Sasebo group gives abandoned pets a new leash on life
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Community pet owners changing duty stations who don’t want to deal with quarantines and expenses associated with taking pets from one country to another now can leave them with the BAR.
Sasebo’s Base Animal Rescue organization, or BAR, is a recently revived version of Pets Are Worth Saving, or PAWS, a defunct community group that was founded about two years ago for the same purpose but became inactive as members transferred.
The current board members changed the name; however, they’ll still rescue and care for stray and abandoned cats and dogs found on base property and try to find adoptive owners.
“When people leave here, and they can’t take their pets along because of the expense or other reasons, sometimes they don’t know what to do,” said Tina Grant, BAR’s treasurer.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Pyke, a master-at-arms in Sasebo, wanted a pet at his off-base house.
BAR co-chairwoman Holly Mateikat, who has a reputation of caring for abandoned pets and finding them homes, knew where Pyke could find one — or two, as it turned out.
“She knew where some kittens were that needed adoption, and I decided to take two of them on Dec. 2,” Pyke said. “I’m gone at work a lot and with two cats, they won’t be so lonely when I’m not there.”
He named the male Merlin and calls the female Pipsqueak “because she squeaks all the time.”
Once BAR takes in a pet, it’s taken to Army Capt. Kevin Hinton, veterinarian for Sasebo and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, to ensure it’s healthy and vaccinated. The adoptive new owners must sign an agreement to have the pets spayed or neutered and to have microchips implanted for identification.
“Another thing we are trying to stress is education so pet owners will be aware of what kind of care different types of pets need,” said Emily Hodges, group member.
The command has approved BAR’s operation on base but does not fund it — so BAR is holding its first fundraising event from noon until 2 p.m. Sunday in the Japanese garden next to the base headquarters building. For donations, families can have photographs made of their pets with Santa Claus.
“Now that the organization is reviving, we’ve had a wonderful reception to the idea from people who’ve learned about what we’re doing,” said Connie Weiss, a group member. “We just have a very committed, compassionate group.”
Call DSN 252-8319 at Hario Housing Village or DSN 252-7467 at the main base for more information.