Japan’s aging population has given rise to many retirement centers that provide proper healthcare to the elderly. However, due to the delicate health of many elderly people, those entering these retirement homes have to leave their furry friends behind. Himawari located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture is a retirement center for dogs that ensures pets are cared for when their elderly owners aren’t able to.
Now, if you’re worried with leaving your dog to some stranger, no need to fret, as the operators of Himawari, Sansui Corp., is the same company that manages a dog theme park called Wanwan Land (“Woofwoof Land”). Company spokesperson Haruko Matsushita said the facility is open to all dog breeds, provided they are over 10 years of age, or in dog years, around 60-70 years old. But Himawari, while not the first dog retirement center in the country, has special amenities that every pet and pet owner will love. The center features private rooms for each dog and an area where they can socialize with the others. As dogs suffer from dementia just like humans, according to Matsushita, it is important that they get to mingle with the other furry residents in the center to delay the progress of the condition.
But keeping dogs in a retirement home does not come cheap, and while humans have a state-subsidy for their stay in centers, dogs are not as fortunate. Pet owners will have to shell out at least 230,000 yen (about US $2,250) annually to cover the deposit and medical expenses. An additional charge of 480,000 – 720,000 yen ($4,700 – $7,000) will also factor in depending on the size of the dog. For those who plan to put their dogs in the facility for life-long care, expect to pay around 1.72 million yen ($16,800) if your dog is heavier than 36 kilograms.