February 4, 2015
When an alarm clock rings, the hearing dog "Fuku"
pats a woman lying down on a bed with a forefoot.
The medium-sized dog was found in Okuma-machi, Fukushima-ken where became a evacuation directive district due to the Tokyo Electric Power Daiichi Fukushima nuclear accident, and taken by a nonprofit organization "The Society for hearing dog upbringing" located in Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken next to Tokyo. The three-year-old dog named "Fuku" has finished all practice to be a hearing dog, and the society is recruiting the user.
The society says since Fuku is little bigger as a hearing dog, a man with physical strength or a young man is preferred. After doing combined practice with the user, and passing certificate test, Fuku will be a hearing dog formally. The rent is without charge.
Fuku was found in about one month old in October, 2011 at a forest in Okuma-machi in which all the townsmen took refuge by a nuclear accident. It was taken care by the animal protection group which was in Samukawa-machi then, and again taken by the society of hearing dog upbringing which was looking for a hearing dog candidate in March, 2012.
There are only 57 hearing dogs in the whole country currently as of February 1, 2015 according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Out of them three are working in the prefecture.
The society of hearing dog upbringing started as the hearing dog upbringing fund which collected costs of hearing dog upbringing in 1990. It changed its name to the present name in 1996 and has begun upbringing activity. Five dogs were certified as a hearing dog so far. The Society's contribution to the Deaf community was regarded highly by the prefectural office, being awarded the prefecture barrier free community building prize in fiscal year 2014.