There’s a Japanese Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals (Because of Course There Is)

Unagi Travel, Facebook

You think you’re feeling cooped up and need to get out and explore? What about that teddy bear of yours that hasn’t emerged from your storage closet since 1985?

A Japanese travel agency, Unagi Travel, which calls itself a “travel agency for stuffed animals,” has been taking plush animals on trips for the last three years. Why? To allow their owners to live vicariously through them. In fact, many of Unagi Travel’s customers are physically impaired. Well, and photos of traveling stuffed animals are cute.​”I want to see and walk around the sights that I viewed through my stuffed animal’s journeys someday,” said a 51-year-old woman, impaired by an illness that makes it difficult for her to walk, to the Japan News.

Unagi Travel’s Sonoe Azuma has shepherded more than 200 stuffed animals on trips. Be it a bike tour of Tokyo or a cross-Pacific journey to the United States, Azuma posts many of the photos of the traveling stuffed animals on Unagi Travel’s Facebook page (which is about to become your time waster of the day).

Stuffed animal travel is decidedly more affordable than the human kind: tours are priced between $20 and $55, depending on what the stuffed animals are getting up to. And just in case your stuffed animal likes the element of surprise, there are mystery tours, where your stuffed friend takes off to an unknown location.

Sound weird? Azuma’s clients love it; according to her about 40 percent of her clientele are repeat customers.

“I’m happy if my activities encourage those who can’t be positive to take a step forward,” Azuma said.

Just like your garden gnome taking a trip around the world, but better.

Dog in care of Delta airlines found dead in Atlanta

Nala, Delta Airlines DogThe dog lost by Delta Airlines over the holiday weekend was found dead on the side of the road Saturday, CBS Atlanta reports.

Our friends at AOL Travel originally reported on the story of an Army family’s dog, a German Shepherd mix named Nala, that had gone missing after escaping from her crate at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The dog and her travel companion, the family’s Beagle, were changing planes en route to Frankfurt, Germany. The other dog has arrived safely.

Nala escaped from her crate and was last seen on Christmas Eve. The airline had been offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the dog and now says it plans to donate that money to a local animal rescue organization.

This story is quite sad, as anyone who has ever lost a family pet will certainly agree. But what is even more strange is how a dog that large could escape without being tracked down immediately. There must be some sort of consequences for the employee in charge of these pets as there is a clear lack of effective security measures that contributed to the escape. While we certainly applaud Delta’s reward efforts, $1,000 is a small consolation for the loss of a beloved pet.