Shane by Sarah Morrissette

My amazingly talented sister, Sarah, is not only an amazing artist (like her other sister), but is also a brilliant author (like her other sister, who shall remain nameless), is gorgeous (like her other sister), is really, really super smart (like her other sister), is a fantastic mother of two children (her other sister is the mother of eight cats? Well, maybe she’s not really a mother, but she likes to think she is, poor thing), has a gorgeous, brilliant husband (unlike her other sister who is a dried up crusty old spinster, who was cruelly jilted by Viggo Mortensen. But we don’t like to talk about that)

My sister Sarah is blessed to live in one of the world’s most magnificent cities, Vienna; a city known for its architecture, it’s illustrious musical history, priceless works of art, and for being the birthplace of some of the most prominent and influential authors, composers, philosophers, psychiatrists and artists throughout history (unlike her other sister, the disgruntled one, who lives in a miserable backwater town in rural America where the most entertaining event of the year is the Annual Roasted Rib Barbeque held in the Ray’s Supermarket parking lot, where the cultural event of the year is held at the Fairgrounds which involves buckin’ broncos, calf ropin’, and plenty of beer drinkin’, where the only bookstore in town closed because there weren’t enough people in that town that liked reading or buying books, and where the paltry prospects for potential marriage material in that miserable no-good town are tore-up and toothless scrawny old meth heads or dope growing white dudes sportin’ big ol’ nasty dreads).

Sorry, I digressed a bit. I like to joke about how different our lives are, mainly at the expense of the Gawdforsaken town I live in, but truthfully, I couldn’t be happier for my sister. She truly is an amazing person, and an incredible artist (examples below) who also happens to live in one of the world’s most magnificent city (bitch).

My sister wrote a beautiful story about the dog Shane who was miraculously reunited with his pet parent after the devastating tsunami in Japan. In a letter introducing the story, my sister outlines details of the story to the editors of New Sun Rising Stories for Japan, a book of stories, poems, and art from around the world that will benefit the people in Japan. They will give one hundred percent of the proceeds to the Red Cross to aid the relief effort in Japan (like her other sister, she’s also a humanitarian).

Dear New Sun Rising editors,

I wrote this very short story from a dog’s perspective. This story
is based on a true YouTube report about a dog owner who managed to
escape the flood. After leaving his home to tell the neighbors to
evacuate, he was unable to go back home and get his dog, Shane,
since the flood was already approaching. Six hours later Shane
showed up at a school which was being used as a shelter. The owner
was in there. Somehow, Shane managed to survive the flood and find his master.
Since the story is told from the dog’s perspective, the Tsunami is
not heavily dramatized. The story focuses on his thoughts, and his
need to find his master. There is a happy end!

Sarah Morrissette

Shane Japan Tsunami Survivor



Sarah Morrissette

The ground began to shake and I lifted my head to look
around. The skin along my back stiffened, making my fur stand
upright, and I tried to get up several times but kept falling over.
The uneasy sensation that I had been feeling over the last few days
had reached a high point. My ears jolted into position, taking in
the thunderous noise in the distance, a noise that was getting
louder by the second. My nose could smell salty sea air, something
I don’t normally smell in this neighborhood. My first thought was:
Kamata-san is out back in the garden. I have to get to him and stay
with him. But I couldn’t since I was tied to my rope near the front
door. I saw Kamata-san run past me, yelling to the neighbors. His
tone of voice was forceful, and the tangy odor of fear floated
behind him in his wake. The ground continued to shake. I wanted to
run after my master Kamata-san, but was tied up firmly. I crouched
back to the wall of the house. It seemed like the safest place to
be, away from the falling debris.

         After what felt like a long time, I heard Kamata-san
calling me. It was good to hear his voice. He had managed to come
back to the area. I hoped he would take me off of my rope. Everyone
was running away, toward the mountains. They ran as fast as they
could away from the noise, away from the salty sea air. Some were
in groups, some were alone. Some carried things and some didn’t.
Some had cats and small dogs under their arms. There were big
people and little people and very little people being carried.
There were bent old people who couldn’t walk very fast. Kamata-san
called me again. It sounded as though his voice was behind the
house, which was now partially broken. For some reason, he couldn’t
get to me. I tried to stand up and go to him, but was stopped by
the rope. Pulling as hard as I could, and biting on the rope, I
managed to free myself.  I followed Kamata-san’s scent, but it was
difficult since so many things were broken, and lying all around on the ground.

         I made my way to the back garden thinking that maybe
something had fallen on Kamata-san and hurt him. As quickly as I
could,  I looked everywhere. Parts of the house landed on the
ground around me as I searched the area. The shed in the garden
behind our house was the place I went to first. It might have
provided a safe shelter for him. I used to sleep in there on an old
blue blanket. I breathed in the cold salty air searching for his
scent, but could tell that he had gone in another direction. He
must have been in a hurry.

The noise became deafening, and just at that moment the
small house lifted up and tipped over. I was knocked down onto the
wall which had become the floor.  I thought it best not to move at
all. Water was everywhere, filling the shed. The blue blanket
floated away and some of the little things in the house fell out
into the water. The water pulled everything in the direction of
Kamata-san. The shed was like a boat on the ocean. I could see up
and out of the door, now on its side. I could see fishing boats
upside down, rolling over in the black water and threatening to hit
the shed.  A bench rushed past in the water, a bench from the park
where Kamata-san always took me for walks. There was a crooked old
woman in that park, a woman with a very strong odor, who always sat
on those benches. Whenever Kamata-san and I went there, we stopped
to greet her so that she could pet me and give me a treat from her
pocket. This old woman always made my tail wag. The children at the
playground not far from there often threw sticks past me, and I
always wondered why they threw them away and expected me to bring
them back. They should have known that I am not a fetching dog. I
am a guard dog. An Akita.

I managed to work my way out of the shed before it turned
over in the black, salty water. There were many other things
floating and crashing all around me. Houses, parts of houses, cars,
trees, big people, little people, all of them now quiet, floating
inland towards Kamata-san. I used all of my strength to stay on the
surface of the water, the saltiness stinging my mouth. Part of a
house rushed past me in the water, and I managed to climb on and
stay there as long as I could until it tipped over and I had to
paddle again. I paddled as hard as I could in the direction of
Kamata-san. I had to keep my nose up in order to breathe. I was hit
several times by trees and cars floating by in the water, but
managed to keep my paws moving.

After some time, the water stopped moving and started to go
in the opposite direction. I did not want to go back there. The
mountains were ahead of me, and I had to keep going in that
direction. I had to get away from the salt water so that I could
track the smell of Kamata-san and find the places I had once known.
I could remember Kamata-san’s wife leaving this morning, as she
always does. She had put her bag in the basket on the front of her
bicycle and I could smell the lunch she had packed for herself:
salty pork and cabbage and rice. The two children had also left the
house in the morning as they always do. The smaller one always
carried a bag on her back with pictures on it. Pictures of dogs.
The bigger one had a bag with pictures of boys on it. Boys with
pointy looking hair. I wasn’t sure where the children went every
day. All I know is that Kamata-san walks with them in the morning
through the neighborhood to a place where lots of people get onto a
train. People get out, and the children get in and go away all day.
They come back home in the afternoon with the Kamata-san’s wife. At
that moment, I saw a train in the water. It was on its side and the
windows were black so I couldn’t see the children inside.

The water kept pulling me back in the wrong direction. I
was getting very cold, and my legs didn’t want to work any more.
When  they touched the ground I felt very good. The black mud felt
good, the hard ground beneath my paws felt good. My legs trembled
and my fur was coated in mud and water, so I shook it out at hard
as I could. I looked around. The ground was covered in all kinds of
things and nothing looked the same any more. Where was I? I didn’t
know any more. All of the sidewalks and all of my favorite street
corners were gone. The house was gone. All of the houses were gone.
The park where the old bent lady sits was gone. The place where the
train lets people get on and off was gone. The standing people were
gone. Some of them were still there, but they were lying down
quietly on the ground. I didn’t recognize their smells since they
were covered with mud.

After walking for a long time, I got tired and stopped to
rest somewhere on the side of the road. I woke to the sound of loud
noises over my head. Looking up, I saw large noisy things in the
air, flying around like large birds. I’ve seen them a few times
before in my life. Ahead of me was a cluster of excited people, and
I headed in that direction. They were still standing upright and
talking. No one paid any attention to me since everyone was
shouting and crying, so I just kept moving toward the mountain
hoping to pick up the scent of Kamata-san. Kamata-san, his scent.
My legs were tired, and the only thing I could do was think of him.
Where had he gone?

Other dogs had been in that area. I lifted my leg to let
out some warm water. I thought about the time when I was a little
dog.  Sometimes I let the warm water come out on the floor inside
the house. Kamata-san looked down at me and scolded me sternly,
shaking his finger at me. I can remember thinking I had done
something wrong. It happened a few more times because I was still a
little dog, and couldn’t help it. I knew Kamata-san would scold me,
and he always did. But after some time, I learned to control
myself. He always stroked the top of my head whenever I waited
patiently for my walks outside. He smiled and gave me a treat after
I let out the warm water. I learned many other things as well when
I was little. How to sit and stay and come to him when he called
me. I could smell the treats waiting for me in his pocket. He often
told me that I had to protect the house and the people in it. I
liked that job very much. I sat on the front step, my collar tied
to a rope. I received strokes and food in return. It was a good
life. Where was he now?

A breeze blew my way. I could smell him. Kamata-san had been here,
nd lots of other people as well. I reached a road where there were
people going in both directions. Some were on foot and some drove by
in cars.  I followed his scent. He had been here and walked this
way. The sun was already down, it was getting dark, and there were
no lights on in the houses or in the streets. I kept following the
path of his scent. For a few moments I lost it, but I kept going in
the same direction. I wanted to stand next to him, I wanted to have
his smell near me, have his hand stroke the top of my head. I wanted
to stand in front of his house again. Although I must have been
hungry, I didn’t feel my empty stomach or the cuts on my legs or the
mud coating my fur.

Ahead of me, there was a large house. The lights were on. There were
many scents all at once. But I could smell that Kamata-san had gone
inside. There was a small woman at the front door, and she bent down
to look at me.  I tried to push my way past her and get inside.
Kamata-san, Kamata-san was in there. So she opened the door and let
me in, holding me by my collar. Her hand smelled like freshly cooked
rice. It was a very large, warm room filled with people standing or
sitting on the wooden floor surrounded by boxes and bags and
blankets. I stood and waited next to the small woman. She called out
into the room. I could smell him in there, and then I saw him and he
saw me. Kamata-san! His wife was not next to him. The children were
not there either. I couldn’t smell them.

“Shane!” I heard his voice. The small woman let go of my collar.
“Shane! Over here!” I ran to him, wagging my tail. I licked his face. It felt very good
to have his scent close to me again. I could smell his wife and the
two children on Kamata-san’s clothing even though they were not there.
He hugged me very tightly and wouldn’t let go. Water came down out
of his eyes onto his cheeks. I licked it away. It was salty, like
the water behind us.

Just a few samples of my sister Sarah’s brilliant work. Dog not included. 


To see more of her fabulous paintings click on the link for Sarah’s website at

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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