2005/03/24

Loyal pet dogs offer comfort as society grays

 僕は英辞郎を使って英語を読みまくり、インターネットラジオのNHKのラジオジャパン英語ニュースで時事英語を聞きまくってます。(^^;
参考「こんな感じで英辞郎を使ってます

Loyal pet dogs offer comfort as society grays

03/24/2005

A letter that appeared in Asahi Shimbun editions distributed in Tokyo and its suburbs caught my eye a while back because it had a unique title: ``Motomu Yoken Homu'' (Looking for a home for pet dogs).

It was about a married woman's concern about the future of a puppy that her aged parents, now prone to injury and suffering from eye problems, had adopted after their previous pet dog died. What would become of the new pet when her parents grew too old to take care of it? The question weighed on her mind.

2005年03月23日(水曜日)付
【天声人語】

 少し前だが、「求む『養犬ホーム』」という投稿が東京管内などの本紙に載っていた。実家で、愛犬が病死し、子犬を飼い始めた。ところが、高齢の両親はけがをしたり、目の具合が悪くなったりした。犬の世話をできなくなったらどうしよう。そんな娘さんの心配だった。

Many elderly dog owners presumably share her concern.

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, more than 12 million dogs are kept as pets nationwide. Approximately one in four ``elderly households'' (where one of the couple is 65 or older) keeps a dog.

 犬好きのお年寄りには身につまされる話だろう。ペットフード工業会によると、全国で飼い犬は1200万匹を超え、老人世帯は4軒に1軒ぐらいが飼っている。

In ``Inu no Iru Kurashi'' (Life with dogs), author Koji Nakano writes: ``A dog in your old age is something more than just a pet. ... It is an animal that needs your care and protection. Above all, it is something that you can love with all your heart, without worrying about going too far.'' (The book is available as part of the Bunshun paperback series.)

 「老いてから飼う犬という存在は、たんなるペットという以上に……世話をやいてやるべき被保護者であり、そして何よりも安心してひたすら愛することのできる対象なのであった」。そう書いたのは作家の中野孝次さんだ(『犬のいる暮し』文春文庫)。

Nakano himself had a dog called Halas, a Shiba breed. His book, which describes his life with Halas, was a best seller. After Halas' death, he found life without a dog unbearable, and so he looked for a replacement. When the author died last summer, two Shiba dogs, a mother and daughter pair named Hanna and Nana, were living in his house.

 中野さんはハラスという柴犬(しばいぬ)との日々を描き、ベストセラーになった。ハラスの死後、犬のいない生活に耐えられず再び飼い始める。昨夏亡くなった時、ハンナとナナという親子の柴犬がいた。

Answering my call, the author's widow, Hide, 77, said, ``These dogs are 8 and 5 now. Both are in very good health.'' Even now, she said, when they hear footsteps outside her home, the dogs race toward the gate, thinking perhaps that their late master has returned.

``I think my husband was concerned about the future of his dogs right to his last moments,'' the widow told me. ``I feel obliged to keep on living until after the dogs live out their natural life span.''

 妻の秀さん(77)に電話すると、「8歳と5歳になり、2匹ともとても元気です」。今でも外で足音がすると中野さんと思って門へ駆けていく。「夫も最期まで気がかりだったでしょう。この子たちに天寿を全うさせるまで私も生きなければと思っています」

When it comes to old age, humans can learn a lot from dogs, says Yoshihiro Hayashi, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Tokyo. ``Even as they grow old, dogs neither lament their physical decline nor worry about their future,'' he says. ``They just live on, content with the present.''

I have a feeling deep in my bones that, in this age of low birth rates and a steadily graying society, it is very unlikely that the numbers of elderly people living out their remaining years with such virtuous companions will soon decrease.

 東大教授で獣医学の林良博さんは「犬は老いても、我が身の老いを嘆いたり将来を思い煩ったりせず、現在を満足して生きる」と語る。そんな味のある相棒と共に老いを重ねたい。そう望む人は、この少子高齢の時代に減ることはない気がする。

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 23(IHT/Asahi: March 24,2005)

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