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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

We love the girls! Our rescue dogs have been with us for three and a half weeks now and are completely at home, sitting on the step right outside the dining room window, waiting to be fed, waiting to be walked, but most of all waiting to be petted. These girls love attention!

They're a mother-daughter pair. The mother is Leda, and the daughter is Elenora (names given by the elderly British founder of the animal rescue organization, Animal Refuge Kansai, one of the first if not the first such establishment in Japan). As I mentioned in my last blog, our girls were part of a big group of strays (34) roaming the mountains of north Kobe, in danger of being rounded up to be taken to the dog pound and certain death, but saved at the last minute when the man who was feeding them heard about the shelter and called for help. We know little about the girls' early life, but the man who was feeding all those dogs must have been a sweet dog-loving soul because our girls love people, and by all accounts about the other dogs in the group, all were affectionate, adoptable, and adorable. We don't know whether Leda (mother) was born in the wild, but we know that daughter Elenora (approximate age of 9) was, as the construction worker was able to give that information. The rescue took place when Elenora was about three years old, and both dogs then spent the next six years at the shelter as roommates, being as cute as they could be in appearance but barking at shelter visitors looking to adopt. When we were led to their kennel one day recently, however, they did not bark but wagged their tails and were excited and happy when we entered their space. It was love at first sight, and we are so amazed and thrilled our girls waited for us until we were able to go get them.

And now they are part of our family and bringing us joy every day. Taking care of them has greatly improved my daughter Kana's spirits. Because I have a busy work schedule at the moment and the dogs are still strong and vigorous and refuse to be walked separately, it would be hard for me to take them by myself with my reduced mobility due to arthritis. Kana must be the one to take them for walks, and she has really fulfilled her duties with energy and enthusiasm. She hopes to work at the shelter herself someday and has been asked to do some translating work for them, from Japanese to English.

Dogs (or cats, if you're a cat lover) are one of God's most precious gifts to humans. I'm grateful for the feeling our new fur balls have brought to me. In fact, I feel like a child again, sitting on the back step watching them play, or throwing their toys to be fetched. We loved our perfect 16-year-old Joey dearly and are still grieving his loss. We know he loved us, too, and tried hard to stay in the world in order to delay our bereavement, but in the end, last year in early September, we all knew it was his time to go. The morning after he died, I found a beautiful purple flower blooming unexpectedly in our garden and saw it as a sign of his love for us and ours for him. And now we think he had something to do with the fact that our girls did not bark at us when we approached their enclosure at the shelter where we had also met him when he was a puppy and brought him home, too. Just as Joey had picked us out all those years ago, our girls welcomed us with excitement and joy, as if we had known each other forever. It was a match made in Heaven, and we are so blessed.

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