Getting old is hard, but it might be a little bit harder for dogs. Here in America, if a senior dog winds up in a shelter, there’s a very good chance that the dog will stay there until death. Very few people go to shelters to find pets with gray muzzles; that’s why it’s a very good thing that we have groups such as Muttville, who specialize in finding homes for senior dogs.
In Japan, older dogs just got one more resource on their side: A new nursing home especially for dogs is set to open later this month just outside Tokyo. Frankly, the resources available to the residents exceed most of the places that I’ve lived: access to a 24-hour clinic, a swimming pool, a playground, and hourly temperature check on each room. There’s also a webcam so that the owners can watch their dogs from the comfort of home, 24 hours a day.
The drawback, of course, is that all of this pampering isn’t just for any pooch that happens to need care. The new home comes with a hefty price tag: About $1,000 per month, depending on the size and breed of the dog.
The new retirement home is inspired in part by a law passed last year that requires dog owners to care for their animals until they die. In addition, the company, Aeonpet, has already run a luxury pet hotel at Narita Airport for several years. Representatives from the company say that they saw a need because owners and pets were getting older. Chiyo Sakurai, a company representative who has headed the hotel and is now in charge of getting the nursing home started, told NBC News that “Ten years of running the hotel at Narita, we realized that pets were getting older, and there have been owners who themselves were no longer capable of providing care.” Some of the owners will probably be in nursing homes themselves, and therefore unable to directly care for their dogs.
Any additional resource for older dogs is a good thing. If this venture takes off, we hope there will be more easily affordable options. Maybe we could even see more care for senior dogs in America.
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