Never Give In to Fate
－Taro, “The Dog with an Incomplete Body”
(Originally in Japanese)
Recently, Japanese television news programs have reported an event featuring a veterinarian and his beloved disabled dog “Taro.” They visit students in elementary schools to teach them lessons about life. The schools first invited them nine years ago. Now Taro is almost twelve years old, which is equivalent to being sixty-three years old if you were a human being. However, his big round eyes, displaying a very tranquil demeanor, are still full of charisma.
Taro was abandoned and left to a temple soon after he was born. A grandpa living nearby lovingly brought him home and raised him. At one year old, he suffered from an unknown incurable disease. Two surgeries took away the necrotic parts of his four limbs, both ears and his tail. The grandpa went to visit Taro often, but later he died in an accident. Unable to see the grandpa again, Taro lost the desire to eat. Later the veterinarian adopted him. Nourished by the love and care of his new guardian, Taro recovered. Though he’d lost his precious limbs, he was not downhearted. Unable to leap and run, he moved around by crawling, and still enjoyed every day in a lively and cheerfully manner. Taro’s strong will to live and optimistic character has touched many people. Some even compared him to Hirotada Ototake, who was a courageous young man striving for progress despite the fact that he was born without limbs, and revered Taro as “the dog with an incomplete body.”
Taro’s guardian brings him to the schools to conduct classes for the children. After each session, the kids queue up to touch Taro one by one, which is a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Some children were deeply touched by the experience and one month after the class, they wrote letters to Taro and the veterinarian expressing their encouragement and gratitude. One of the kids said, “We all have our agonizing moments and only then we can feel our happiness.” Another wrote, “If Taro had all of his limbs, his ears and tail, perhaps he could go to places where he has never been, but he has never lost the most important thing, which is his “heart.”
The kids seemed to have learnt an important lesson from Taro, which is the preciousness of life. No matter what kind of unfavorable situations come to us, we should always live on bravely and cheerfully. In these lessons about life, Taro’s existence is a very powerful teaching tool. In the words of a teacher in one of the schools, “All life forms surrounding us, not only humans, from tiny insects to huge animals, can reveal different truths to us.” The veterinarian said that as long as Taro’s physical condition permits, these classes will continue to bring the noble message to children about cherishing life and caring for the weak.