I am about to admit to something that you will most likely ﬁnd unbelievable, shocking, disturbing, (insert relevant adjective here). This is very difﬁcult for me to write, I can’t quite believe it is true myself. But at one point in my life, actually if i’m honest, for all my life until about two years ago, I hated animals. ALL animals.
I know what you’re thinking, what an awful person I must be. However, did you notice that my admission was written in the past tense? That’s right, I am now a true animal lover. What changed I hear you ask? Most likely the introduction of a boxer dog named Jessy into my family home. Growing up in a city, the only animals I ever saw were wild horses and the odd rat. Jessy came into my family’s life and changed my opinion forever. Now, I’m one of those people who cries at animal cruelty and could almost imagine living my life surrounded by animals.
In Japan though, they take it to whole different level. Animals, speciﬁcally dogs, are idolised. And I mean truly idolised:
There are clothes stores for dogs to be found everywhere. They are very cute and often easily mistaken for baby stores.
Dog parlours go above and beyond; massages, combing and even nail painting are common.
Dogs are often treated like babies. For instance, a while back I went to ’coo’ into a Japanese ladies pram, only to be met by a dog. A dog in a pram? Oh dear.
Statistics (guardian.co.uk) show that there are now more pets than children in Japan households. They are often treated to holidays at hot-spring resorts, yoga classes and designer clothes. The estimated value of the industry is $10 billion. Incredible.