Pet ownership is very popular in Japan. Most of the time, pets are considered part of the family system wherein many of them are given enough care to be called family members. Just like children, they are well loved by their owners who give them priority over several things. However, there are cases when pet owner-employees are so busy with work that they forget to have a good bonding with their pets. Because of this, a pet health insurance company based in Tokyo (東京) called ipet Insurance is offering pet owner-employees a valuable paid leave to spend with their beloved furry family members for whatever reason.
The number of pets in Japan has continuously been increasing. This is a trend that most Japanese seem to follow nowadays. Some people say that the reason for this is that many people want a companion without having to face too much demand or responsibility as compared to when you have children or a baby. They are adopting pets into their homes instead of having kids which is proven to provide some advantages and disadvantages for the Japanese society. An advantage of this is the fact that having a pet kills the loneliness of people. However, a disadvantage is the failing number of the country’s birth rate which has crippled the Japanese economy since the beginning of time.
As a matter of fact, in 2008, a “pet boom” was recorded in which the number of dogs and cats surpassed the total number of children (under 15 years old) in Japan! It is quite absurd but this is the reality seen in the country and it seems like there’s no way to stop it. The number of pets has drastically been increasing year by year and this paved the way towards the opening of several pet businesses.
People have taken a serious turn with pets that several businesses were opened to accommodate specific pet needs. Some pets have the luxury to have their own closets filled with couture clothing from Gucci or Chanel, while others are lavished with spa treatments. Some of the businesses that pamper pets are cat and dog cafes and restaurants which allow pets to sit around the table as part of the family.
There are also several salons catering to the fur needs of these pets, as well as those which focus on proper grooming. There are actually some pets that do not only act as a companion but rather as therapy animals. They are the ones chosen to comfort the elderly or those living in nursing homes as well as the disabled people. Pets are there to help these people find meaning in life.
There are also traditional practices done in honor of pets when they die. In the mid-19th century, it is said that pets were actually memorialized by giving them posthumous names. They were also considered residents of the village then. During the animal’s death, special care was secured for them as it has been a long-time tradition done to prevent any vengeful spirits from attacking the village. Pets were given death rites. To ensure that no bad thing happens, specific burial sites were designated and sometimes, the inclusion of animal items was also necessary for the burial so as to assure the whole village that no spirit will trouble them.
Buddhist practices have also been followed although some issues arise such as the reincarnation of pets. Many people believe that pets are reborn as pets. But still, it really depends on the family members to decide which of the practices they want to follow for their pet’s well-being. Most of the time, Buddhist clerics follow the family’s decision though they incorporate some elements into the ritual or omit some. Many of deceased pets are remembered through their pictures on the altar in which people pray for them as part of the family’s ancestry.
ipet Insurance is a dog and cat insurance company with its head office located in Roppongi (六本木). Around one-third of their employees are cat/dog owners and being a pet insurance company that believes in the importance of quality time between owner and pet, they have decided to provide a special paid leave to their pet-owner employees. For every pet that the employees own, they are allowed to have a paid leave of 3 days to grieve in the case of death, plus 2 “pet holidays” per year to give them time to spend with their beloved pets.
Pets provide a lot of benefits to their owners. They offer a sense of comfort, relieve stress, increase physical activity, and even improve work productivity. The early years of a pet’s life are very important as it plays a significant role in the total well-being of the pet. Taking care of them while they are young is necessary. Thus, the ipet Insurance “pet holiday” system has made sure to give every pet owner-employee the chance to create a mutual bond with their pets which is significant in their pet’s emotional and mental health.
Pets are also considered the only members of the family that you get to choose, so there’s no doubt in the mutual understanding that an owner has with the pet. Losing a pet is an emotional event that can take a toll on a person’s life. Thus, ipet Insurance makes sure that every pet owner-employee has the necessary time off to deal with the turnout of events. This can also be considered a part of responsible pet ownership which helps create a positive atmosphere of caring for pets.
Hopefully, ipet Insurance’s paid “pet holiday” system becomes a hit that will push other companies in the country to follow suit. If it happens, it will surely give pet owners and their pets more chance of enjoying each other’s company. To some extent, it becomes necessary to offer such plans for pet owners as pets’ existence is of great importance in the society. Taking a paid leave while bonding with your pet is probably one of the most precious activities that is worth treasuring for pet owners and their beloved pets!
ipet Insurance Website *Japanese only