A Dog That Protected His House & Farm Animals – UPDATE

Here is a story of one dog that was found heavily injured by a group of animal rescuers who went inside the 20km no-go zone in Fukushima on May 3, 2011. Below is the translation of the story.

May 8, 2011
As we were driving slowly, we came across an unusual sight.

There were a herd of cows and some silkie fowls (a breed of chicken) roaming freely, coexisting peacefully.

We stopped the car just to feed the birds, as it’s generally impossible to catch them.

Sadly, the reality is that we rarely find any chickens alive by this time in this area. On several occasions when we find them they were already dead, eaten by cats or other animals. The strong gets to survive while weak perishes around here.

However, strangely, the silkie fowls were doing fine in the garden together with a herd of cows, so we wondered how they managed to stay alive.

Moreover, we found one cat as well, so our wonder increased and we entered a barn.

Ayumi (one of the women in the group) then shouted ‘There is a dog’!

I looked inside the barn with a doubtful mind…. and I saw really a dog!

The dog was standing weakly, but he growled at us as we tried to come closer.
His neck was dirty in black. We knew from the way he looked that he had a serious injury so we decided to forcefully take him away from here and off to a vet.
We put a leash around him and pulled the whining dog out of the barn.

When we looked at him carefully under the light, the black color around his neck was actually dried blood, but he was still bleeding and blood was dripping onto the ground.

We immediately drove back and took him to a vet.
The vet examined him carefully, and found a lot of biting injuries all over his body, from his neck to tail. The neck injury sustained a huge open cut with a lot of maggots…
The vet said it looked like he was in a fight not only with one dog but with several dogs. He said he would do whatever he can, but he would not say if he is going to make it…

When we were leaving the house with the dog in our car, we saw a pack of 6 roaming dogs. Maybe it was them who tried to attack the chickens and it was this dog who tried to protect them from other dogs….

May 14, 2011
“The injuries he sustained were very bad, but his condition stabilized though he will require more than one month of being hospitalized”, said the vet.

The vet also said he is about 6 to 7-year-old and he constantly slept most of the time. When he was taken out for a walk, he ran out to pee and poo, then he immediately rushed back into his dog cage.

The vet then said, “Generally, most dogs don’t want to go back to a veterinary clinic. But he must have been scared of being outside.”

He must have been really scared.
Those dogs that we have rescued do look they have been mentally traumatized.
There are many dogs that get unnecessarily scared or refused to stay away from people when there are even mild earthquakes.
I’m imagining that this dog refuses to be left alone again (so he immediately goes back into his cage).

I also spoke with the dog’s owner.

They want to visit the dog, but they are taking a refuge at Iwaki that it’s not easy to come all the way to Fukushima city. Fukushima prefecture is the third largest prefecture in Japan. I suppose it’s not easy.

May 20, 2011
I went to pay a visit at the veterinary clinic inside Fukushima City to see how things were with the ‘Protecting Dog’.

As I opened a door to the room where the dog was kept, the dog which was sleeping inside the cage woke up and looked at me. I was relieved to see a peaceful look on his face and that he didn’t growl at me anymore. His eyes were more like saying, ‘Who are you really?’

The vet’s wife has been taking care of him. The injuries on his body still looked so painful; the cut was stretched out on the left side of his neck. Because it was a huge cut, the vet needs to perform two more operations on him. He also had lots of biting injuries all over the body. I was pleased to see though, that his condition appeared to be in recovery.

He seemed to be getting used to the life at the veterinary clinic and when I spoke to him, he looked at me intently. We went for a walk together. The dog became so attached to the vet’s wife that he was putting his head on her knee as if to ask her to pat him. He now looked a different dog from the day when we found him. I was so happy to see the dog being care for with TLC. I hope he will learn to love being outdoor soon.

May 23, 2011
I received a call from the vet’s wife.

She informed me today that Gonta, the dog which protected his house and his owners’ animals, would be operated today as other operations were called off. There is always a risk when an operation takes place as anesthesia would be used, so I was somewhat nervous. I was relieved to hear when she called me back again at 3pm in the afternoon that the operation finished without any problem.
The operation today was to close up some parts of the injury on his neck. When I saw the injury the last time I was at the clinic, I was shocked to see the injury was still open and how deep it was. Although I took some photos, I didn’t dare to upload it on the blog.
The operation was to make the injury smaller.
The vet’s wife is always cheerful and she explained to me about Gonta’s condition with her sense of humor. However, she said ‘The previous operation was on his neck injury and though I knew he had other injuries on other parts of the body, I didn’t really look at them carefully. But this time I took a look at other bites closely, and oh he had so many of them. It looked like Gonta was attacked by many dogs in one time and the thought brought tears to my eyes’. As I was listening to her, it also brought tears to my eyes.
Gonta, a male dog, was peeing like a female dog because he couldn’t raise his rear leg. As soon as he finished peeing, he rushed back to the clinic. However, he can now go for a walk long enough to pee three times, but he still doesn’t want to stay outdoor for a longer period of time.
Gonta’s physical injuries were so severe, but he is also mentally very traumatized.
A lot of people are worried about him and I hope he will get over this.
At the clinic, he’s given treats from vet assistances and appears to be enjoying his life there. I hope he will enjoy it a lot considering the terrible days he had to go through.
June 4, 2011
Gonta was reunited with his owners last Wednesday!!
The owners seemed to be worried how Gonta would react before they met Gonta, they (a couple) told him on the last day at the house ‘We can’t come back to see you anymore. I’m sorry, but please guard the house.’  The wife said with teary tone in her voice, ‘…so I suppose he understood what we meant and he did his best to protect the house (and the farm animals).’
They were reunited at the vet clinic.
Gonta immediately recognized them, and he fawned on the husband. Although Gonta didn’t get too excited, he put his front legs around the waist of his owner and begged to be patted.

The wife had to sit on the ground for the teary moment of reunion with Gonta.
Although the couple is not able to take him back due to the housing condition and that Gonta is still under the treatment for his injuries at this moment, it was a happy day as they managed to meet each other gain.
June 30, 2011
This dog dislikes rain, but doesn’t want to do his toilet in his room.
So he goes out for a walk reluctantly.
His wet body is wiped with a towel and he loves it!!
He loves being scratched even more.
So who is he?
Yes, it’s Gonta!
His facial expression has softened.
The wife of the veterinarian sent me this photo taken at the vet clinic where he is staying. He appeared to be quite spoiled.
Thank you to the lady who is taking care of him really well.
August 1, 2011
Latest Gonta.

Latest Gonta!

A lady who rescued him paid a visit to the vet clinic where Gonta is still hospitalized. He sure looks clean and more importantly, happy!!

And to those who wondered what happened to the cat that was also found and rescued where Gonta was. The cat’s name is ‘Narao.’


The cat’s owner hasn’t been identified yet and although it will most likely not, the rescuer is looking for someone to foster the cat temporarily. The bad news is that she is infected with both FIV and feline leukemia virus.

This report is available at Toramaru and Dog Cat Rescue Project.
(From the author of ‘Animals after the Tsunami in Japan’ – Gonta was left alone in his house for more than 2 weeks. FYI, the cat was also rescued out of the area together with Gonta. There was no mentioning on what happened to the silkie fowls after Gonta was rescued.)


3 responses to “A Dog That Protected His House & Farm Animals – UPDATE

  1. A heart-breaking story but a wonderful ending story

  2. thats so awsome i am so glad it was a great ending to this story

  3. Gonta survived! I’m hoping to see a photo of him running around happily outside. Well I requested the rescuer to post such photo, hopefully in the very near future. 🙂

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