel the same, please sign this petition by Change.org to help:
Help Quake Animals Petition.
To learn more about ARK or to donate: http://drupal.animalrefugekansai.org/
You can also follow ARK at Twitter: @animalrefugeJPN :)
On the lighter side of things, here are my culture picks for this week:
FILM: Priest - Playing in theatres now and stars British actor Paul Bettany. The story is based on a manga (Japanese comic) and takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where devastating wars had been fought against vampires and everything is run by a strict religious order. A warrior priest, believing that vampires have kidnapped his niece, rebels against the order and leaves the safety of the city to rescue her. Lots of Steampunk and Industrial style elements, great action, and hey, there's Paul Bettany kicking major vampire butt. If you're tired of Twilight-style vampires, this film is for you.
BOOK: Up at the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham - In post WW2 Italy, a beautiful young English widower must choose between two very different suitors. But the surprising choice she makes one evening may be fatal.
MUSIC: A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds To Mars - Without a doubt one of my favourite bands of all time, even if I only discovered them last year! This particular album is an incredible emotional journey from the first track to the last, and in my opinion, is a vast improvement from their first. You can really tell how much the band has matured in terms of style from Jared Leto's songwriting and more varied vocals. Epic. I also love their commitment to environmental and humanitarian causes.
That's all today! Thank you and have a great week!