Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Therapy dog Nobu

It's snowing and Claire refuses to go out to pee. Looks  like I'm going to have to take her for a walkies to get the bowels moving. Meanwhile even though a new friend, Kahn, came by to play yesterday evening and she and Nobu went wild playing in the garden, I was so busy chatting and making tea i didn't snap any photos, so here's a therapy dog Nobu photo with the Japanese granma. I love the way she's caressing his head. She feeds him all kinds of wild things, all the treats we bring for her to eat, so it's not that healthy for Nobu, but sinning once in a while and turning a blind eye- I guess that's what granmas are for...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Upbeat Morning

I spoke to Koyama sensei, the vet in charge of our sweeties, and we arranged a date for Nobu's operation. It's set for the third week in March, and after being neutered he'll be back home the same day to recuperate at home. Since Nobu came to us almost straight from the pound we felt it best to have him settle in and feel comfortably at home with us before undergoing this routine but major surgery, but now his body weight is ideal, and he is much less the waif of a puppy so the time is right. This has not been an easy decision for me, but since Nobu is a rescue, it's part and parcel of the agreement, along with the easy things like registration and microchips, and simply has to be done. I just pray it doesn't upset his balance and beautiful loving temperament in any negative way.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday walk

Sunday is a great day for a walk in the park - we went to the Shinrinkoen, which is a reclaimed horse race track up near the US base in Yamate. There were a lot of kids and their families, quite a few runners lapping the park, and some other smaller dogs (illegally) off leash...Bigger dogs avoid the park when it's crowded, I think. At any rate Claire and Nobu are happy to chase the pigeons in the wooded areas, using the new Paw of Sweden 10 m leash. One woman we passed commented jokingly, "This is your exercise, right?" :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anjin Dog Cafe Homemade dogfood

On a rainy day like yesterday when I don't go for such long walks it's great to get out to our local dog cafe Anjin. I needed a coffee to wake me up, for some reason I fell fast asleep on the sofa with Claire mid-afternoon, and Claire and Nobu needed a change of scene. Fortunately it was Saturday, since that's the only day of the week Anjin is open lately.  When we arrived the resident dachshund pair set up their usual hullaballoo, but they're getting used to us dropping by and weren't quite so persistently ear-splitting as before. We settled in for my coffee, and as Nobu and Claire's food was served the two sat up to attention, Nobu with such a delighted look of anticipation on his face. Claire could hardly restrain herself, even to the point of putting her paws on the low table, only to be scolded and sit back down. Below the delicious dog plate prepared by the Anjin mama, potato and vegies with shredded chicken croquettes.

While the two were eating a dachshund and cavalier spaniel pair came in, and we enjoyed chatting. The male dachshund managed to salvage the tomato from Nobu's plate, he set to with such gusto some bits went flying. The dachshund was a friendly chap, came over to check out the floor and say hello to both dogs, but his lady spaniel mate was more timid, only approaching under cover of her mum's outstretched arm as we all took photos. The coffee and food came to less then a thousand yen, and made a fun wee outing for both me and the dogs. I can see me becoming a regular :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Claire and Nobu Hundegarden

We are very fortunate to have a great dog trainer locally, Dodo-sensei. He looks after Claire and Nobu when I need to be away for a long stretch of time, or if we are both away overnight. He sometimes takes pictures of the dogs and posts them on his blog, and today a lady in the park told me she had seen a picture of Nobu and another of Nobu and Claire at his blog website, in the February 16th posting.  Above is the picture he took when we were both busy, and he also writes a short report. They are really lucky to be taken for walkies in their usual home environment, so no need to get anxious about not coming home.
This morning was training day again, and we practised sit; sit then down; sit and wait; down and wait; up and wait; and then up, wait (standing) and sit from afar (advanced stuff only Claire can do); sit, wait and here; sit, take and drop it, either doing the dogs in tandem, and then finally taking turns while the other dog is fastened to the park bench on a leash. They were quite good dogs today.  Funny enough on "here" Nobu literally cannons into me, he's so keen to get the tidbit, and Claire poddles over at a snail's pace, picking up speed as she gets closer, but never getting beyond a trot.

Paw of Sweden Satisfied Customer

It was really exciting to get a parcel delivered yesterday from Sweden...Everyone has this image of me as a seasoned internationalist, and to be sure I'm really used to snail mail from friends in the US, Australia, the UK, Germany, France and so on, but until now I've never had any contact with somebody in Sweden,so I find it thrilling! Plus compared to the snide Japanese response, Paw was exceptionally friendly and understanding about the broken lead in a very upbeat, positive way - and now their replacement lead came so fast in the post!

They also included two complimentary collars in matching orange and pink, and a nice handwritten note for a real personal feel. This is the kind of customer service I generally get from stores here in Japan, so it is really great to have a warm glow from Europe: I am particularly happy because even the best leashes need to be replaced as they get old, and I love these PAW products and really wanted to keep on buying them. Now I know I can safely and unconditionally endorse these products. 

I noticed on the website they also have salmon oil. Right now the dogs are eating Fish4dogs salmon oil for glossy coats, a teaspoon per day, but there is only the trial size available in Japan, which means it gets quite expensive in the long run. I saw that PAW has a big bottle, so I'm thinking of ordering one plus some new colors in everyday short leash (right now I use purple and white/gold). But not today, today is training day with Dodo sensei, and then I have to write an email to thank PAW and let them know the parcel arrived safely :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Naru is cooking spaghetti for lunch in the kitchen, and Nobu and Claire are fascinated, hoping for some tidbits as she cooks. I missed the perfect picture of the two of them at her feet, so here is Claire separately. Got any crumbs for me? she says, so I took pity on her and gave her some yoghurt. Both dogs love yoghurt, it's eaten in a trice.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PAW of Sweden: great customer service :)

Claire using the 10m pink PAW lead in the park: this one has been going strong since August!

Mum walking with Nobu using the pink PAW 10m lead - easy to reel in, great handling and fun color matching my shoes, strong and reliable.

I called PAW of Sweden on Skype, I was so frustrated! The lady on the phone was so friendly, listened to me carefully and immediately asked me to send pictures and my address and they would organize a replacement. They also asked me to buy directly from them in future. YES I WILL! None of these rude Japanese stores inbetween.

I am so relieved, because these are fantastic products: the colors are great, they wash easily and dry quickly, they run smoothly and don't tangle, they are strong and heavy duty when my two babies run and forage, and they are so light they give the dogs a sense of freedom, while at the same time they are light for me to carry and pop in my pocket when I change to a long lead. I would hate to stop buying them! I am now so happy I can continue to enjoy the leashes with Nobu and Claire.

Thank you friends for encouraging me to go straight to company headquarters with this issue. And thank you PAW for being so understanding.

Paw of Sweden Broken Leash

Six months ago, when Claire first arrived we bought a 10m Paw of Sweden leash, and then when Nobu arrived we bought a new orange one...after a month of use (Nobu being bigger and heavier was on the old pink one) the handle part broke, the end of the loop slipped out of the black rubber, and off went Claire trailing the leash- she's a good girl and stopped when we called her, so there were no accidents Nevertheless, quite shocked, we tied the loop and continued to use the leash (we have two short ones from the Paw with no problems)...only yesterday, the last straw: the part clipped to the dog also slipped out of its black rubber and Claire was free in the crowded Hodogaya Park. Fortunately after about five minutes she came back to me, and there were no accidents with cars or jumping up and scaring people, but it was one of the longest five minutes of my life.

Since we are happily using the same type of leash, both short and long, and the old leash is not broken, I wrote to the company asking if this kind of complaint happened often. They had the gall to write back and say it was the first time and they were terribly sorry and please read company policy which says only a new lead can be replaced if it breaks the first day of use. Scandalous! If there are no previous complaints and we are using three other of their leashes, they should admit it was a faulty product and offer to replace it. Never before have i been treated so badly as a customer in Japan. What should I do?

If it were Rakuten I could give them a terrible rating...I wrote back asking them to reconsider and send me a replacement...I am in quandary because I really like these leashes, light, easy to carry, but the store attitude SUCKS big time. Maybe I should write directly to Sweden complaining???

My first mail:








Their reply:

この度は当店でお買い上げいただいた商品「 リフレクティブロングリード10m PAW of Sweden」について、



PAW of Sweden社製のロープリードにつきましては、接続部に頑丈な金属部品等は使用しておらず、
使用頻度・使用方法・使用中に高負荷がかかった場合・使用中に傷などができた場合 等、



My second mail

Paw of Sweden the broken part. The black rubber is stuck tight and won't fit through the metal clip, so I had to double the rope to tie the seamans knot

The broken handle part: again, the black rubber is stuck tight while the free end has slipped out, so there is no loop, and I had to tie the rope to make a new loop.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lazy Mum

I am too lazy for words, I can't get up early for the morning walk, so I'm going to have a bath and then go out with the dogs...Nobu and Claire wake me up around seven lately, to let me know it's really high time to get up. They seem to understand that the five thirty slot is not going to happen...wise dogs.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I simply couldn't get up this morning,  plus it's freezing cold out there, and so poor Nobu is quite frustrated. Imagine my joy when he and Claire started to play together in the sitting room, Claire growling and barking ferociously (she's more bark than bite, our wee Claire) while Nobu play bowed, snapping and jousting. Unfortunately the camera was in my coat pocket in the hall, so by the time I had got it the dogs thought things were hotting up for a walk and I couldn't video or snap their interaction. Oh well, I'd better get up and take them for a walk in the park anyway...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rained out Tuesday

Valentine Smile

This doggie blog has been documenting rescued english setters Claire and Nobu in their forever home, and today i wanted to focus on the happiness and smiles they have brought into our gratitude to our valentine dogs, sweetie Claire and darling Nobu.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brunch at B-wood dog run

Oooh, let me feel your hearbeat...grow faster, faster (Queen)
Catch me if you can
Whisper in my ear
Love me tender
Frisbee ears

Tired but happy
Meanwhile Claire settles down...
...refuses all invitations to play
...and falls asleep.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Give a dog a bone

I bought a bag of bones
Thank you mum
Digging in
Hesitant at first
Nobu gets down to the business of eating

Morning sun

Claire and Nobu snoozing on the sofa in the morning sun after a good walk in the park on the long lead, and a hearty breakfast. Nobunaga has been with us two months now, and Claire a whole six months, half a year! The changes in Nobu over these eight weeks have been pretty spectacular: he now waits patiently with Claire in the entrance without being restrained  on a leash until I wipe down his dirty paws and give him the okay to enter. He plays with toys instead of running away to hide- even Mum has become a toy, he jumps up and invites me to play now. He now chooses to be up on the sofa instead of secluded in the hallway on the cold hard floorboards. He has gained four to five kilos in weight and as his body has filled out he has gained healthy muscles and contours. He has begun to enjoy birds! (Two dogs straining on the leash after pigeons -help!) He no longer barks wildly at every passing dog inviting them to play, he's learned there are times and places to play, and that not all dogs are interested. He's learned not to eat everything he finds on walks including poops, and no longer goes wild over plastic bags he finds, happy to get treats and good food in our home. 
These first two months have been tiring, I guess for Nobu too, establishing routines and getting to know each other. I feel a little washed out, need to recharge my batteries, and some days I can't get up for an early morning walk, and the dogs get less exercise. Sometimes I see Nobu remembering frustrated patterns of being scolded from before, and he gets a devil may care attitude going wild as I race after him calling, so I never scold when I catch up with him. But I'm trying to get him to behave from the good of his heart because he wants to be loved and appreciated and fit in with the family. I've learned to crouch down on the floor curled up in a little ball if I don't want to play, and he gets the message to leave me alone.
I'm not saying it's going to be plain sailing from here, but I think things will be a little more easy...Claire is perfection, the most beautiful sweet lady, and Nobu will be her samurai, spectacular athletic body with a refined sense of self-control and excellent poise...I'm working on it! :P

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Claire on the prowl

Claire has found pigeons

Nobu doing his butter wouldn't melt in my mouth face while taking Claire's spot on the sofa

Nobu deciding it's safe and settling in for a nap

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012


Researching music for my December chacha with Kent-sensei I bought an Enrique Iglesias CD, only to find that he's dedicated it to his dog, Grammy. Another dog-lover:
Euphoria to me is finding heaven on earth.
Taking joy in the great events and
smaller moments in your life...
NO matter where the road takes me.
no matter where I go, I will always cherish the
feeling of comin' home
Returning to my small corner of the world
to rest, and spend a perfect afternoon with my old
and loyal friend Grammy. Through thick and thin, highs and lows, roars
and whispers thank-you Grammy, for always running
down the drive when you hear the car pull up
and welcoming me heaven on earth
This album is dedicated to Grammy
-someday we'll be together again
It's not really got any particularly good songs I'd like to dance to, although I quite like the monotony of the song Heartbeat...Meanwhile Claire ate my dance shoe today for some reason, she was near the table making busy chewing noises and I thought it was her pig's trotter, only it was my latin dance trotter - yikes. After a year of dancing it was all sweaty and smelly, so it must have been particularly delicious. My fault for abandoning the shoes on the kitchen floor instead of putting them away in their soft bag, but at least a good excuse to buy a new pair.