1:  Prologue

In Japan, owing to advances in medical technology, the situation with regard to intractable diseases once thought to be incurable has been steadily improving, which benefits many patients. Heart transplants, after a hiatus of several decades, have been resumed here so that patients suffering from severe heart disease may await a transplant in their home country, without relying on treatment overseas. Advances in gene therapy are also inexorably penetrating the unknown details of dread diseases. I have been working close to, and yet far away from, this kind of medical environment for nearly forty years, as an experimental animal technician at a national university. In our lives, we often go through bittersweet experiences, and repeatedly meet and part with many people. Prominent among these encounters is a woman I shall never forget. Her name is Anne Ross. She was an English woman who suddenly appeared in front of me, and then just as suddenly disappeared. I have written this story so that readers may contemplate, through Anne’s example and her way of being, what is truly important in the relationship between human beings and animals, and recapture “something important” we Japanese seem to have forgotten.