Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Did you know that your dog likely has a tiny beard of whiskers below its jaws? It’s actually a collection of nerves: These whiskers are called “vibrissae,” and like top-secret FBI tools, they allow your dog to investigate everything from you to your home.
The hidden power behind your dog’s vibrissae is their sensitivity. They are extremely receptive to touch. They’re designed to transmit detailed information about movement to aid your dog’s guidance and balance.

They can function as a guide when, for example, your dog walks down the hallway towards the water bowl at 2 a.m. That’s why the vibrissae are there; they let them know where their whole face is.

Your dog won’t like it if you touch or otherwise move the vibrissae. “They are highly innervated (supplied with nerves), so if they touch something or if the wind blows on them, there will be feedback to the dog’s brain,” says Debra Eldredge, DVM, of Vernon, New York, author of the Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated, 2007).

Because these hairs are so incredibly sensitive, take special care not to touch or brush one against its natural direction because that could be painful for your dog. Since these hairs are sensitive enough to detect wind flow patterns, you can imagine how painful it would be if you brushed them against their normal direction of growth. You need to literally avoid rubbing them the wrong way. Just as your nerve-filled fingertips are more sensitive than other parts of your body, your dog’s vibrissae are ultrasensitive. They’re meant to respond to minimal physical input. If you were to play with these hairs, even in jest, your dog might feel as though you pinched its face, and not in a good, pleasant way.

Read more: Your Dog\'s Secret Surveillance

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Make your own sunshine

After a grandma day yesterday...been visiting two different old people's homes, she has to move...I am low in energy and spirits, and haven't managed a walkies. A glance through FB has cheered me up, positive comments and stories from friends, and various dog pics reminded me I have two beauties at home and the best of worlds around me. Fortunately there were pigeons in the garden! So Claire is bright eyed and bushy tailed:
and Nobu is willing to make do with a pet bottle tussle. Since it's actually cooler, I'm going to drive to the park and walk round with them in an hour or so, when I'm hoping my engines will be revved and raring to go :P


Friday, August 23, 2013

Kuraki NOW

I slept like a log after driving Cato to his two week check-up, and couldn't wake up for the evening walk, so the dogs were in and out of the garden catching cicadas...This morning I drove over to the park to unleash some of that pent up energy, and they were wild! Cats being fed didn't help much. Had a nice chat with a young black lab, Jin's, owner and an English cocker spaniel, Nobu was barking and making play moves. Need to go to the dog run once the weather cools. This picture was after sploshing in the lake and Claire chasing a cat, pigeons and ducks, so the dogs are satisfied :) Heading home for a shower and watermelon, both dogs and mummy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Armchair for two?

 The expression on Claire's face was so cute, I had to snap, I got here first, aren't you going to get angry Mum? No way am I leaving the armchair for this lesser family come he doesn't understand the RULES? I mean, that Lady Claire RULES?...Vexatious...but well, maybe not so bad after all, this family cuddle up thing...too hot to get hot and bothered anyway....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A walk in Kuraki Park

Simply couldn't get up at the crack of dawn today, so around 8am I drove over to Kuraki Park with the dogs. The asphalt gets too hot for the walk there and back, particularly after nine when we'd be coming home. Met a beagle friend who kindly took this photo, before Nobu and Claire went into full hunting and splosh mode in the wetland area of the park. I got some fantastic pink and white Adizero 60% off yesterday, and am overjoyed at the results: my knee has been hurting a little lately, but these new shoes cushion well and really help cope with the sportive dog walks, as we suddenly head up slopes or into thickets, clambering among tree roots and muddy leaves. I like the way they have nubby stubble and an angle off the ball, helping roll the foot forward as I walk and helping keep my balance in the right place not to strain the knee as I try and rein in the dogs when they get overexcited and tug on the leash.
Claire found a pigeon first, and I took this shot over Nobu's back as the two dogs froze in set. She's not really too serious about this bird, it's like an hors d`oeuvre to just wet the palate before we get down to the wetlands where cats hide, and of course the duckpond...
 And in they go, just dipping the paws in the shallows and having a few gulps first, before we head on down the terraced slope to...
SPLOSH!!! and Claire always makes it look like so much fun, Nobu follows suit...
I love the way Nobu gives me the perfect smile for the camera...dogs are so zen, they really make you savor the moment, and express it so well, like a radiant energy amplifier, the halo of angels :)
After a brief encounter with a fat black and white cat, we're sploshing on down to the pond, where Claire cast around for scents and then found the ducks lounging in the near and yet so far....
Standing between the two, it's clear what they're focused on, those ducks, those ducks, THOSE IRRESISTIBLE DUCKS>>>
And in they went, only to swim around achasing the ducks as far as the leash would allow, poor Claire, she'd never come out otherwise, I'd have to wade in and get her back! Too busy to get the swimming Olympic shots though...
These two summer smiles just say it all, the essence of summer holidays :)


Monday, August 12, 2013

05 22 am

Feeling rather proud I managed to get up early...fortunately it was cooler this morning, and Nobu insisted we make it over to Kuraki park for a long walk. There are quite a few cat haunts on the way: Nobu and Claire go into point and set, but they've learned not to chase after the cat, and Nobu seems satisfied that I praise him for finding me a cat, and is willing to come away after some prolonged setting. Claire gets overexcited faster, and runs wildly in circles to let it out, but we get to the park eventually, and they splash in the pond and streams to cool down. Since it's still excruciatingly hot even in the evenings after five or six, the evening walk is perforce shorter, so we indulged, 7413steps on my pedometer, no wonder I wanted breakfast and a shower when we got home :)

 I love the woods in the park myself, and the dogs' exhilaration is catching, hither and thither, up steps and into brushwood, dodging bushes and catching scents in the long grass. Today we went round anticlockwise, along the edge of the coppice by the children's fort with a quick splash in the terraced reeds, behind the greenery out round the edge of the park, a first, and at Nobu's behest, then up the imposing main entrance staircase with barrier free slopes to the promenade, and then onto the new jogging path circling the far side of the park, where this picture was taken. After completing the semicircle round the perimeter, we looped back for a drink in the new kid's playground, disturbing two crows who were paddling at the drinking fountain, and sauntered on to the elm tree coppice to look for cats, pigeons and squirrels. Claire decided to climb up into the woods again, and we bounded round in the cool morning air before slowly exiting down the steepest track to the terraced rushes. A quick splosh in the stream at the foot of the hill, Nobu hesitating to jump in from the rocks, and then making the move as Claire wandered up and down in the muddy channel, a splash through the edge of the pond where the scent of cats seems to linger, and then one loop round the pond to dip again, disturbing the waterlilies and carp on the far side, before I insisted we make tracks for home as I could feel my energy begin to dissipate.

Friday, August 9, 2013

2 years to the day

Claire's been with us for two full years now, and what happy years they have been, full of wonderful memories: rushing around the dog runs, snoring on the sofa, going for trips to Nasu, Chiba and Yamanashi, making so many new special doggie friends along the way. Feeling blessed with this little angel of love in our home, a forever friend and beloved darling.