Monday, July 24, 2017

Positive Rehabilitation for Dogs from Hoarding: Japan Perspectives

Gundog Rescue CACI have a lot of experience with rescuing dogs from hoarding situations here in Japan...over the past years: From July 2012 they have helped save a group of 30 odd huskies hoarded by a retiring breeder, followed by a group of 8 setters from a hoard in Fukushima, and most recently in July 2016 a hoarded group of 15 large pointers, some of which are still being retrained by CACI and looking for a furever home even as I type. And now this year the collaboration on the 70+ beagle mixes...

It's not just heroic CEO Rie Kaneko negotiating sensitively with a very particular type of owner to have the dogs handed over and neutered; the all volunteer clean-up crews are intense, shoveling through multi-layered dirt-dried feces, scrubbing floors and encrusted cages so that neutered dogs return to a somewhat more sanitary environment before they can be ultimately rescued: it's happening Wednesday 26th 10am in Edogawa Ward if you want to volunteer: fill out the Alma Tokyo Tierheim form or contact CACI. Wear a mask, bring rubber gloves and be prepared to throw away your clothes and shoes afterwards.

The third stage of solving a hoarding situation is the mental care and re-homing of the dogs. The long-term commitment and financial burden can bankrupt an NGO...please donate to CACI : Mitsui Sumitomo Bank. 
口座名:三番瀬の犬達基金 (Account Name: Sanbanse No Inutachi Kikin)
 支店名:亀戸支店(店番:254) (Branch No.254)
 普通預金口座番号:2050095 (Account No. 2050095) 
They were already short of funds to renew the lease on the shelter property before this 70+ beagle mix hoarding situation cropped up. 

Since Lady Claire was rehabilitated at the CACI shelter before adoption, both my setter babies have come straight from the pound, so fostering a hoarding dog is going to be a first for me. They need sensitive loving support to help with the PTSD: a positive, gentle and patient retraining experience is a must. I've found some very helpful US sites, in particular a step-by-step hoarding-specific resource at Best Friends and a longer behavioral insights article at BARk magazine. Having got this far, it's time for lunch...more soon!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hoarding Dogs: Japan, US, Germany, Australia

Currently my English setter rescue Gundog Rescue CACI is collaborating with Alma Tokyo Tierheim to rescue some 70 odd beagle mixes in dire conditions from a hoarding in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo. 
The rescue of dogs from hoarding situations is not restricted to Japan...according to an August 2014 Independent article, this mental health problem is not yet widely documented or studied globally. 
Up to 2,000 new cases are estimated to appear every year in the US. And this is likely to be an underestimate, because...only very severe cases are identified.
I confirmed it's still a burning issue in the US: a June 12th 2017 Fox News article reports on mental health counselling in the case of 170 Yorkshire Terrier mixes rescued from an elderly (male 72; female 62) hoarding couple in San Diego: 
As part of their plea agreement, the defendants won’t face additional custody, but will have to undergo counseling, will not be allowed to own any pets and will transfer title of a 31-foot motorhome to the Humane Society as restitution in the case. 
And it happens in Europe: Statistics from the German Animal Welfare Federation Du und das Tier Magazine February 2017 article labelled Animal Hoarding: Love of animals out of control reports 117 cases over 3 years from 2012 with 9,000 animal victims, which may be the tip of the iceberg.
Alleine vom Jahr 2012 bis September 2015 registrierte der Deutsche Tierschutzbund 117 Animal-Hoarding-Fälle, in denen rund 9.000 Tiere betroffen waren. Die Dunkelziffer liegt weitaus höher.
Both this German article, which reports on a hoarding rescue of 155 dogs (originating from a pack of 20 dogs rescued from laboratory testing in Spain), and an Australian associated press article from January 25th 2017 show that dog hoarding is a recurring problem: 
A NSW woman who kept 43 cats and 31dogs in "the worst hoarder conditions" an RSPCA officer had ever encountered has been sentenced to one month in jail... Hicks had previously been convicted of 83 animal cruelty charges in Queensland in 2008, said the RSPCA. (my italics)
German national daily Welt mentions the relapse-prone repetitive nature of animal hoarding in a 2014 article in its Psychology and Mental Health section.  
A glance at Wikipedia on Animal Hoarding confirms that there seems to be a strong mental health component here, and that offenders are relapsing, as was the case here in Japan with the Edogawa Ward 70 beagle mix hoarding rescue currently in progress.

In other words, to help hoarding humans stop from a mental health perspective, mandatory psychological and therapeutic counselling seems called for. At the same time consistent and persistent long-term follow-up by the authorities seems to be particularly important, even the key, to combat repeat hoarding offences. The above examples mention that owners are loath to let people in to the home, and loath to give up all the animals...potentially creating a repetitive loop in a never-ending cycle of abuse. All animals from a hoarding must be neutered even if the owner wishes to keep one or two. Meanwhile the costs of spaying and rescuing so many dogs is prohibitive: owners should be billed in some way if they are at all financially able.

There's a wonderful article by Jessica Hekman in Bark magazine on how to help the dogs...read it now, or else I'll talk about it at a later date here in the blog, perhaps in tandem with my new foster Beagle mix when she arrives. 
Mindblowing. It has to stop!

Summer hunting

It's a hard life for a cicada in the metropolis...first there's the cats, then there's crows, and in the garden, there's a couple of English setters hunting for a snack...
...Claire and Sherlock are happily delving into the underbrush to find a tasty bite, scrunching with great gusto on empty husks if the bugs themselves have flown.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hoarding foster: Help!

Sherlock may soon have to act like a big brother: there's been a horrific rebound hoarding case in Tokyo with 70 dogs living in the most vile and unsanitary conditions in a private breeder's house. Gundog Rescue CACI is collaborating with another rescue to pull the mainly beagle mixes, and they have to be rescued speedily as none of them are spayed or neutered...I've offered to foster a wee girl just to help out with the numbers and move her out of the situation, so keep your eyes peeled for more info here, and if you're a Yokohama\Tokyo local and want a wee beagle cutie, this is your chance! Once she's been rescued she'll be spayed, de-wormed and get her first set of jags, so it'll be a week or so before she arrives...pics and info soon!
Dogs from severe hoarding have to be rehabilitated before they can be re-homed with a family. According to a 2016The BARk article by Dr. Karen London :
Dogs from hoarding situations were more fearful and more sensitive to touch than the control dogs. They showed more behavior associated with attachment, attention-seeking and separation anxiety. They exhibited a greater frequency of urination and defecation when left alone, destructive chewing, submissive urination and repetitive behaviors.
Dogs rescued from hoarding situations were less trainable and less aggressive. They were less likely than the control dogs to be overly excitable or energetic. They had a lower probability of being persistent barkers, of chasing small animals, or of exhibiting rivalry for resources with other dogs. 
I'm hoping we'll be able to nurse the sweetie back to health and happiness, teach them about walkies and leash, heel, sit and come, general house behavior and peewees rules, and find a good understanding furever family...This time a foster failure is not on the cards, I'm a setter Mama pure and simple, but I'm willing to lend a hand in times of need. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Freshly washed setter

Poor old Claire was wriggling upended on the carpet, writhing and cavorting around last night which I thought was very funny, only when I brushed her out this morning after walkies, I discovered those telltale little black dots in her fur: shock horrors, flea poopies! My natural approach lemon eucalyptus essential oil spray apparently only goes so far!
Off to the shower we go, first Claire, then Sherlock, and I changed all the towels on the settee for good measure, hoovered bedding, washing the kilim rug and orange floor blanket as I type...with this intense heat and sunshine, fortunately it should all dry by nightfall. 
I don't have the time to do all this, I've got grading on my plate...yikes! But fleas cannot wait, they're exponential. It's worth it so see my babies' clean contentment as they dry off, drowsy fluffy setters. Nobunaga has had a dose of Frontline, I can wash him in a couple of days...
Thinking about exponential, or a stitch in time saves nine mentality, economists talk about the hyperbolic discount rate, where stitching now is too much bother: people discount future satisfaction, choosing lazy happiness now, the future being too far away...Economists see this motivational tendency, to take the easy way out, the delight now, as particularly prevalent in the poor...
"The right wing formula- defending freedom of choice at the front end, combined with massive punishments at the back end- thus amounts in practice to little more than kicking people after they're down. The left-wing formula of education, social work, and other "talking cures" feels less coercive, but in practice tends simply to make people more aware of how badly they are screwing up. What people with highly exaggerated discount functions need is a restructuring of incentives, in order to facilitate more effective strategies of self-control."
Source:Joseph Heath (2009) Economics without Illusions. Broadway Books p.270
We all procrastinate though, in our own ways and at different times... vicariously experiencing contentment through my setter babies is such a satisfying way to motivate myself to get on with it now! do the job! and snuggle on the couch with them later.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Morning setter, evening setter

 "Getting stuck in a particular way of understanding the world - whatever it is - is the cause of three major human diseases...The first one is seriousness....If you decide that you want do something, fine, but getting serious about it will only blind you and get in your way.
Being right, or certain, is the second disease. Certainty is where people stop thinking and stop noticing. Any time you feel absolutely certain of something, that's a sure sign that you have missed something....The third disease is importance, and self-importance is the worst of all...Importance is a great way to justify being mean and destructive, or doing anything else that's unpleasant enough to need justification...
 "Years ago some people figured out that you could suck creepy gooey black liquid out of the ground and burn it in lamps. Then they figured out how to burn it in a big steel box and roll it all over the place. You can even burn it in the end of a tube and send the tube to the moon. But that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to do those things..."
Source: Richard Bandler (1985) Using your Brain for a Change Real People Press

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cha-cha Queen

Went for my first dance class after a six month hiatus at Dance Zone Murakami with my beloved Kent-sensei and had a fantastic time choosing music, getting back into the feel and taking home a renewed awareness of my body and core...the cha-cha beat should get me back in shape...physically and mentally! I was getting guilty about leaving the dogs and exercising myself, but a renewed interest in dancing in the kitchen is not to be sneered at. Nobunaga particularly likes the music, and maybe I can get Sherlock interested in the moves.
I was very fortunate to get a hand-me-down black and pink fringe dress which fits me perfectly. I've been adding extra Swarovski crystals for even more sparkle and it helps me get in the mood! Sherlock is sporting the accessories which I probably won't be using, the black net shoulder hugging neckline is perfect without the distraction. Handing down and reusing clothes, rescuing dogs, that's the way it should be: waste not, want not!