Meet Susan

Even though she never planned to open a shelter, she has now saved over 2000 homeless animals in Japan.

Heart Tokushima

About HEART Tokushima

Meet Susan Mercer from HEART Tokushima!  

HEART Tokushima is a registered NPO no-kill animal shelter, located in Tokushima, Japan.

Susan moved from Canada about 20 years ago, and was working as an English teacher when one day she found a box containing stray kittens outside of a convenience store. She decided to take them home with her, because there were no animal shelters in the area that were no-kill, and at the city pound 90% of the stray animals were euthanized.  

Susan founded HEART in 2006, and has saved over 2000 lives in the last 15 years.  HEART has since grown to offer spay/neuter services to help control the stray population, as well as rehabilitate and socialize the animals they rescue in their Training Center. 

Whenever we go back to Japan we always volunteer at animal shelters, and we have been learning more about the pet industry as well as the overall lack of animal welfare and how dogs and cats in shelters are usually overlooked there.

Susan’s story personally moved us, especially when we thought about how hard it must have been to establish a no-kill shelter which was completely outside the norm, while dealing with Japan’s complicated rules and regulations in a foreign language and culture.  It is so inspiring because she did it all just to stand up for the animals that would otherwise been killed at the pound, and even though she never planned to open a shelter, her choice to save those kittens led directly to the rescue of over 2000 lives.

Please visit their website, follow them on instagram @hearttokushima, and donate through PayPal if you can!

  • Marilyn

  • Nick

  • Nemi