Torrential downpours in central and western parts of Japan have forced the evacuation of more than two million people in the area.
And the accidental evacuation of one miniature horse.
The horse name Leaf was found this week alive and stranded on a roof. The nine-year-old mare is used for animal therapy at a seniors facility in the Mabicho district of Kakehashi and vanished on July 6 along with her colt, Earth, when floodwaters swept through the region on Friday.
Staff had been forced to release the pair after torrential rains forced an evacuation of the facility.
The first floor of the Mabicho branch office was flooded, and the water reached the facility 200 meters to the south. The adjacent farm used for Leaf and therapy goats was under water.
The assumption was that Leaf, who was acquired from a farm in Osaka, had drowned, but one Life Town employee refused to give up hope.
Once the waters receded, Tanimoto started searching the surrounding mountains for the lost animal and her one-year-old colt.
Leaf, in fact, had not gone that far nor that high.
She was discovered on the roof of a private house near the branch office. She was covered with mud and had an injured leg.
The horse might have used the rising waters to climb to safety. But perhaps only Leaf knows how she got up on the roof.
Residents fed the rescued and clearly hungry horse cabbages and carrots.
I was really worried about Leaf because I could not search for her,” Tanimoto said.
She shed tears at the reunion and gently stroked Leaf’s face in front of the Mabicho office.
“I thought that she was already dead, but luckily she seemed to have survived on the roof,” said Masayuki Yoshida, 48, a colleague of Tanimoto. “Leaf is so loved that 40 or 50 people visit on weekends to feed her. She did well over those three days.”