Monday, August 29, 2016

Nobu with Licca

 Morning walkies through rainy streets, and then Mummy spent most of the day making a new dress from silk kimono scraps for Licca...She and Nobu get along like a house on fire.... 
 Afternoon walkies we caught a sunny interlude before hunkering down as the approaching typhoon brings rain and stormy winds...I was thinking when dogs lie sleeping and doing nothing we humans care to understand, they are probably weaving healing and binding spells to protect the house and keep the mood gentle. To wit, people with dogs are reputedly healthier and happier...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Princess Licca

Nothing like a red princess dress made with bits and bobs, Licca is ready for a ball and Claire is her lady in waiting...let me whisper in your ear about my prince, she says...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Setter Resilience

 I signed up for a free September webinar (at least I think it's free) on the topic of resilience in dogs offered by the ASPCA with Patricia McConnell. I love her posts and blogs and they always keep me thinking...According to the invitation to the webinar 
"A hot topic in psychology right now is resilience—the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy or even significant sources of stress. 
We know that there are ways to increase a person’s resilience, but what about the dogs we work with who are stressed or traumatized, who have lost their families or homes, or been victims of abuse or neglect? What can we learn from human psychology and ongoing work treating traumatized dogs to help dogs in our care recover from their past and become more resilient?"
 Sherlock has been with us four months to the day...he's begun to hold his pee and go outside, although some days we regress, and my futon has been christened twice now...particularly on a day when I am tired and neglect to fold it up and out of the way immediately I get up. The barking too is less strident, less hysterical, and while not entirely gone, it's just within bearable limits. I close the door to the hall so he can't go barrelling down it at night to investigate intruders that go bump in the night...and that seems to make it easier for him to come back to me and settle down again more quickly. 
 Back to the topic of resilience, but I do think Sherlock has had very little exposure to all kinds of outside situations: he knew about kong toys and being hit during training, but very litle else.  I think it's safe exposure to new things that builds resilience, and I think safe is the key word. So today I took him along to the local Japanese bon festival dancing...the drumbeats, the people milling around, the kids, the smells of delicious grilled food, all so new and confusing. We sat down on the edge of it all with a view of the square stage with the grannies dancing above and the children in their gaudy festival kimonos dancing round, and Nobunaga and Claire even lay down to relax and watch the world go by, Claire behind me as she's not much of a socialite, and Nobunaga sprawled belly-up in front, inviting the kids to come and say hello. Sherlock jumped with the drumbeats, and the clapping, the patting of round summer fans, the wild teenagers thundering by on their motorbikes, but with all of us sitting down and lounging around and me constantly reassuring him with pats and fondling his ears, he took it all in his stride, and even settled down to sit at one point. YES! Building resilience and healing, confidence and knowledge, all an integral part of a happy rescue.
Photos by Lelantos

Monday, August 15, 2016


A huge shout out to CACI Gundogrescue for bringing this beautiful setter into our lives having rescued her from the pound. Right now she's in the garden getting fat snacking on cicadas after our hour-long morning walkies and a great breakfast of kibble, tofu, chopped beansprouts, grated carrot and salmon oil. She crunches up the cicadas with such relish, it makes me want to go out and buy spicy Don Tacos corn snacks. 
Five happy years...let's hope there are five more to come...Claire is our way of contributing something positive after the Tohoku disaster, since we decided to adopt her after seeing all the footage of abandoned animals needing help after 3/11. She's from Ibaragi, although she was actually abandoned just before the earthquake. I am reminded by her presence in a good way that things are not finished up north, however blessed we may be in this neck of the woods.
Photos by Lelantos

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Setter Ballet

 As Sherlock grows and expands in every way he seems such a changed setter, and when I have the luck to walk behind him and see him pirouette and leap with his long slim legs and supple body, so graceful and unassuming, like a natural Sergei Polunin...defying gravity, flirting with the air spirits, dancing to an aeolian harp, I feel elated and blessed, witnessing the miracle of his being.
This healing has been such a frustrating, hyper and trying process, the past three months have been so intense, ready to jump for peewees, respond to barking, soothe nerves morning, evening and night...I'm exhausted. The good news is, the peewees in the garden is finally working, the fur shedding seems to have somewhat abated, the barking is somewhat under control, and everyone's settling in to the feel of each other slowly but surely. 
Photos by Lelantos

Monday, August 8, 2016


Yokohama and Kyoto...hope to go there some time again this year...
Photos by Lelantos