Coming to Okinawa is a life altering experience. They have unique opportunities like the chance to visit a Cat Café, which allows for patrons to drink coffee and eat pastries, while they share cuddles with a few friendly strays. For some, there is a sense of culture shock and the Cat Café reveals a devastating truth. That the Island is overrun with strays. Some are lucky to have the café to seek shelter, to be feed, and to be loved on, but the island does have a typical animal shelter. Ozato, is the only animal shelter on island and it is a kill shelter as the government does not have extended resources that allow strays to remain housed in the facility long term. While many Military members and their family will want to help and attempt to take in a stray, they are not predisposed to the inflated costs of vetting animals who have not previously been provided any veterinary care, nor are they satisfied when they discover the fees associated with pet transportation back to the States. They quickly realize that pet ownership is out of their financial capabilities.

As a way to combat the excessive amounts of strays on Island a number of American based rescues have been formed. These rescues aim to aid with lowering the number of animals in the kill shelter by saving the strays they can on Island and work to help in surrendering of previously owned pets. Yet most Americans on Island are only stationed in Okinawa for the typical three years duty. This makes running a rescue organization on Island exceedingly difficult to sustain, as the founder will have no one to turn over their efforts to. However, there seems to be one organization that has made it past the 3-year mark.

In 2016, Okinawa Stray Pet Rescue was formed and as they approached their 5-year anniversary they are celebrating the official approval of being registered as 501(c)(3) Non-profit, the only one on island. This rescue works to supply temporary homes for stray and owner surrenders while they are acclimating to life as a pet. They provide veterinarian care, ensuring that they only adopt out healthy animals. Also, OSPR works to educate service members and their family about the realistic costs of pet transportation, while working to offer recommendations on ways to get pets’ home. 

Want to meet and learn more about this organization. Tune in below.

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