“A hole suddenly opened in the darkness. A huge tongue appeared and my face was licked. That was the first memory of my life … …” 19-year-old Fujiwara Rihito (Suda Masaki) works for a restaurant chain, but finds employment with Rescue Dogs Association, a non-profit organisation that he chanced upon after his company goes bankrupt. This non-profit organisation led by Baba Akio (Honda Hirotaro) has been training dogs for disaster relief and working to popularise it. When Rihito inadvertently falls asleep in a park, he is awakened by a big dog that licks his face. This is his fateful encounter with the disaster rescue dog, Kyu, and he somehow sets his sights on being a rescue dog handler. However, the combination of Rihito, who is intending to work temporarily until he finds his next job, and the foolish Kyu just does not turn out well. One day, Rihito is confined in the training yard for rescue dogs and gets out because of Kyu’s frantic barking. He is reassured to have Kyu as his partner following this first-hand experience of the feelings of a person calling for help. Then he learns that his first recollection of life is connected to the earthquake disaster 20 years ago. He lost his parents in the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake when he was a little child and was raised by his grandparents, Hiroshi (Kobayashi Kaoru) and Fumiko (Fubuki Jun) who run a shop for custom-made men’s shoes. Baba himself went through the earthquake as a firefighter and witnessed the loss of many lives. He made the decision to rear disaster rescue dogs whose existence was virtually unknown at that time because he reckons that there is no other way to save lives. This is the story of moving steadily forward toward dreams and hope as well as the people and towns that have recovered from the earthquake.
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