Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stitches Out

Nobu looking dreamy because...
Tosh is stroking his nose
 Nobu had his stitches out today, 10 days after the neutering operation. It was quick and easy, the roads weren't crowded in spite of the spring holidays, perhaps because of the gusty high-speed winds which made everyone drive slow and safely, and we were the third people in line to be seen at the vet. He was weighed and then popped on his side on the table while me and an assistant soothed him and held him down as sensei carefully clipped the stitches and drew them out, finally spreading a little antibiotic ointment on the area. Had a tiny walk to pee and let off tension, and then he was back in the car with Claire to drive home together.

I'd like to thank everyone who prayed for him and supported me with their advice and warm words. I think the healing process went so well because of love, and then the salmon oil - he gets a teaspoon with every meal, and it really makes him glow. There are a few changes in our relationship: it has got stronger, as Nobu appreciated my caring for him when he was woozy and feeling low (perhaps he knew I was the cause of it all, but he has a big heart). On our walks he does indeed pee less here and there, as everyone predicted in their messages. Both he and Claire do still mark at about three or four strategic points on every walk, however. Methinks I may be able to make do with a 300cc bottle of water to wash it away, instead of 500. The vet warned me he would probably gain weight drastically and to ration his food, but not to overdo it or he'd take to stealing scraps or eating things he found on walks. Claire, who had the operation before she came to us, has certainly put on a lot of weight in the colder months, perhaps a delayed hormonal reaction to the operation. I have cut her kibble down to 2 cups instead of 3. We'll see how things go with Nobu. At any rate I am totally relieved this big ordeal is behind us, and now we can get back to routine vet visits like rabies shots and vaccinations.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March madness

There are squirrels in the park, along with numerous bush warblers betrayed by their fluting tones, pigeons, foraging birds of all descriptions, the dogs are going wild with the scents and stimulus. Headstrong Nobu darts off at tangents without warning and the sudden jerk on the lead wrenches my shoulder, which makes morning walks...any walks lately, rather trying. Claire on the pigeons has an intensity which Nobu barely manages to muster, although he dutifully sets and stalks in tandem with her. As Mike Gaddis describes in ZipZap: "..that superordinary, burning, white-hot desire, mirrored by individual degree in the fire of their eyes and the trembling intensity and expressiveness of their stand." And back home,  replete and satiated, Claire is regal in her self-possessed tranquility, a dog in a million.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The kids volunteered to help me walk the dogs in the afternoon, so off we went the three of us in the sunshine. We got kitted out in good walking shoes and gloves for rope burn, and both dogs were on the long leash...

Naru volunteered to take Nobu, and I got this fantastic fairytale shot of the princess wandering through the wrought iron gates of the castle (actually the equine museum, hence the horses) with her furry friend, tail held high like some knight's feather crested helmet, off to find adventure...
Meanwhile Claire had dashed off with Rob in the direction of the pond and the pigeons, so we joined up in the hunt before I took over Nobu, who has a mind of his own and sometimes dashes off furiously, so you have to be constantly on the alert. He can easily drag you off your feet if you're not careful, it takes some getting used to.

After circling the park, we ended up crashed out in the plum park.

As we rested, a cute and friendly little dog came up to check things out and have a sniff. His owner said if she doesn't get complimented with warbles of "Cute" and "Sweetiepie" she doesn't like to go home.

Taking over

The dogs take over the sofa and our darling Naru who has dropped by with Rob for a birthday visit...Dragon birthday boy Rob is relegated to the doggie cushion...

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Constant monitoring
Day 3
I have spent the best part of the last three or four days by Nobu's side, making sure he doesn't lick the stitches. The most trying time was the first night after he came home from surgery, when I was checking every time he woke, moving places round the room with him and up at the first sound of licking. On the day after surgery and the third day he was furiously itchy as the stubble grew out, and I let him lick all around the belly area and the top of his penis, cupping my hand over the scrotum and the stitches to make sure he didn't lick there. He seems to get the message that he's not supposed to lick much, and in spite of generally enjoying licking himself all over, he's being quite good about not licking those areas. Inbetweentimes I have kept him busy with short walks, and chewy things like horse tendons, kangaroo tailbone, shark spine, and other treats to take his mind off things. As far as I can see things are healing up nicely, and he is on another two days of strong antibiotics. We're taking him to Koyama-sensei to have the stitches out around the second or third of April. 
Koyama sensei did lend me a cone, but when I tried the Elizabethan collar on Nobu the second day, after letting him sniff it, he bumped into furniture and door sills and had a panic attack, trying to run and then freezing up- it must have triggered some trauma from his previous dwelling (I hate to call it home since they abandoned him), and he was so upset he wouldn't come inside after I took it off, but fled to the garden and sat cowering on the porch tiles for an hour before building up the courage to come back inside with gentle coaxing and prime treats. As a result I gave up, and decided to use the constant supervision and healing hand treatment. I am lucky to have the time to be able to do this, and Tosh is being generally supportive of the process. Right now I feel pretty zonked, but relieved things are healing up so well- so far so good. Now to get the darlings their breakfast.
Day Five

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Claire on a roll

 Claire taking full advantage of the 10m Paw of Sweden long leash and the fact that Nobu's not around...dashing like a madwoman around the Kuraki park, sploshing in and out of the ponds and ditches, getting tangled in thickets, in short having a ball. She's so far out these are kind of where's Wally pictures. After getting home and showering her down I needed an afternoon nap from all the running before going to pick up Nobu around five. He was wobbly on his feet, still woozy from the anaesthetic, but happy to be home, and me and Claire were happy to have him safe in our welcoming arms and paws.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Say a little prayer

信長ちゃんの手術、簡単だから大丈夫ですよ。Nobu's operation is pretty straightforward, so everything will be ok.

そのほうが楽ですし、無事に終わることを私も祈ります。I know you're worried about the operation, but it's part and parcel of being a foster mum, plus for a dog living in the metropolis it's much easier this way. I'm praying he'll be on the road to recovery in no time.

信長君の手術が無事に終わるよう祈っています。I'm praying and sending positive thoughts for Nobu's operation to all be over safe and sound.

ママさん大丈夫 信ちゃん元気にスッキリして帰ってきます ママさんの子になった強運とお医者さんを信じて待ちましょう 信ちゃん頑張れ!Don't you worry now, Mummy. Nobu chan will be home safe and sound and chirpy in no time - as you wait, trust in the luck that brought him to you and the skill of the vet. Nobu, we're rooting for you.
信長君、大丈夫!I know how you feel, I remember when my own dogs had their operation: Even though we live in a different place, we booked an overnight stay at a hotel so that we could have it done by a vet in Osaka that we really trusted. We woke up really early the next morning and went to pick up our baby so early, we got there an hour before the place was open. It was a relief to see our sweetie's happy face. Nobunaga, you'll be right as rain!
大丈夫なんだとわかっていても、気が気じゃありませんわよね。無事終了、早期回復をお祈りいたします。Even though you know everything's probably going to go well, you just can't help having it on your mind. I am sending setter zen praying for a safe operation and speedy recovery.
手術が無事に終わり、順調に快復されますように!In my mind's eye I can just see his joyful face when you go to pick him up. Praying for everything to be all right and fingers and toes crossed for a good recovery.
手術となると心配になりますよね。我が家の場合は手術後、電話を頂けたので、大丈夫なのが早くわかって安心しました。信長君、大丈夫です☆大好きなママの元へ元気に帰ってきます☆お祈りいたします☆ It's natural to worry when there's an operation. I remember getting the phone call to say everything went well afterwards, and feeling relieved to know he was fine so soon. Nobunaga wil be okay-he's coming straight home safe and sound to be with his beloved family- sending setter zen.
心配なお気持ちよくわかります。。。。。。手術の無事をわが家の~とともにお祈りしています!!!がんばれ信長くん!&ままさん♪I know how you must be family and our dog will be praying for you. Nobunaga, and Nobu's mum, keep your chin up!
ほんの数時間ですがワンコが居ない部屋が寂しかった記憶があります。ソワソワしますしね。リラックスですね^^信長くんもお迎え大喜びでしょうね^^~と応援しています!I remember the room being lonely without a dog, even just for the few hours he was away. Butterflies in your stomach, eh? Breathe deep and relax- Nobu's going to be so happy when you go and pick him up. Setter zen from me and my dog.
レナータさん、去勢手術はきっと大丈夫。  レナータさんが リラックスしてね。ノブちゃんが 安心します。

ちなみに 我が家の~は、てい毛のかみそりまけがひどくて、10日もエリカラつけてました。  なめてしまうと治りにくいものですから。その後、食欲魔犬となり  盗み喰いまで するようになりました。 とほほ やらなかったのですがね~

かわるのですね、マーキングが無くなりました。術後、一週間の辛抱です。  あっという間です。Renata, the operation is going to be okay. You keep focused and relaxed, and that way Nobu can feel safe and tranquil. In our family, there was a skin irritation from the shaving and our sweetie had to wear the Elizabethan collar for a whole ten days to stop him licking , or else it wouldn't heal...After it was all over he got so greedy, he's even started pinching food here and there (like he didn't do it before?) You know, the only thing that changes is you'll have less bother with Nobu marking his territory. It'll all be over in one week or so- time flies!
応援しています!!Sending setter zen!!
As I wait for the phone call that everything went okay, I'm praying with all my friends and the CACI family network. Thank you for all these helpful and loving messages and your prayers. We are blessed to have this warm support. Nobunaga, everything's going to be fine....
And here is my phone call, at 13:08. The operation went well and the anaesthesia is beginning to wear off, Nobu's alreadly standing up on wobbly legs :) The first phase is over :)  Now he has my pajamas with him to snuggle with until I pick him up this evening. Thank you everyone again for your heartfelt prayers. Now I'd better enjoy the quality time with Claire and take her for a run in the park on the long leash...:)


Nobu's Ordeal

Nobu says blah!

No food since 1800 brekkie for Claire either...and a morning walk round the old language college on the top of the hill, not too long, not too strenuous, so the dogs don't get thirsty because...
no water since 2100 yesterday either. It's almost scary how Nobu seems to be inured to this kind of situation,  as oppose to Claire who is clearly confused but being patient...I guess Nobu's past of being maltreated, half starved and no walkies is being revived by this short term hardship.
Anyway, time to go to Koyama sensei, our vet...let's get the show on the road...

Claire in Canola

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tosh's View

This morning Tosh took the camera on our morning walk, and here's his record of our hour long walk with the dogs. I generally take Nobu, who likes to dart hither and thither and still finds it hard to restrain his boundless curiosity and roving energy, breaking into a run now and then as I let him direct the pace of our walk. Tosh takes placid Claire, happy to be by his side until pigeons get involved, when she will freeze, stalk and point - great for photographers :)
First up, Okamura Bairin, where we head for the first leg of our walk. It's finally in full bloom: down in the hollow it gets little sun, but this year it's particularly late. The scent is gorgeous, especially this morning after the rain has washed the air clean.

Meanwhile I'm running around cleaning up poops and refilling my water bottle to continue washing away Nobu's copious markings on telegraph poles and salient corners on the way home.
We go on up to Okamura park to greet friends, exchange tidbits and let the dogs enjoy a bit of social interaction. This morning we met Dodo sensei walking two of his charges. No radio calisthenics this morning, too lazy! In spite of the intermittent drizzle yesterday I walked 12000 steps on my pedometer with the dogs, and I can feel it in my joints.
Claire and Nobu can't wait to get up into Okamura Park because that's where the pigeons are...fat, beautiful specimens lazily feeding and scratching the dirt, perfect for stalking since they don't fly off, but simply hop a few feet further away before resuming their foraging.
Claire has been an excellent mentor and role-model over the last three months: Nobu, who had absolutely no interest in birds when he first came, has become a hunter. Here's Nobu on what I think may be his first point :)

The north wind was really cold, so after a while we circle down behind Tenjin shrine via the second plum park and go back home to breakfast: a good cup of hot tea and  cheese on toast, true British style.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments: love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ides of March

I was just getting the paperwork together to take the two dogs to the Kawasaki municipal seafront dogrun at Ogishima - there's a fearful registration process with copies of both their registration and rabies dog tags, two passport style photos, an actual copy of the rabies shot papers, and a downloaded application form- and we were all set to take the dogs today to check it out, and then this: it's raining. What with all the checking of the rules and regulations I forgot to check the weather forecast.
....And now GOOGLE tells me I'm out of storage space for photos, so I can't upload any more without buying space....OMG, my beautiful dogblog...
At any rate, just before I give up today I'd like to share the link for Claire and Nobu's Pomfleece raincoat , which is soft and doesn't rustle when they walk, dries really quickly inbetween walks, is really easy to put on with snaps and elasticated drawstrings for easy adjustment, and even a button to fold up flaps for Nobu to pee. They're both wearing a size 10 because while Nobu is taller, Claire has a well-developed chest with quite some girth. I've always been annoyed the way Claire's front legs pop out and get tangled in previous raincoats when she's walking up stairs,  making her stumble and limp awkwardly. With this drawstring system to adjust length over the bum she's able to climb stairs ok (although today one back leg did pop out, so maybe I should have got her a size 9)...The dogs' pictures are also in the ToyDog store's bulletin board, where they were introduced as cocker spaniels :P I guess the setter gene pool does include spaniel heritage.

Friday, March 16, 2012


We were very lucky to be invited out in one of the boats, but the wind was too strong to go anywhere, so we just chatted and enjoyed the sun and sea air sipping coffee. Riku the dachshund is a seasoned sailor, and he and Claire were mutually at ease on the yacht.