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In many countries, guide dogs, also known as seeing-eye dogs, lead blind or visually impaired people safely around their surroundings. They are intensely trained from a young age to serve as their partner’s functional ‘eyes’ and to ensure that both of them stay safe while going about daily life.

In return for their endless devotion and sacrifice, guide dogs getting on in their years are often allowed to “retire” and live out their final years comfortably in pampered peace. There are even special homes for these post-retirement dogs in certain countries. When one Chinese citizen posted photos of such an establishment in Japan on social media site Weibo, the online response was swift and emotional, showing that animals truly have the power to transcend national and cultural borders. Keep reading to see what some of their reactions were.

Guide dogs are known as moudouken (盲導犬) in Japanese, and it seems like they are becoming more and more prominent in Japanese society nowadays. “Jenny” the guide dog even pops up in the New Horizon series of English textbooks used by Japanese junior high school students!

On October 24, one Chinese Weibo user introduced photos of a home for retired guide dogs in Hokkaido, Japan. The pictures of the dogs living out their final years in peace and comfort brought on such an overwhelming response that many Chinese viewers expressed tearing up at the sight of them:

“My eyes filled with tears so I couldn’t see the pictures.”

“What a wonderful establishment!”

“I applaud the Japanese who show such respect to guide dogs.”

“Hey, everyone who keeps badmouthing Japan! You really don’t think there are certain things our country can learn from Japan?”

“If it were China, they’d be eaten and that would be the end of it.”

“I want to work there.”

“This is what a civilized nation does.”

“You really can’t ascribe just one word to the Japanese people.”

▼One of the many photos that was shared on Weibo

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Now, here are some reactions of Japanese people who read the Chinese comments:

“Actually, I didn’t know that this kind of place existed.”

“‘They’d be eaten and that would be the end of it’…I thought so.”

“You shouldn’t blame people for cultural differences. After all, Japanese people eat horses, right?”

“Homes for retired guide dogs are getting more and more popular nowadays.”

“Is it a new service for the wealthy? I wonder how prevalent the facilities are in advanced nations such as England or the Scandinavian countries.”

“Maybe the original uploader was trying to change public opinion by introducing this topic. According to Kansai Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, in terms of East Asian countries, guide dogs are active only in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. China is still in the preparation stages.”

Certain comments aside, it’s nice to see Chinese and Japanese net users relating with each other for a change. It looks like animals really do have the power to evoke emotional reactions in people all over the world, regardless of political borders.

Sources/Images: Record China via Nyaasoku, Wikipedia (Maksim)