Even for those who love animals, the idea of taking in a stray can give pause. You have no idea what this animal has been through and the special care it may need. Nevertheless, one woman in Japan decided to take a leap of faith when she discovered an adorable dog in the bushes. The animal was hard not to love given how sweetly it acted, so she chose to keep it. As the weeks went on, she realized that this creature wasn’t a dog at all. Read on to find out what the animal was and why it was mistaken for a dog.
Discovering Something In The Bushes
Twitter user chibi_tori was coming home as usual when she noticed something near her house. It was a distinct rustling noise and shaking bushes that had grabbed her attention, so she went closer to observe what it may be.
As she neared the bushes in question, she realized it was a furry creature making the noises. She couldn’t tell at first what it was, but the eyes seemed harmless enough. She decided to pursue it further.
The Animal Seemed Sweet
When it comes to wild animals, it’s natural and warranted to feel scared of them. Perhaps chibi_tori was being reckless, or maybe she just had a strong instinct, but either way, she felt it was safe to approach.
As she cautiously neared the animal, it became even clearer that her gut had been correct. It didn’t mean to harm her, but rather was scared. Her heart began to feel for the creature, and then she realized what it was.
She Was Sure She’d Found A Dog
As she slowly approached the creature, she became sure it was a dog. Especially once it had fully emerged from the bushes, it looked like a canine that could belong to anyone in the neighborhood.
The animal was on all fours, had a furry, multi-colored coat, a small snout, and rounded ears that pointed upward. Given its calm demeanor and dog-like looks, the woman was confident it was a pet she had found, so she reached out to touch it.
She Brought The Animal Home
The woman not only had the nerve to reach a hand out to the seemingly sweet animal, but also to pick it up and take it home. Being that she thought it was a dog, it’s somewhat understandable that she was willing to do this.
At the same time, even if it was a dog she’d found, she had no idea if it was riddled with diseases. Still, her heart got the best of her and she decided that caring for this seemingly helpless creature was more important.
The Creature Made For An Adorable Pet
Still believing it was a dog she’d found, chibi_tori decided to keep the animal as a pet. By the time she’d brought it inside it was too adorable to send back out. Plus, it was treating her like any good pet would.
Miraculously, the wild animal was treating her with curiosity rather than hostility. The animal was probably just as surprised that this human was being so hospitable. Both had reason to think the other would act aggressively out of fear.
A Curious Little Guy
Chibi_tori’s new pet wasn’t just curious in the sense that he didn’t quite look like your average pet, but also in the sense that he couldn’t stop checking everything out. It was as though he’d never been inside a home before.
Though the animal acted like a calm, domesticated animal, it also was beginning to give away signs of never having been owned before. Something seemed off, and chibi_tori new she would have to figure it out sooner or later.
Eating Like A Human
Rather than feed her new pet dog kibble, chib_tori fed the animal like a champ. She put out plates like this one in its designated eating area. The meals were well-balanced, complete with both protein and vegetables.
Her new pet seemed to crave anything he was given. He wasn’t a picky eater by any means, and seemed to always be hungry. This was another sign that the animal probably wasn’t used to being fed by someone.
He Had A Favorite Napping Place
Chibi_tori happened to have a space heater in her home to warm up small areas. It didn’t take long for her new companion to realize how incredible the invention was and before long, it was his favorite place to sleep.
Chibi_tori lovingly set up a little duckie-covered mat right in front of the heater for her new friend to sleep on. For an animal that was used to being left out in the cold, this must have been a dream come true.
It Was Clearly Not A Dog
As time went on, it became increasingly clear that this was not a dog. Its habits were not that of a house pet, but it also didn’t seem to have the characteristics you’d expect of a dog.
The most obvious factor was that it didn’t look like any dog breeds. While it vaguely looked like it could be some mixture of multiple breeds, chibi_tori knew deep down that this was not a canine. So what was it then?
It Was A Tanuki!
It didn’t take long for chibi_tori to discover the truth about her new friend. She took to the internet, posting a few pictures of the animal on her Twitter account to see what her followers thought of the creature.
Before long, word came back that it was a tanuki, also known as a raccoon dog. This completely explained its appearance and how she confused it for a dog. A little bit of research confirmed it.
They Are Native To Japan
It made sense that chibi_tori discovered the animal outside of her home in Japan, because tanukis are a Japanese subspecies of the Asian raccoon dog. As such, they are frequently present in Japanese folklore.
You can also find them in Japanese art. They are regarded as both masters of disguise and gullible creatures. Some would call them mischievous, but they are also light-hearted. Chibi_tori got very lucky with the tanuki she found because it didn’t cause many troubles at all.
Their Fur Can Grow Very Long
This tanuki has long fur, which makes it look even more like a dog. While their faces are raccoon-like due to the dark eyes and pointed snout, their fur can make it difficult to tell for sure.
On top of that, some small dogs have similarly shaped faces. As we’ll see in the next image, they could easily be mistaken for a pomeranian. If it weren’t for their rounded ears, shorthaired tanukis might look more like large chihuahuas.
This White Tanukis Looks Like Pomeranians
Some tanukis are white like this one. The solid-colored, long fur makes it look strikingly similar to a pomeranian. While at first, it seemed absurd that chibi_tori mistook the animal for a dog, this image helps to show how the mixup occurred.
At the time she found her new companion, it could have been late and dark. The bushes were obstructing her view, as well. By the time she reached the tanuki, his easy temperament could have confirmed in her mind that this was a pet, not a wild animal.
She Named Him Tanu
Now that chibi_tori knew that she had not captured a dog, but rather a raccoon dog, she had a decision to make. Owning a tanuki wasn’t technically illegal, and the animal had already proven himself to be positively charming.
She decided to keep him, and named him Tanu after ‘tanuki.’ The little animal was lucky to have a home where he would be provided for, and chibi_tori was lucky to have such an easygoing pet.
They Aren’t Recommended As Pets
Most tanukis have temperaments that have been compared to those of foxes, and they aren’t recommended as pets since they can sometimes be trouble. In Europe, they are so prevalent that they are allowed for hunting.
There are also great numbers of them in Japan, and their fur is sometimes sought after for clothing. Tanu may have been luckier than he realized considering he came upon a kind owner who had the best of intentions.
Tanu Sometimes Would Whine
Another distinguishing factor between Tanu and a dog is that Tanu wouldn’t bark. Tanukis don’t bark, but instead make a whining noise. It is high-pitched and they make the noise instinctively when they are scared or excited.
That being said, it’s curious that Tanu didn’t make the noise when he came into contact with chibi_tori. Had he made that noise, it would have tipped her off that this was not a dog. Perhaps the two getting together was meant to be.
She Treated Tanu Like A Dog
Though it was clearly established that Tanu was not a dog, chibi_tori more or less treated him like he was a dog. She even would take him on walks and kept him on a leash!
While you would think it would be startling for the neighbors, since tanukis are prevalent in Japan, it wasn’t very odd. It was sort of like seeing a ferret on a leash in America: not completely normal, but also not a reason to panic.
Veterinarians Would Be Prepared
Though a vet would probably think chibi_tori a little nutty for taking in a wild tanuki, they would at least be prepared. Since the animal is common in the area, it’s likely that the professionals would know what to do.
Furthermore, we doubt that chibi_tori is the first to ever have done this. Looking at a sweet face like that, we could understand how someone would want to take it in as their own pet.
She Doesn’t Regret It
We can’t emphasize enough how lucky chibi_tori was to get a sweet pal like Tanu in her life. As with any animal, particularly a stray, she could have encounter one that put her or someone else in harm’s way.
While it is highly recommended, and sometimes legally enforced, that you leave a wild animal alone, it’s heartwarming to see this sort of happy outcome. Both Tanu and chibi_tori brought a bit of positivity to one another’s life.
An Animal Lover’s Dream
Chibi_tori essentially experienced what would be a fairytale for most animal lovers. While it isn’t wise to intervene in the life of a wild animal without the help of a professional, chibi_tori believed she was dealing with a safe pet from the start.
Fortunately, the animal was sweeter and more agreeable than many, especially for a wild creature who isn’t domesticated. At the end of the day, chibi_tori and Tanu were able to benefit from their new partnership.