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Book on life of abandoned two-legged dog published

MAEBASHI -- A book on the life of a shiba inu dog that has continued to live bravely even after losing her two left legs in an accident and being abandoned by her owners twice has been published.

    The title of the book, published by SEVEN & i Publishing Co., is "Nihonashi no Wanko, Sumire-chan, Ikiru (Two-legged dog, Sumire-chan, lives)." The non-profit organization (NPO) in the Gunma Prefecture city of Takasaki, which is currently taking care of the dog, said, "We want all owners and people who are thinking about getting animals to think about how to face the lives of dogs and cats through the life of Sumire-chan."

    Sumire is a female dog whose age is estimated to be 5 to 7 years old. She was taken into a shelter as a stray dog in Takasaki in December 2015. She was adopted by a resident of the Gunma Prefecture city of Maebashi in March this year through the Takasaki-based NPO "Gunma wan-nyan network." But the dog went missing on April 9 and was subsequently found next to a railway track with her two left legs severed on the same day.

    The owner of the dog was identified two days later. But the owner gave up on keeping the dog saying that it was difficult to raise her now because of her condition. It was feared that Sumire would be bedridden, but Chizuru Hoshino, a 64-year-old volunteer worker at the Takasaki group adopted her after asking NPO director Yukiko Iida, 54, for permission.

    The shiba inu dog, Sumire, takes a walk with her only two legs in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, on Sept. 15, 2016. (Mainichi)

    Since Sumire suffered the accident and was found on a Saturday, the local police station that took her into protection could not contact municipal government and public health department officials in charge. She could not receive medical treatment for three days. But Sumire recovered enough to be able to stand on her two legs one week after surgery.

    Sumire is currently kept at Hoshino's home, and she runs around on the lawn vigorously during the morning and afternoon. Sumire often uses a wheelchair to reduce the burden on her right legs, but there is a risk of developing drawbacks such as arthritis. The story of Sumire has been spreading through a Facebook support page for her, and medical and rehabilitation expenses are funded by contributions from around the country.

    In addition to the story behind Sumire's accident, the recently published book also points out that over 100,000 dogs and cats are put down each year in Japan.

    "We did not want the book to be only about a dog that lost two legs is living life to the extreme," Iida said.

    Behind the current popularity of pets, there are many dogs and cats that are abandoned and put in shelters. The Takasaki group said, "We want people to care for animals with the intention never to abandon them no matter how much money and efforts it would take. We want as many people as possible to feel that way while seeing Sumire-chan live positively." The group will use proceeds from the sale of the book to finance medical expenses for Sumire. It is also seeking for a person to permanently adopt her.

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