What She Was Grieving Over Was Dogs She Lost

After the disastrous Tsunami on March 11, 2011, so many photos of those whose lives were dramatically affected by the disaster traveled around the world.

This photo is probably one of the many that left a strong impression among a lot of us in the world and made us wonder… ‘What is she crying over?’ or ‘Who did she lose…?’

Here is translation of an article published by Sport Writer Media on April 13, 2011.
Why she cried so sadly was about the dogs she had lost.

The photo was taken by a Associated Press photographer, but the girl was grieving and looked clearly devastated that she (the photographer) was not able  to ask for her name.

Later it was known that her name was Akane Ito (28y/0) living in one of the towns in Natori City. She was working and living with her boyfriend and his mother. When the earthquake struck, she was at home. The house didn’t sustain much damages, but electricity and water were shut. Together with her boyfriend’s mother, they left the house to get some water and batteries, and never thought she would not be back home soon. When she was leaving the house, her thirteen dogs were yelping loudly. She told them ‘don’t worry about it’.

When they were returning home, their neighbors told them that a humangous tsunami was on its way and to run to a higher ground. Ms. Ito evacuated to the mountain side, thinking ‘My dogs are upstairs of the house, so they should be alright’.

She could only return home two days later. Where the house gate should have been was covered in building rubbles. “That was the moment I realized…’I lost all my dogs that I loved so much..’ I was so devastated I just fell to the ground and sat there for about an hour or so’. “These dogs were my family. I felt like a mother who lost her precious kid at that moment. That’s probably why I looked so devastated”.

While she was evacuating at the local cultural center, she looked hard for her dogs as she just couldn’t give them up. She left mesages on Facebook, Twitter and posted photos of her dogs on the message board at the center.

Then she had a miracle. She found one of her dogs, a 6 y/o labrador retriever ‘Mei’. Mei was found 1-2 km away from where they used to live, and the person who found the dog saw Ms. Ito’s message on the board at one of the shelters in the area.


The next miracle was via internet. One lady found a brown poodle some 5 km away from Ms. Ito’s house and brought her into the shelter that was nearby. The owner of the shelter found Mr. Ito’s message on Internet and so she now lives at the temporary sheter with 2 of her dogs, while looking desperately for her other 11 dogs.


Here is another article about her on March 3, 2012 nearly one year later, by Asahi Newspaer.

Ms. Akane Ito was on the ground grieving by the road side in the area that was completely devastated by the Tsunami. Just before one year after the disaster, she has began to pursue her dream from long ago, to be a dog groomer.

Her house was washed away by the Tsunami. Her 11 dogs that were her family are still missing while she found other two dogs. She still now has dreams in which her dogs are coming home to her.

“I feel so frustrated and sad that I couldn’t help them”. Tsunami that has instantly killed the lives of people and animals. Her desire to value even a tiny life had become stronger.



5 responses to “What She Was Grieving Over Was Dogs She Lost

  1. Thank you for posting this. Will link from my blog.

  2. These are moments to remember. Special people love their animals as own family. Sad but amazing photography.

  3. Miss. Akane-San, you are my inspiration :’) :’)

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