It is hard not to become fixated on the news coverage and speculation over the nuclear reactors in Japan.  But there are other small but equally compelling dramas and acts of survival that are quietly unfolding in the wake of the Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

A dog leads reporters to his injured companion.

Here is an English translation of the video from Yahoo News (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):

We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.

He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.

Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.

Where?

Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.

The dog is protecting him.

Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.

I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.

Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.

Yes! Yes! He is alive.

He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He’s getting up.

It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.

While several news agencies reported that the dogs were saved, there has been no confirmation by reliable sources.  So questions remain about their location and safety including this reference to the dogs on Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Facebook wall:

Everyone is concerned about these wonderful, loyal survivors. As we reported yesterday, we went to search for them in the stricken area of Sendai on a tip but were unable to find them, and had to very reluctantly head back into town due to dangerous road conditions and the dark setting in. Now, we’ve heard from a Japanese source that both the dogs have been rescued. We are currently investigating for more details so please stay tuned. Let’s all cross our fingers.

I have all fingers crossed.  And now toes as well.  After reading this update on the dogs whereabouts dated  March 18th at Global Animal.

“…three legitimate rescue organizations connected with JEAR&S don’t know the dogs’ whereabouts, despite reports from CNN and The Telegraph UK. CNN’s video report by Jeanne Moos reported the dogs were rescued, citing a Facebook entry by a man named Kenn Sakurai’s.

Global Animal has sent a message to Kenn Sakurai’s via his Facebook page asking him about the whereabouts of the dogs and for photographic proof that they are safe. We have not heard back yet. Global Animal is also in the process of finding the names of the veterinarians supposedly caring for the dogs to establish proof. Too little is known at this time of his intentions. If Ken Sakurai responds to us with photographic proof, Global Animal will report it immediately. Such is the nature of news in the social media age.

For video and backstory on another pair of dogs surviving against the odds and being reunited with their owners.

After the tsunami, a woman returns to search for her cat.

Voiceover: After the earthquake, the citizens return to their changed town.

Woman: I had a cat, and when the tsunami came, I looked for it. But I couldn’t find it, so I had to escape.

VO: When they go into the house…

Man: So what was this room?

W: This was the dining room.

M: That’s a tree from outside?

W: Yeah, that’s amazing…

W: Ah! The cat’s alive! I can hear it!

JEARS has this to say about Tashirojima, Japan’s “Cat Island”:

The people and cats are safe but short of food. A volunteer looked into transporting food by boat, but there is too much debris in the water. A helicopter is the only way. The army will probably get a helicopter ready soon so we are looking into the possibility of asking them to take cat food too.

And here is video of Tashirojima, the Island that loves cats from before the earthquake:

If you are a pet owner, please microchip your pets.  In times of disaster, their survival may depend on it.  Normal collar IDs are easily lost.  Without identification, your precious pets may be subject to something similar to this:

Japanese animal holding centres in and around the disaster areas have announced in this bulletin that all pets who are not claimed within 72 hours will be ‘disposed’ of (gassed). This is the sad reality in Japan unfortunately and why we are truly racing against the clock now.

Six ways to help Animal Rescue efforts in Japan from Animal Planet:

1) Donate to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. A coalition of three groups – HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network, their intention is to keep animal rescue on the agenda, provide shelter space and coordinate some earthquake/tsunami animal rescues.

2) Animal Refuge Kansai is also accepting donations. The organization says they have facilities in place and a team of experienced staff able to deal with traumatized animals.

3) The Search Dog Foundation has deployed teams to Japan to help search for victims.

4) Donate to Humane Society International. They have deployed disaster response staff to the region and reached out to Japanese partner organizations involved with animal care and rescue to identify where and how best to provide emergency support and veterinary attention.

5) World Vets are preparing the deployment of a first-responder team to carry out an “on the ground” assessment and provide initial aid.

6) Join the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Facebook page to support animal rescue efforts.

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