Japan is now home to its first ever retirement home…for pets. Here in the U.S., we surrender pets to shelters for many reasons, including inability to care for them any longer due to our own ages. We also have pet retirement homes here, but in Japan, this is a brand-new concept. The dogs-only home is the first of its kind, though the founder, Aeonpet Co., hopes to open more in the coming years.
Aeonpet Co., is a subsidiary of Aeon, and owner of multiple pet stores and even a luxury pet hotel near Narita International Airport, according to an article on Discovery.com. They also have more than fifty pet hospitals across Japan. This pet retirement home will house 20 elderly dogs to start with.
In Japan, the law now requires a person to provide care over the course of the pet's entire life. In a perfect world, this would never be a question. However, reality is far from perfect. Here in the U.S., 80 percent of animals in a shelter are surrendered for owner-specific reasons; that is, their owners gave them up because of allergies, moving, inability to care for them any longer, and more. A law against all of that sounds great, except there are legitimate reasons why people can no longer care for their pets. Age and terminal illness are among those reasons.
Japan's pet retirement home, according to The Telegraph, will have an on-call vet, and an on-site grooming salon, as well as a gym and a swimming pool. Owners will also be able to visit, or even stay with, their dogs. The article on Discovery.com says that the price for housing dogs there will run about $1,000 per month.
Here in the U.S., pet retirement homes have been around for awhile, and the cost varies depending on the home. The Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center has an enrollment fee of roughly $1,000 for small animals, and $2,000 for large animals. That fee also depends on the age of the pet's owner. Stevenson counts dogs, cats, birds, horses and donkeys among their residents, and is based at Texas A&M's School of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences.
The Sunshine Home, in Honeoye, New York, is a cats-only home, and provides long-term boarding, permanent care for cats whose owners can no longer care for them. They even provide hospice and rehab care. They accept cats from all over the U.S., and from abroad, as well.
We have options here that, until recently, weren't available in Japan. While this pet retirement home will only house 20 dogs to start, it could be the start of a promising trend for elderly people in Japan who are finding it increasingly difficult to care for their pets.