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The real million dollar dog

NPR’s Scott Simon took up the subject of dogs today — specifically, those two tsunami survivors we first showed you four days ago.  (Here they are again, above.)

They were caught on camera by Fuji TV in Mito, Japan — the brown and white dog seemingly guarding over the apparently unconscious other one, and placing its paw on the other’s head when it finally stirs.

The heart-wrenching images quickly spread around the world on YouTube, and the lack of any confirmed reports on what became of the dogs left many wondering, and trolling the Internet for information.

Simon reports, as others have — based primarily on a Facebook posting by Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers –that both dogs were rescued and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.

Simon’s interpretation of the scene, like most, was: “The dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.”

It was similar to what he saw with humans, he says, while covering Hurricane Katrina: “…It seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, ‘I couldn’t leave my pet.’

Simon goes on to say: “Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins. To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, ‘helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.'”

While dogs go homeless in Japan, Simon notes, it’s business as usual in China, where Tibetan mastiffs continue to bring in huge bucks. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, sold last week for $1.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a dog (unless you count cloning).

In China, Simon says, “Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols … Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, ‘He is a perfect specimen.'”

Simon concludes the piece by asking this question: “The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?”

I’ll have to go with the grimy, wave-tossed mutt who has made a far bigger splash than Big Splash  — and who is a symbol of something far more important than status.


Comment from Smoketoomuch
Time March 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

Smokey Robinson said it best: “I second that emotion”.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time March 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Well, as they say on that commercial,
Pricey Designer Pooch: $1.5 million
Weekly bill for albacore and chicken: $200
Bravery and selfless devotion: Priceless

Comment from Becky Smith
Time March 20, 2011 at 12:54 am

Wow, 1.5 million dollars. That is insane. I love animals but that is a boat load of money. That is one royal dog.

Becky from HGH Advanced Reviews

Comment from Sarah
Time March 20, 2011 at 3:31 am

Dogs are really great to have, most especially if they were trained by their owners in the best way that they can. A dog that survived tsunami is such a great dog to have.

Comment from mlaiuppa
Time April 5, 2011 at 3:18 am

They rescued the tsunami dog washed out to sea that spend three weeks on a floating rooftop. Showed pictures of the dog rescued and identified the owner and the dog and described the reunion.

I’d take tsunami dog or Loyal Hero guard dog over the fat Tibetan mastiff any day. They are a proven commodity and the mastiff has yet to prove himself.

If Kenn Sakurai wants to continue to insist he had any hand in rescuing Loyal Tsunami dog and companion, he had better step up to the plate and provide photos or stop claiming he had any hand in their rescue if indeed any rescue took place.

If there’s no pictures, it didn’t happen.