My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a loyal friend, a thoughtful sister, ways to help

Do not be daunted by the world's grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.
~The Talmud

I was in town all day today, so when I got home I got online to catch up on the news and happened to see this poignant news clip tucked away at the bottom of the latest, mostly grim headlines from Japan. Since I couldn't figure out how to embed the MSNBC clip, I found the original (and somewhat longer) news video from Japanese television on YouTube. But unless you understand Japanese, you'll want to watch the MSNBC clip to get the details of the story of a loyal friend who refused to leave the side of his injured companion, both victims of the earthquake and tsunami...

Update: Though CNN and other sites had reported that both dogs had been rescued, with the ailing dog under the care of a veterinarian and the other in the care of a shelter (good news I'd also originally passed along in this post), I finally had time to look for an update on the status of the two dogs and found this discouraging news from GlobalAnimal. No one has been able to confirm their rescue nor their whereabouts, some animal rescue organizations working in Japan have been unable to find them, and there is growing suspicion and concern that the man who claimed on his Facebook page to have rescued them (and has been raising money there too) may be a fraud. I wish I hadn't had to take down the happy news of their safety and replace it with this, but encourage you to stay tuned to the GlobalAnimal page for updates. (They do have some good Japan animal-rescue news to share, along with information about how to help in that effort, and a lot of other information and resources about helping animals around the the world).

Although good news from Japan is in tragically short supply, here's another story with as happy an ending as we could hope for in such a calamity. Akiko, a Japanese student from Minamisanriku (a village wiped out in the tsunami with more than half its population still missing) was attending the University of California at Riverside when the disaster struck her hometown. Frantic for news of her family, she was unable to reach or get any word of them until a friend in Japan told her that her house and her older sister were in a video on YouTube. Their house was the only one still standing in their neighborhood, and her sister had the incredible presence of mind to attract the attention of a TV news crew and hold up a sign to let her sister in America know that her family was safe. And in an amazingly short time, her message made it to Akiko in Riverside. If you didn't think the Internet was a powerful thing, or that the world really is a small and connected place, this story should convince you!

In separateness lies the world's great misery;
in compassion lies the world's true strength.
~The Buddha

And of course the internet is a powerful tool for reaching out to faraway places and finding ways to help all who are suffering in the aftermath of any tragedy. Here are some ways to help our human and non-human friends in Japan (and elsewhere, as sadly there is great need in many places)...

Charity Navigator, a valuable tool for charitable giving under normal circumstances, is particularly useful now. They've provided a list of charities helping in Japan so that you can see at a glance how they are rated, along with sharing helpful tips on making your contribution do the most good and how to avoid scams.

Food for Life Global is a less well-known aid organization that seldom makes these lists but is a personal favorite of ours, as they provide healthy, sustainable vegan food to the hungry, impoverished, and victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Best Friends Animal Society's website has information about and some links to several Japanese animal rescue organizations that you can donate to, along with World Vets (a sort of Doctors Without Borders for critters), who are preparing to ship supplies and assist animal victims in Japan.

And if you're unable to donate money, sweet Eva has thoughtfully posted a fantastic list of many easy and free ways to help Japan's victims on her wonderful blog, Four Leaf Clover. (Thanks, Eva!)

Render help and kindness, wherever it is needed,

to all life, great or small.

Suffering has no boundaries, neither should compassion.

~Holy Lance


In local news, my home improvement and spring cleaning/culling projects, which had been going so well and seeing such great progress, suffered a setback when a feverish flu bug finally bit me so hard I could no longer ignore it and so I spent all of yesterday in bed. I felt well enough today to run my weekly errands (plus keep my haircut and Josie's vet appointments, though I nixed my massage), but now have lost two days and went from feeling ahead of the game to feeling horribly behind. I've got another busy couple of weeks ahead and doubt I'll have time to post, but I'll try during breaks to catch up on replying to your wonderful comments and visiting everyone's blogs (I'm way behind on those, too!)

And since I won't have time to do a St. Patrick's Day post tomorrow, I'll just take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day, and share the link to Mitten Machen's delicious recipe for Tempeh Stuffed Cabbage, which is what we made for our St. Patrick's Day dinner last year and what we'd be enjoying again this year but for a current tempeh shortage and the fact I forgot to buy cabbage today. (Hey, I was still delirious with fever! Well, a little bit.) :-)


  1. Laloofah -- I loved the video on the two dogs. If they lived by me I would have adopted them. Glad that they were rescued and I hope the animal shelter treats the one dog well.

    Thanks for all the mentioned sites. always is nice to read a blog that gives further info through links.

    Happy St.Pat's to you -- barbara

  2. that morning was horrible, we have family in Japan and i was really scared, thankfully they are all ok.all those stories are beautiful. there has been no cases of looting, which i also thought was inspiring. love and prayers have been going out.

  3. Oh Laurie,

    Thanks for the happy endings! A little brightness in a grim, grim world.

    Those dogs, God love them. You can see the care and loyalty the well dog shows to his/her companion. How noble and inspiring. I'm so glad they were rescued, and that the story gives some play time to non-human victims of the disaster.

    The second story is wonderful too! Imagine, the only house standing and then happening to see the video online. It is heartening in a severely sad and serious situation.

    I second MIchelle's respect for the Japanese dignity and integrity. I am hoping and praying on a nearly constant basis that yet another horrific catastrophe for Japan and all the world, full melt down, does not come to pass.

    I'm also sorry to hear you were down with the flu, and hope you are 100% soon! You'll catch up! I have every faith. Hang in there my friend. :)

  4. It's lovely to hear some good news from Japan - that dog who wouldn't leave his friend is just so touching. I hope they are both ok. This kind of thing puts all our petty worries and concerns into perspective. Hope you're on the mend, take care xx

  5. I've just, this morning, posted the link to the dogs video on FaceBook. I didn't watch the video myself, as I didn't think I could cope with it. I'm so glad the dogs were rescued. I hope they're reunited soon.

    Such a relief for the young woman whose home was left standing! And thank you for the links. I'm just about to check them out.

    Happy St Patrick's Day! (It's already here now, in Scotland! :o) )

  6. Thank you for sharing my post, Laloofah! I hope that many people do the clicks and such! Thank you, also, for listing so many other great resources. I'm sorry that you're under the weather. I recommend lots of soup and tea. : ) Get well soon!!

  7. Get well, nothing in the universe is assisted by folks as nifty as you being ill.

  8. I saw the video of the dogs earlier today. In the face of such disaster, it was nice, but not surprising, to see one dog guarding another injured and sick dog. It's such a sad story for all of the homeless animals that will never see their families again and for those who died along side their families in the tsunami. The miracle stories are heartwarming. The Japanese people have such courage in the face of this vast disaster and the continuing crisis with the possible nuclear meltdown.

  9. Thanks for the thoughtful links and hope you feel better.

  10. What a beautiful post, Laurie. It's so nice to see some happy news in this horrible event.

    I hope that you get a lot done so that you can relax a bit. Having a lot to do along with being sick is horrendous!

  11. Powerful post. I'm going to follow Penny's lead and share the dog video with my fb friends. The tragedy in Japan seems so immense, it's easy to feel powerless. I love the Talmudic quote you opened with as it makes clear the responsibility we all have to at least do something, no matter how small.

    I do hope you're not pushing yourself too hard and are allowing your body to get well. Schedules are theoretical.

  12. I'm sorry I'm so late in replying to everyone's wonderful comments! I'm making slow headway with my projects, spring cleaning and against this vile and relentless flu, but it's two steps forward and one back in all three cases. Thanks for your patience, and also for your comments - always appreciated!

    Barbara ~ I wish you could adopt them, they'd certainly have a wonderful home! I haven't had time to see if I could find any updates on them, but sure hope the injured dog has recovered and that they'll be reunited with each other and hopefully with their people soon, and out of harm's way.

    You're very welcome for the links to the sites!

    DD ~ I can imagine how horrible that morning was for you and am so grateful your family members are okay! Have they remained in the area or have they left? The lack of looting and the incredible dignity of the people have been inspiring indeed. I was listening to a radio story the other day where the reporter went to a shelter set up in a high school gym in one of the destroyed communities. It was housing over 600 people made homeless by the disaster, and most of the citizens were still missing. But despite the chaos, fear, deprivation, discomfort and horrible uncertainty they were facing, he said an older woman was standing at the gym entrance, diligently sorting the glass, metal and paper trash for recycling! I couldn't help but think of someone I know here, who despite walking past recycling bins as she enters her workplace each day, recycles nothing because, "it's too much trouble and I can't be bothered." Wow.

    Love and prayers go out still... they'll be needed for a long time.

  13. Rose ~ I'd found those two stories uplifting and they gave me something to be grateful for, which had been awfully difficult to find and I was sorely needing. So I'd hoped that passing them on would have the same effect on you all - so glad it added some brightness in - as you said so well - a grim, grim world and severely sad and serious situation.

    That part in the video where the first dog strokes the injured one in a gesture of love, comfort and protection just gets me in my heart every time (even when I just think about it!) By the way, I was thinking the protective dog was female but couldn't tell for sure, and since the narrator kept referring to that dog as "he," I thought I'd better too or it might get confusing. (But I still think she's a little girl!) :-)

    Watching the nuclear disaster unfold over the past few days has been nerve-racking to say the least. I am in awe of the workers who no doubt sacrificed themselves to remain and try to save those reactors from complete melt-down! It would appear at this point that they may have turned a corner and averted the worst, though it's still a horrible calamity.

    Thanks for your great positive thoughts, Rose! I usually don't get sick, and those rare times I do I recover quickly - but not this time! I hear that even people on antibiotics are taking weeks to recover. It's a humdinger. I do have days when except for my awful cough I feel pretty normal, and though I try not to overdo it I at least am able to get things done, which does make me feel better (in my head, at least!). :-)

    Barbara (UK) ~ It was very touching indeed, and I sure hope so too! I agree with you about how it can sure put our own petty problems into perspective (at least for a while!)

    Thank you for your well-wishes!

  14. Penny ~ Unfortunately, I finally was able to look for an update on those dogs and had to change my post to include the new information, which does not contain the happy ending we all wanted. Now my wishes have changed from hoping the dogs are reunited and in a safe and loving home to hoping they survived at all. It's heartbreaking, and deeply disturbing and exasperating that CNN would not have vetted the story before reporting it, or that the man who first claimed to have rescued the dogs (and has since changed his story) may well be lying. I'm sorry my own desire for happy news allowed me to be manipulated, and still have a hard time believing those dogs would have been left to their fate once found. Thank you for sharing the video, though... it shows a quality that so many animals possess that we benefit from acknowledging and emulating, as well as demonstrating the rescue work needing to be done on behalf of the non-human victims in Japan, and in that way the efforts of the loyal dog on behalf of her friend may help to save many more animals.

    I hope you enjoyed a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and guess it'll officially be Spring in just a few hours where you are, too! We'll catch up eventually. :-)

    Eva ~ My pleasure! I'm grateful that the Freekibble site donates kibble even if you get the quiz answers wrong, since I didn't do very well on today's questions!

    I haven't felt much like eating and even less like cooking in recent days, but I did eat a big bowl of ├╝ber-healthy soup yesterday and also drank some tea, and feel much better today. :-)

  15. Vegan Elder ~ Thank you, that's very sweet of you to say! I wish the germs that are holding me hostage felt the same. LOL

    Lori ~ I agree, and though I had to share far less happy news in my update today, there have been some happy endings of dogs being rescued, often with or by their people, under some extraordinary circumstances and that certainly is always welcome news. The story of human survivors being found even this all this time is also amazing and wonderful, and I'm glad to see at least some improvement in the nuclear disaster news updates!

    Shen ~ You're very welcome, and I thank you for stopping by and for your well wishes!

    Molly ~ Thank you, though I have to say to you what I said to Penny - when I looked for an update on the two dogs, I'd been hoping to have more happy news to share, and sure didn't expect - nor want! - to have to retract the happy ending and replace it with a disturbing one. :-( At least Akiko's happier ending appears true, though I haven't had time to check and see if she's confirmed the safety of her extended family too. Hopefully THAT, at least, turned out happily! And I still hold out hope for those two dogs.

    I'm trying very hard to keep plugging away (I have to), but also trying to rest. The tricky part is being sure not to overdo it on the days I feel pretty good, especially since I'm desperately wanting to make up for lost time. This was a really bad time to get sick (then again, is there ever a good time for that?!)

    Andrea ~ Thank you, and my thanks to Penny for sharing the video apply to you, too! I hope you'll see my update, though, although maybe those of you on FB already were aware of the controversy. I feel behind on everything, and this especially so.

    I have had that quote from the Talmud in my quote collection for many years and always loved it. It can be so easy to be overwhelmed by the immensity of the suffering in the world on a daily basis, not just in huge disasters like Japan's, that it does sometimes make me wonder if the things I do make much of a difference (I'd do them anyway, but I still like to know they do make a difference!) I agree with you, that every effort, big and small, by every one of us, is necessary and important. I think of one of Colleen Patrick-Goodreau's frequent (and wise) admonishments: "Don't do nothing because you can't do everything. Do something. Anything!"

    And now I must go do something, anything - because my current schedule isn't very theoretical, and it's got to be dealt with. But I'm trying hard to take your good advice, too! :-)

    Wishing you all a happy Vernal Equinox today, and hoping you've had clear skies for enjoying the beautiful full moon!

  16. Great post Laloo. Hugs across the miles!

  17. Glad you're OK. When you hadn't responded for a while I thought the germs had overwhelmed you, and I was concerned...

    That is SO disappointing about those poor dogs. And very suspicious. I so hope they're OK.

  18. The news about the dog rescue is disturbing and sad. I'm still hoping they're ok.

    I feel the same way about the protector dog's display of protection and comfort. It's so moving; what love and closeness they have. Animals are so inspiring. I've seen people step over someone passed out on the street; dogs and other animals are far more noble.

    I wish they were not so much at our mercy or subject to our horrible mistakes and decisions.

    Glad to hear you're still able to go about daily biz; hope your 100% again soon.


  19. I'm sorry the story about the dogs probably turned out to be a fraud but I found the story about Akiko so wonderful. The power of the internet is wonderful but it's just a tool - it was wonderful synchonicity in that story that I really loved!

    I knew about Charity Navigator but I didn't realize they had special information for the current needs in Japan. Thanks for sharing that.

    I'm glad you were able to do your errands on Wednesday and you were feeling better. I hope that the long day in town didn't set you back on your health.

    Good luck with the spring cleaning. Hopefully you're catching back up and even feeling a little ahead now that another week has passed! Good Luck

  20. It may not be a fraud after all. This is the latest update I found on the global animal site:

    UPDATE: 10:45 AM PST, March 24, 2011

    Finally, there is a substantive statement regarding the wellbeing of the two loyal tsunami dogs. FujiTV released a statement that the dogs were rescued by a professional animal rescue organization at the site where the film crew shot the video. Both dogs received medical attention, and the white dog is still at a vet. Thankfully, the two dogs each has an ID microchip and their guardians are identified.

    Hope you are feeling better, and your home improvements are moving along in a timely (and painless) manner.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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