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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

LIFELINES

Tying the knot; furry fallout


Cats in Kobe

Paul, his wife and children lived for some years in Kobe. They arrived shortly after the devastating earthquake of 1995, before the infrastructure had been rebuilt. Part of the fallout, he writes, was cat colonies living in the local parking lot.

"One day, returning from work, I saw two children sitting with this beautiful stray calico kitten. I took her home and she has lived with us for the last decade.

"Now, with kids gone, my wife and I are leaving so that I can take another job in Singapore. And yes, you guessed it: We can't take the cat with us. What to do with her?

"All the alternatives seem too cruel: Humane Society and certain death, dropping her at some temple or park and uncertain death . . ."

Would any kind reader be willing to give this poor moggy a home? Animal Refuge Kansai may be able to help. ARK works to alleviate the problems of neglect, abuse, abandonment, and uncontrolled reproduction of pets in Japan. At present, ARK cares for about 200 dogs and 160 cats at its sanctuary in Nose, Osaka Prefecture. Although the refuge has a finite amount of space and a limited number of people able to help care for animals, the organization does offer advice and help in times of need. The address is: ARK, 595 Noma Ohara, Nose-cho, Toyono-gun, Osaka-fu 563-01. Phone (0727) 37-0712/1885, fax 37-1645/1885 or mail arkbark[*at*]wombat.or.jp. Their Web site is at www.arkbark.net.

While on the subject, reader Tom seeks the help of animal lovers everywhere. It seems the Web site www.theanimalrescue.com is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet its quota of getting free food donations to abused and neglected animals.

"Doesn't cost you a thing, taking less than a minute (about 20 seconds) to go to the site and click on the purple 'Fund Food for Animals' box for free," writes Tom. "The site's corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising."

International marriages

J is thinking of marrying her Japanese boyfriend.

"Is there anywhere I can get advice, so that I can be made fully aware of all the pros and cons. I love him, and I want to be with him, but is this enough? I have met several foreign women here who are not so happy now that are they settled into married life, especially those with children, who often say they feel trapped."

What you need is objective information. Talk to as many people and organizations in the know as you can, and even take legal advice. Embassies will sometimes advise their foreign nationals on major stumbling blocks. Particularly if you are young and hope to have children, you should be aware of difficulties that may arise. The Children's Rights Network has a good site: www.crnjapan.com/prevention/en/protectselfbeforemarriage.html

Available also in Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian and French, it may come across as overly dramatic on occasion, but that is because when things go wrong, more often or not they go wrong big time. So my advice is read very, very carefully, share what you learn with your boyfriend and take it from there.

Send your questions, queries, problems and posers to lifelines[*at*]japantimes.co.jp


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