大地震の被災動物を救うために : 兵庫県南部地震動物救援本部活動の記録 / 兵庫県南部地震動物救援本部活動の記録編集委員会編. - 発行:[神戸] : 兵庫県南部地震動物救援本部, 1996.12. 請求記号:震災-7-156,318,319. p98-100

外国人も参加した

Kobe in Trouble
 Kobe needed help after the earthquake (Hanshin Daishinsai) that killed many people. I felt Kobe was crying out for help when I watched TV the day after the earthquake, I felt tears fill my eyes when I saw the message that could be seen by helicopter that said "PLEASE GIVE US WATER" written in the dirt. I knew they would be helped. But what about the animals who can not cry out for help?

 Many people ran to help the people, but animals would be last on the list as far as many people were concerned. I heard at one time the goverment of Kobe said they would put the stray animals to sleep. I felt so angry. What can I do to help the animals I thought? I called a person in the neighborhood who is very involved with the animal groups. She introduced me to Michiko Ooishi a veterinarian also in Okayama. Michiko was going to help in Kobe and I caught a ride to Kobe with her. There were four of us, Michiko, her son Taro, my son Kenji and myself (Debbie Williams). We went aroubd the middle of February.

 We arrived in Kobe in the early morning. It was cold but people gather from all over Japan to help these animals, who couldn't cry out for help. I felt very happy that there were enough people who cared about the future of the poor animals that lost their homes. * For the Love of Animals they came from far away to help. The animals were still sleeping. First there was a meeting explaining that there were about 100 dogs, 30 cats and a duck. And then the schedule of the day. There was a lot of work to be done.

Preparing meals, for people and anirnals
Washing blankets
Cleaning cages
Walking dogs
Organizing the boxes sent from all over Japan to help these animals

 The meeting took place around the operating table which was being used as a breakfast table. After the meeting we feed the animals and I walked about 5 dogs for about 20 min each. In the afternoon Michiko Ooishi and I went with the kids to go Iook for a baby swimming pool for a duck. We found the baby pool, and the duck was so happy. It flapped its wings and cleaned its body very happily.

 The duck might be was may son's favorite. I brought my son because I wanted him to see people helping people and people helping animals. More than just to see I wanted him to be one of the persons who were helping. I felt this would be good for him to do something for the animals. Kids were very self centered and I wanted to teach him to think of others and not just about yourself. Well, he helped a little not quite as much as I hoped. But it's a start.

 On the way home for buying the baby pool. We caught one stay dog. There were many dogs and cats running around the streets after the eqrthquake. We brought the dog back and put it in a cage where it would have to stay for one month to see if the original owner comes forward to claim the dog. The dog looked very sad at me when we put it in the cage. But I knew it was best for him, and one month later I got a telephone call. they said they have found a new owner for the dog. I was very happy. and reliefed he didn't have to stay in a small cage anymore. Whole families came from all over to take home a dog or a cat as their new family member. It was very touching to watch the union, as a family picture was being taken.

 The next day I helped with the cats. I wanted to see how they were being cared for. I also wanted to have a good look so I could pick one out to bring home. lt was hard to decide. I took Miike. She looked very calm and she was one of the olders cats (5 years old). I thought She might have trouble to find a home because she was older. In Okayama I already have one dog and one cat at that time. Miike was at the animal refuge camp for only two days, which means she stay after the earthquake it is hard to say where she was. But in the beginning she would bite just about anyone very lightly so say she didn't want to be touched. Before she was only 2 kg, she would bite, she was constantly in heat, and her fur was very unhealthy looking. It was really terrible when we tried to give an injection, she became completely wild. Gradually she became a completely different cat. She became bery sweet in nature and healthy fur and her weigh is perfect or slighdy heavy. She always wants to eat, I think she couldn't get much food after the earthquake for about a month till she was put in the camp. So food is so important to her. Also it is my guess that she may have stayed at an elementary school or something where is was touched too often by children and many people so she didn't like to be touched. So the only way she could let you know was to bite lightly. Animals can't tell us what a hard life they had, but I know she is happy now and I will take good care of her the rest of her life.

 Michiko the vet has become a very good friend of mine. I respect her and all vets for their everyday love and help they give the animals. And if I did't go and help in Kobe I never would have met her. I sometimes think about that. She will stand next to me as my maid of honor this Sunday when I get remarried, I will marry a man that I met through her. If it wan't for helping in Kobe I wouldn't have my best friend my husband and the twins I'm carrying. In my case Kobe has blessed me, and I only helped a little, and never expected anything in return. But for many Kobe and all circumstances surrounding Kobe earthquake mean sorrow and lose of love oncs. So it is hard for me to tell this story because I feel a little guilty because I was very lonley but I found everything I was missing when I met Michiko.
 Life goes on and we also have to think of our blessings. It is hard for some people to look back and its better not to spent too much time looking back. But look to the future. Kobe is filled with people with the desire to work hard and more on. We must value life itself, and just te be with the ones we love. We should never take it for granted.

 People in Japan are not use to much volunteer work except maybe PTA work, which is very different in the sense. But when Kobe needed help many people from all over the world did what they could for the people and animals in Kobe.
 I hope Japanese People start to notice It feels good to give our time, our money and our prossession to help others and to very expect anything in return.

 Kobe has changed my life forever as it has many people. The future is not ours to see we don't know our destiny. But let look forward to each mew day!
And cherish life itself be it human or an animal.

Debbie Williams (American 37yrs)
Living in Japan 17 for years
Present residence in Okayama city

(c) 1996兵庫県南部地震動物救援本部活動の記録編集委員会 (デジタル化:神戸大学附属図書館)
目次画面へ戻る