Success Story: Max
The Japan Times and Tokyo ARK have given Angels with Fur kind permission to reprint notices regarding pet adoptions (see: potential pets who have been featured on the Angels with Fur site). In addition to requests for adoption, they also publish success stories about pets who find new homes. Here is the latest success story.
In August, The Japan Times ran an appeal for a dog named Max in its weekly photo box of animals in need of homes. Here was a dog whose life had been one of trauma, as well as apparent neglect and abuse. Unlike many of the previously run photos of cute and cuddly cats and dogs, the look on Max’s face was one of dejection and hopelessness. It was a silent cry for help.
Australians Greg and Kathryn Lund heard that cry and decided to adopt Max. They traveled to Niigata where he was sheltered and brought him home to Hidaka, Hokkaido, where he now enjoys a life that is the envy of many humans.
Max’s trip to Hokkaido from Niigata was the culmination of a much longer journey, one made possible only through the help of a number of people. In May, a volunteer working for Animal Friends Niigata, a shelter run by Italian-born Isabella Gallaon-Aoki, was contacted that a dog, after apparently being hit by a car, was languishing in the local pound with a smashed leg and no medical attention.
The volunteer called Gallaon-Aoki, who went to the dog’s rescue. “I had no idea what I was getting into”, she says, “I didn’t even know what kind of dog it was. I just went”. A vet that helps the group succeeded in reconstructing the dog’s leg with plates and pins. Volunteers raised the money to pay for the operation.
The malnourished Max recovered, slowly putting on weight. He was well-mannered but extremely fearful, especially of long thin objects, an indication he had likely been beaten. “He wasn’t aggressive,” Gallaon-Aoki says. “I felt he was a lovely dog and deserved a good home.”
Gallaon-Aoki, who also runs a pet hotel in Niigata, contacted ARK in Tokyo to see if Max’s photo could run. Now, according to new owner Lund, a former diplomat with two postings at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, “(Max) has basically a whole huge stud farm to roam about on, with foxes, squirrels, crows and all sorts of things to bark at and chase, and a nearby beach to go crazy on. He is settling in very comfortably.” Lund’s interest in the animals up for adoption had been piqued earlier, “but work and travel issues at the time held me back,” he says.
“Then along came Max’s picture in the JT, and the rest is history. He looked so forlorn and in need of some TLC, I couldn’t resist.”
The Lunds had German shepherds for many years in Australia, but a busy life in Japan had deterred them from keeping dogs here. Lund runs his own import business supplying the thoroughbred horse industry. Wife Kathryn works in brand licensing and promotion for a major high-performance sportswear firm.
“That all adds up to a lot of domestic and overseas travel, and we thought a dog wouldn’t be possible. But a journalist son now living and working in Niseko (editor and part owner of the ski magazine Powderlife) offered the possibility of a dog-sitter when necessary,” Lund says.
The face in the newspaper that touched the hearts of the Lunds is now one they see “all the time.”
“(Max) can switch it on and off as the need for more attention, or food, or a play with a ball, or whatever, strikes him. He has enormous charm, but is also a real con artist and a control freak,” Lund jokes.
Max came within a hair’s breadth of losing his life. They say whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Max is definitely stronger. He also, from the sounds of it, has gotten very, very smart.
Originally published in the Japan Times on Saturday, December 13, 2008. Photos by Greg Lund and Isabella Gallaon-Aoki.
Interested in Adopting a Pet?
Please email ARK at tokyoark[at]arkbark.net or call 080-6146-3889 (English) or 080-6517-8913 (Japanese). Tokyo ARK is a nonprofit organization founded by Brit Elizabeth Oliver. It is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming abandoned animals. All animals are vaccinated, neutered, and microchipped. Prospective new owners undergo a screening process.
The Japan Times supports stray and abandoned animals by publishing this photo box every Saturday in the Weekend/People section of the paper. The information is then archived here on the Angels with Fur site one week later, on the following Saturday.