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Doggone interesting articles!

Hachiko

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Looking at the Japan Times tonight, I stumbled upon some interesting articles on dogs in Japan, and how important they are:

A dog's life in Japan can be about as close to canine heaven on earth as it gets.

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Index Corp. President Yoshimi Ogawa with her company's Bowlingual, developed last year with toymaker Takara Co. to "translate" dogs' sounds and emotions into phrases like "I can't stand it" and "I have a favor to ask."

Sure, just like anywhere, there are losers, too -- the unfortunate ones who are abused, neglected or abandoned to their fate, perhaps passing through a pound before being put down. For the vast majority of pampered metropolitan mutts, though, being a "companion animal" means being treated like a royal baby, with no expense or effort spared to ensure they lead long and happy lives.

Pooch Paradise

The growing popularity in Japan of dogs as pets has turned its pet industry into a lucrative market in which suppliers and sellers are eagerly competing to offer products and services from the pet's cradle to its grave.

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A dog outside its soundproofed, air-conditioned Wandaa House (above) with optional video system for owners to check their pets. A dog being exercised on a "Dog Promenade." PHOTO COURTESY OF KAWAI ONKYO SYSTEM; PHOTO COURTESY OF SUNAGA IMPULSE
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According to Yano Research Institute, pet-related businesses, mainly comprising those related to dogs and cats, are expected to turn over more than 1 trillion yen in fiscal 2004, which begins in April. Moreover, in an otherwise sluggish consumer sector, this market is outstanding for the steady growth it continues to enjoy, having risen from 935 billion yen in fiscal 2001 to 966 billion yen in fiscal 2002 and an expected 993 billion yen in fiscal 2003

Creature comforts fuel business boom

On Sept. 14, 2001, veterinarian H. Marie Suthers-McCabe arrived in New York City. Disbelief, horror and shock over what had occurred only a few days before was still so profound as to be virtually palpable, with hundreds still missing from the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. Suthers-McCabe's mission was to take care of the dogs involved in search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.

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"It was surreal, as if you were in the site of a war...Big chunks of the World Trade Center were stuck into the side of the buildings, there was paper everywhere, and dust about 5 cm thick. On television you were just seeing a narrow view, but when you were there the disaster was everywhere -- as far as the eye could see, above you, around you and below you."

Caring for the canines whose job is to care
 
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