Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tribute to Dog Trainer Dodo

I learned of his passing from another doggie friend. Dodo-sensei was an excellent trainer, who worked with me weekly in the local park, not always the same park in order to keep the dogs on their toes. He taught me how to walk heel with the dogs, communicate clearly and calmly with the dogs with verbal and hand signals, how to bond, particularly with Claire, who was used to a different type of work situation commands with her previous owner. 

 I learned how to call them to me, how to offer positive reinforcement and treats, make, sit, stay, wait, down, basic good canine citizen training, always with a gentle shy smile but a strong grounded intensity and clarity the dogs loved.
 Nobunaga particularly loved Dodo sensei, and I think it was mutual.Early August, he had been pulling on the leash, aiming for paths to Sensei's house, maybe he sensed it was a last chance to say goodbye. I am sad I've missed that chance to go and see Dodo-sensei again to thank him for all the wonderful hours he spent with me and the dogs, and all the important wisdom he imparted.
 He was not only a fantastic trainer, he also helped look after the dogs when I was busy. I felt very safe leaving them with him, he always walked them in the local park they knew, able to meet and greet the usual doggie friends and smell the familiar scents, and by the smiles on their faces in the courtesy shots he took of them, they were happy with him too.  Unfortunately with three, financially it became rather a luxury to ask him to take the dogs, so I would just meet him casually for a chat in the park as he walked the dogs he was doggie-sitting. 

He sent me a wonderful message on his message board, after I posted a picture of him training Luna. His words and spirit live on in the happy smiles of my sweet setters. Rest in peace, Dodo sensei, you are sorely missed.


このたびはClaireちゃん、信長ちゃんに続き、LunaちゃんのTraining Chanceをいただきありがとうございます。



レナータさんのブログ「Gundog Resucue  Claire」を拝見すると新しくFamiliyに加わったLunaちゃんがどれだけ大切にされているかがわかります。


レナータさんは真の「Dog Lover」ですね。いや犬だけでなく「Human Lover」だと思います。


Friday, August 28, 2015

MaerchenGoRound Licca

 Was there ever anything as adorable as a Licca doll with pink hair? Rosy cheeks and lip gloss, Licca outdoes herself for cute. She even has Nobunaga under her spell. I hate to admit it, says Claire, but she is rather adorable.

Avoiding work...

I am fortunate to have the most wonderful neighbor, who also has two rescued dachshunds and is a gifted gardener, so before heading into work, we got to chatting...nothing like a lazy chat by the roadside...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


"I suggest that the foundations of peace cannot be laid by universal prosperity, in the modern sense, because such prosperity, if attainable at all, is attainable only by cultivating such drives of human nature as greed and envy, which destroy intelligence, happiness, serenity, and thereby the peacefulness of man..."

 "It could well be that rich people treasure peace more highly than poor people, but only if they feel utterly secure -  and this is a contradiction in terms. Their wealth depends on making inordinately large demands on limited world resources and thus puts them on an unavoidable collision course- not primarily with the poor (who are weak and defenceless) but with other rich people."
 "In short, we can say today that man is far too clever to be able to survive without wisdom. No one is really working for peace unless he is working primarily for the restoration of wisdom...The hope that the pursuit of goodness and virtue can be postponed until we have attained universal prosperity and that by single-minded pursuit of wealth, without bothering our heads about spiritual and moral questions, we could establish peace on earth, is an unrealistic, unscientific, and irrational hope."
 "There can be "growth" towards a limited objective, but there cannot be unlimited, generalized growth. It is more than likely, as Gandhi said, that `Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not for every man's greed`...The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace. Every increase of needs tends to increase one's dependence on outside forces over which one cannot have control, and therefore increases existential fear. Only by a reduction of needs can one promote a genuine reduction in those tensions which are ultimate causes of strife and war." 
 A warm clean space to live, good walkies in nature, delicious healthy seasonal food, loving family, inter-species respect and love...the dogs knew it all along.

Photos by Lelantos
Source: E.F. Schumacher (1973) Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. New York, Harper Perennial pp.33-4

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crepe Myrtle

 As summer draws to a close the parks are resplendent with all shades of pink and red: crepe myrtle are in full bloom. It makes even the local walks a pleasure.
 Soon the blossoms will fall and it will be autumn...we can go to the Sea Park dogruns and also jog along the beach together once the swimming season is over...looking forward to it.
 Some local gardeners love decorating their patch in front of the house, and that too is a pleasure to enjoy as we walk past. Small, simple pleasures make for big smiles.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Granma's Little Elves

Claire and the Raccoon Dog

 The raccoon dog in the park was enjoying the hunting too, only unfortunately he's stuck in one place. Not so for bird dog Claire, who was enjoying the cool spring water from the forest...a hunting setter splashing in the stream to cool down when she wasn't nosing around for cicadas, or checking out the brushwood for cats and squirrels.
 It may not be running free in the mountains chasing partridge or quail, but for a rescued setter in the heart of the metropolis, it's a most satisfying way to spend a walkies for both Mummy and dogs. And if you can't join me as a rescued English setter or pointer owner, please think about donating to Gundog Rescue CACI to help save more of these beautiful abandoned bird dogs in Japan.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Monkey Business

I took these pictures at Maita no Mori Park, it's a bit of a secret location donated to the city 15 years ago by a private landowner, Mr. Mori. Beautiful unfrequented park with a natural spring for doggie paddling, and of course, these wonderful animal statues, only I can't seem to find the name of the artist who made them...more scenes from here tomorrow. Just hoping this blog doesn't cause it to lose its peaceful charm as the camera crews storm in...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vulpini et Canis Lupus

There's this special wee gated park near Maita station (Yokohama Subway) which only opens after 8am and closes at 6pm in summer, 5pm in winter, which is not really convenient dog walkie time: normally I aim to be back for breakfast at seven, particularly if I need to go out during the day, and in the evening a shorter walkie is easier, what with supper preparations.
 Fortunately the summer sun's intensity has let up a little and it's no longer necessary to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the cool tarmac. Makes the park a fun change of destination in our general palette of local walkies, a long day walk to explore the neighborhood.
 Whoever the artist is, they did a fantastic job, and you can really see the family resemblance in the Canidae family as the dogs and foxes blend naturally in a pack.
 The only way to get the dogs to stand around in such a tempting location (there's a wee stream, cicadas for Claire to catch, a fenced off hill of woodland beckons) is to have delicious treats to bribe them with...haven't practiced sit/stay in a while...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Seeking Enlightenment

Dropped by Shoukoku Temple (勝国寺)in Maita on a morning walk rather off my beaten track, although I've been there with Claire once before. The temple has the most amazing ancient yellow gingko trees in autumn...not quite that far on in the season yet.
 The temple gardener didn't kick me out but I'm not sure if, busy about his ways, he just didn't notice I was there with the dogs. The temple does offer graves for pets, though, so they may be setter friendly. I guess the dogs felt the calm, they were nice and quiet, well-behaved, just drinking in the wisdom.
 Claire as usual has things sussed...
 Nobunaga always takes advantage of a pause in the action to lay down, much like the sleeping statue...taking things in his stride...
 Chiaro di Luna shows great appreciation for art...the meaning of life...
...the ancient wisdom of the Orient.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ooka River

What with pain meds and antibiotics, I haven't had a very adventurous summer at all, so I thought we'd go somewhere new locally. The Ooka River is famous for cherry blossom, but in summer there's not much happening, so it's great for a wee swim. The wizened fishermen didn't seem to think so though, they wanted the river for themselves...I jumped right in too and waded around in my running shoes, up to my thighs in water with the dogs swimming around me.  I didn't get many pics, just these two, as I was afraid of losing my footing at a random tug from one of the dogs and landing splosh, mobile camera and all bottoms up in the river.
On the way home the vegetable store was opening up and I happened to see the owner throw out a melon rind with a good 1.5 cm of red fruit left on, so I begged it for the babies, split it into three and the dogs ate it, rind and all with great gusto as the store owner and kid (grandkid?) looked quizzically at the scene.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mundane Affairs

While Claire is never found anywhere other than the armchair or couch, Nobunaga is a fan of the landing...He loves to flop his body down on the wood, making a statement with the booming sound as the hollow wood reverberates like a guitar. He hooks his bum up against the back wall, his tail along the crevice, his head and front paws hang off the top of the stairs, getting the most of the cool wood on his belly and side. More times than not, he'll be dozing there until something exciting happens which requires his attention: tidbits, perhaps, as I cook, or imminent walkies. 
 Luna takes advantage of the floor rugs and covers I put down in the kitchen and the sitting room, generally somewhere near me, and if I'm lucky she'll get close and lick my feet as I'm working, but not today, alas. I like to wash them often because she's such a creamy white.
Photos by Lelantos