CONTRIBUTED BY KELSEY HUGHES
My husband and I knew that one of the first things we would do after moving to Okinawa was get a puppy. We had many debates about whether to adopt or find a breeder before moving to Oki, but decided to wait until we were here and settled before making the final decision. We quickly realized there are many puppies and dogs on Okinawa who need loving homes. After learning that animals picked up by Okinawa Prefecture Animal Protection and Control Center (Ozato) are only given five days to live, we knew we had to adopt from a rescue. In our minds, there was no other option.
There are multiple American animal rescues on Okinawa. I immediately “liked” all of their Facebook pages so I could have constant updates about available puppies and dogs. If you do this, be prepared for cuteness overload on your newsfeed! It had only been a couple of days when OAARS, Okinawan American Animal Rescue Society, posted a picture of two puppies that were recently rescued. Later that day, my husband called to ask me if we wanted to meet two puppies that one of his co-workers was fostering for OAARS. Turns out, we were both looking at the same puppies and I knew we were in trouble.
Before we could meet the puppies, we had to fill out a dog adoption form, available on the OAARS website. It is an extensive application that OAARS uses as a pre-screening to decide if you and your family are the best match for the animal you wish to adopt. Be prepared to answer questions about your family, home life, current pets and future pet care. Once our application was approved, we set up a time to meet the puppies at their foster home.
Meeting the puppies was really fun. How could playing with puppies not be fun? All puppies are cute, so it was nice to get to know their personalities a little bit. One of the puppies was very shy and timid. The other kept coming up to both my husband and I for attention and played with us and the other dogs. It was wonderful to talk to the person fostering them too, because she had already had a chance to get to know their personalities. She was very knowledgeable about Oki mixes, the affectionate “pet” name given to mixed breeds in Okinawa. We learned that almost every puppy rescued would probably be a blend of Japanese dog breeds, due to the high number of un-neutered or spayed dogs on-island. Oki mixes are typically small to medium size dogs (20-45 pounds), smart and energetic. We had originally wanted a larger breed dog but after learning about Oki mixes, we realized that size wasn’t as important as rescuing a puppy that might otherwise be overlooked.
Another benefit of adopting through OAARS, is that they provide medical care to the animals while they are in foster care. These puppies were only 7 weeks old, but were already microchipped and had their first round of shots.
As we were leaving the foster’s house, the rambunctious puppy tried to leave with us. There wasn’t much of a discussion in the car ride home about whether or not to adopt the puppy. We knew we had to have him.
OAARS gives families a 2-week trial period to make sure the new pet fits well into their home. This trial period began when we picked up our puppy, newly re-named Archie, from his foster family. The adoption paperwork was filled out and adoption fee ($125) was paid at this time too. Our trial went smoothly and after two weeks, Archie was officially ours. The rest of the adoption process was pretty simple. Since Archie had already been seen at the vet clinic on Kadena, I had to change his sponsorship to our name. The original OAARS sponsor and I had to be present at the clinic to do so, but it was a short process after that. We had to make sure he got all of his shots and was neutered around 6 months old. OAARS even offers a $50 spay/neuter rebate for dogs and puppies!
I would highly recommend adopting from OAARS when your home is ready for a fur baby. Their adoption process was easy and simple. Plus, we ended up with a great dog!
- $125 for dogs that aren’t fixed ($50 back upon spay/neuter)
- $100 for fixed dogs
- $80 for all cats