Sunday, January 15, 2017

Compassion Fatigue

Reading through the signs of burnout in Psychology Today I realized I'm pretty washed out, have been for a wee while...and waking up this morning realizing I don't have the slightest inclination to dance and don't seem to hear/feel the music any more has been weird. Perhaps it's the strain of helping Sherlock settle in and calm down, the stress of his overexcited barking which he heroically tries to control, but which he is still not quite able to suppress when he's happy. While the varied joyous events of the day like food, treats and walkies are plentiful, the barking is also still rather plentiful. Now he's settling down, though, I guess I can relax a bit more and realize how tiring it has all been.

I am of course very good at disguising it, but there's no denying it, I'm in a rip tide. Fortunately the universe via FB sent me a fantastic helpful article, Be Well, Do Good, on how to rest well and restore myself: of course I pray, I am juicing, having aroma-oil baths and seeing a massage therapist, but finding these sagacious tips has been quite serendipitous.

  1. Use TV/YouTube with discrepancy...as with a good book, I get voracious and devour episode after episode, which actually leaves me more tired and headache-prone than before. Noticing eye-strain and switching off has got to be one of my resolutions this year.
  2. Enjoy reading magazines or light reading. Hmmm, wonder if I should subscribe to National Geographic...recycling the paper seems like too much effort, but rereading books I enjoyed and looking at my old knitting magazines without feeling I have to act may be a good thing to try.
  3. I'm going to set up a list of things I'm looking forward to this year: reading over the blog here is my way of savoring and refreshing myself, giving thanks for all the wonderful outings and walkies over the years, but indeed, a gently forward-looking bent may be a good idea now I'm so flat.
  4. Using senses to stay present is what I love, choosing color and fabrics to wear every morning, loving the smell of cinammon and ginger in my tea...
  5. Stretching so you don't snap: I guess the dancing is about drawing yourself up and extending your aura, being powerful, strong and beautiful, but right now I just need to gently feel where my body is at and soothe the aches...wonder if I can find a friendly yoga course close by.
  6. And say no to things, invitations, requests, social events I'm not really interested in, say no to helping out, even say no to the extra doggie event, like the ebbing tide, pulling back to recharge batteries and get ready for a fresh wave of love and life.
Photos by Lelantos

Friday, January 13, 2017

Exemplary Pet Owner


I got a surprise letter from the Yokohama Veterinary Association saying I had been nominated by my vet, Dr. Koyama for an honorary award, the exemplary pet owner. I was on my way out for a nice long walkies round Kuraki Park, so I glanced over the letter and off I went, feeling quite chuffed.

The short award ceremony will take place together with a talk by Manabu Miyazaki, an animal photographer who will focus on wild animals in human environments in Japan, with the title "I'm not scared of you humans". It looks like we won't have a chance to get up on stage though, just be there and watch, so there may not be much opportunity to spread the word about CACI Gundog Rescue, the plight of pointers and setters in Japan, and the need for microchips. 
Reasons for the award are 

  • someone who has many years of owning a pet with exemplary behavior
  • positive welfare management of the pets including preventative care and veterinary consultations 
  • eldercare and responsible caring for dogs with physical handicaps or trauma
  • other

I'd like to reframe those criteria according to the latest 2016 model of the Five Freedoms, updated to Five Provisions by Professor David Mellor, with all the info about it at a Companion Animal Psychology post
Reproduced from Mellor (2016) under Creative Commons licence
Okay, well, 
1: each dog has their own drinkie bowl replenished with filtered water morning and evening, and during walkies I carry a portable water bowl and we stop at park faucets along the way for drinks as we go, which is particularly important in summer, I guess. Nutrition is a good dog food (not the most expensive, but recommended by a Georgia vet and setter breeder) supplemented with home-cooked vegie soups and grated vegies, fish and meat.
2: pics of the dogs on the sofa say it all, methinks...they not only have their own wee houses for privacy indoors, they have the human spaces too!
3:Of course we visit the vet regularly (those babies have had more bloodwork done than Mummy!). What I like about my vet Dr Koyama is that we think about QOL and hospice care at the end of a rich life, not last-ditch invasive surgery.
4 and 5 kind of speak for themselves if you glance over my blog back posts, babies waiting for brekkies so maybe later.
Just dashing off that I think continued reading up about your dog, and basic canine citizen dog training are essential. If it's exemplary, I guess it's what everyone should be doing, so you could argue it's not really worth getting an award for, but on the other hand, things like blogging here, and adopting rescued dogs make me feel proud and happy to be included. Thank you Yokohama Veterinary Association and Dr. Koyama for the honour.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sherlock the Protector

The babe arrived fast asleep, so we put him straight to bed...whereupon Sherlock jumped up and settled in to protect him...
 ...dreaming fast and deep, the wain stretches out to warm his feet at the fire? Or wander on a lawn of soft new grass...or paddle in the warm shallows at the beach?
It's all good, says Sherlock, I'm here for you....

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Day of Christmas

 While Christmas in Japan seems to disappear on the 25th, the New Year is of course part of the Christmas season...and so a final chance to celebrate the season of love and cheer with my babies. 
 Walkies in the offing, so not a long blog, but just love the laid back relaxed mood when everyone chills on the sofa and armchairs...
 The shrine is the closest place to pray for serendipity, peace and blessings, not a big stickler for where I pray, just make sure I do!
Tenjin Shrine photo by Rui

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Counter surfing and Garbage

I really enjoy reading Companion Animal Psychology as it pops up in my Facebook newsfeed, always food for thought. This time they shared a tongue-in-cheek blog posting titled Canine Criminality, which in my pre-tea morning fog, I understood to be about dogs scavenging in the garbage when unsupervised, and how, or how not to deal with it/ allow it in the first place. I found it most confusing, and wasn't sure what exactly the message was, but in a nutshell, it seems, as Candice Gray was kind enough to comment: "The primary method implied here is management - don't leave garbage anywhere the dog can get to it, or don't allow the dog to roam the house unsupervised."
I like my rescued setters roaming free in the house, and while we have crates (part of the rescue contract on getting the dog from CACI Gundog Rescue), I mainly have the dogs there for feeding and to use as their space at will, not as a place to cage them when I am out. Sherlock, when he came, completely freaks out in cages, seemingly panicked and claustrophobic, peeing wildly and barking uncontrollably, so again, the free roam part was a must with him. He's better now after eight months, it's his safe delicious feeding spot, albeit with the door comfortably open, haven't pushed his limits further for the time being- but that's another story.
Anyway, the not leaving garbage anywhere the dog can get to it...
I love the garbage hanging off my kitchen counter, two or three bags, so I can easily separate plastic recyclables, paper, bottles and rawer stuff.  A pain to keep up and down with it every time I leave the room. So, to my mind, the dogs had to learn to leave it, and they do, but I can't quite remember how  I achieved this. 
During walkies I was thinking about this and when I got home, I commented: 
"One thing that really worked for me, upon reflection, was declaring the kitchen counter and all things pertaining including the trash hanging there, as mine, by shoving my bootie in the dogs' noses when they got too close, or bumping them away with a sideswipe of my hips- picture me dancing back and forth along the counter like a typewriter head ready to do a bum's up at a moment's notice for a couple of weeks when they arrive. Can't remember whose fantastic tip this was....maybe Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.?" 
I couldn't keep Sherlock from biting open bags of kibble when I get a fresh stock, so there indeed I use the management technique with kibble in a flip lid plastic bin, and a tray upright against it to clatter and fall if he gets too close, and other unopened kibble in the broom closet and counter cabinets, which touch wood is working this last half year. However, the garbage, it seems, is MINE!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year of the Nesting Hen, the Cockerel and the wee Cheeping Chickens...
a year to enjoy hatching our eggs and feathering the nest in ways that make us happy and fulfilled.
Sherlock Holmes, rescued by Gundog Rescue CACI, is now an integrated member of the family after eight months, enjoying walkies and good food, not to mention loving human-canine interaction.

Both of us a bit blinded by the brilliant sunlight in this new Year, but hoping it holds more great things in store for all of us, may peace and blessings abound.
Photos by Lelantos

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dog Cafe Anjin Renewal Open

Unfortunately for personal reasons the cafe is taking it slow in 2017, so if you plan on going you need to phone and consult about make a reservation at least 3 days in advance. Thank you for your consideration.
After a five year hiatus, my local dog cafe, Anjin,
 has reopened, and such a wonderful place it is to hang out with the dogs, especially if I didn't have time for a long afternoon walkies.
 
Below is a special L size doggie plate which I share between the setters, always seasonal and of course hand made with loving care. 
The owner has two dachshund babies of her own, and over the years they are quite friendly with my sweeties, so they all sit happily together to attention for extra treats. Since it was only us, I can let the dogs run free in the room, they know not to enter the kitchen. While there is ample space for three or four big dogs, there's also a verandah to space out and relax for bigger parties of big dogs too.

 Hard to guess which is the doggie plate and which is the human plate, right? No wonder the dogs always try to go even when it's just walkies.
 This is my favorite human dish so far, tomato salad with anchovies and Spanish bread, just plain delish. The spare rib meal looks scrumptious too and reasonable at the price..
So here's the flyer, and blip me on FB or Line if you're in the neighborhood, I'll be happy to come along too!