For many people, living with animals is one of the greatest joys in life. Determined to bring happiness to all pet owners and animals, Japanese pet shop ChouChou has started running a new kind of business inside their store.

Located in Okayama Prefecture, ChouChou is definitely not your ordinary pet shop. In fact, it’s a pet shop that doesn’t sell pets. Instead, they work hard to match shelter dogs that have been given no other future but to be euthanized, with loving, responsible humans.

It all began with one question: Why is it okay to sell pets when there are thousands of animals being put down in the shelters every day? This thought prompted ChouChou’s business officer Takashi Sawaki to stop selling pets, and tag-team with NPO group The Humane Society for Dogs and Cats in OKAYAMA in April 2015 to begin searching for dogs waiting to be euthanized.

But they don’t simply pair shelter dogs and potential owners — they meticulously make sure that the potential owners are both compatible with the dogs, and can promise the dogs a happy home for the rest of their lives. To make this possible, ChouChou makes it obligatory for people who are interested in taking in one of their dogs to go through a strict screening process.

There are 16 total criteria that future pet owners have to fulfill, including:

・Pet owners must register the dog and vaccinate them. They must also obtain a dog license and certificate of vaccination.

・If the pet owner lives alone, he/she must find a guarantor to care for the dog under the possibility that they may suddenly become unable to.

・Pet owners must regularly notify ChouChou for at least 6 months on the dogs’ well-being after bringing the dog into their care.

In addition to these and 13 other criteria, staff will visit potential owners to check if their home environment is suitable for the dogs, and will only officially give away the dogs after a problem-free, 1-week trial period. “We won’t give our dogs to anyone who isn’t willing to meet with us regularly and seriously take on the responsibilities of being a dog owner,” Sawaki explains.

Thanks to ChouChou’s efforts, 11 dogs have found homes so far, and are all happy and enjoying life with their new families.

Besides matching shelter dogs with new families, ChouChou also provides services such as grooming and selling toys and pet food. A part of their sales are used to support the search to find new homes for shelter dogs.

Not surprisingly, this not-your-average pet store has found massive support from people all over Japan.

ChouChou’s Okayama shop is amazing. It might not happen in a day, but I hope all the pet shops in Japan will one day be like them.


Finding homes for shelter dogs through a pet store!! And they’ve completely stopped selling puppies!! We should definitely look for other shops like this.

A pet store that doesn’t sell pets.

Instead, they look for new homes for homeless animals.

They maintain their business by selling pet food and toys.

They are against putting animals down.

The name of the store is ChouChou.

Support them by buying pet food at their store!

We hope that all shelter animals will one day find warm, loving homes, and that pet stores in Japan will all follow suit in support of ChouChou’s current efforts.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.