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Mini-Me x 2

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Monday, January 20, 2020

For my daughter Kana, who suffers from chronic depression, Joey's death in September was probably like what it would have been for me to lose a child. It was hard to keep Kana in the world for a while. All her waking time was spent wanting to die to hurry up and be with Joey, or wanting to save all the unwanted and abandoned dogs in Japan. She wanted to do impossible things like drive to a famous faraway place where dogs are often abandoned and save them ALL from being captured and euthanized. She read articles on the Internet, vowed to buy a crate, go to Kyushu on the train (because she lacks confidence in her driving skills) and rescue at least one or two strays. She became infuriated by the unforgivable pet owners who abandon dogs in the wild and obsessed by the bold amateurs in Japan who make dog rescue their mission. She wanted to join their ranks. Every day she had a new plan that would have required help or money from me, and all the while I kept on having to go to work and maintain the house. I would try hard to think of ways to assuage Kana's grief that didn't involve journeying to distant places and fighting unwinnable fights with the authorities. That activism can come later, I said to her, but for now why don't we just go volunteer at the shelter where we adopted our first two dogs, and maybe we could someday adopt another one who needs a forever home?

So we made the drive a few times in the months after Joey died. I was assigned to Kennel 1 and Kana to Kennel 2. We scrubbed the kennels and took the dogs for walks on the rocky mountain paths, all the while keeping our hearts open to whichever might be the right one for us. Most of the dogs, though, seemed either too scared or too old. The scared ones wouldn't come out of their houses, or they would bark at us out of fear, while the old ones were sweet and cute but the white hair on their snouts made me think I was not quite ready to go through so soon with a new dog what we had just been through with Joey.

One day we felt we should go ahead and make a decision. We told the shelter staff that the next time we came, we would like to choose our new family member. We made a list of candidates that we had walked, including two very scared ones and two very old ones, just to be fair, and we spent time with those dogs. They were all nice. Though the scared ones were very hard to walk, I knew that Kana is good with dogs and would most likely be able to train them to walk properly. But we couldn't feel much of a connection with any we had walked, so when the staff member asked us back at the office which one we would like to adopt, I gave a name, but I had no confidence in our choice. Then another staff member came in and said that a pair of dogs had just come back from their walk, and it was a pair we had not yet met on any of our trips over there, and would we like to meet them? I was pretty exhausted and didn't feel like going back to the kennels, but then I thought I might later wonder about the two dogs we had declined to meet, so off we went one more time and--it was love at first sight!

Their names are Leda and Elenora (named by the British woman who founded the shelter). They were two of a group of 34 dogs running free in the mountains near Kobe. A man working at a construction company nearby had been feeding them, and of course the dogs had multiplied quickly, until hikers started telephoning the city office, and the city office warned the man that if the dogs were not removed within three days, they would be captured and euthanized. And thank goodness the animal-lover man was able to find out about and call the shelter which immediately launched a massive rescue mission, forming a convoy of vehicles filled to bursting with dog crates, leashes, harnesses, treats, etc. (There's blog with photos about this rescue mission.) All thirty-four of the dogs were captured and taken to the shelter, where they have received excellent veterinary care, good nutrition, and human attention. Of the 34 dogs captured six years ago, only four remain, and we will be adopting the two--a mother/daughter pair--we were shown that day we were almost too tired to go and see.

Why were these lovely girls in the shelter for six long years while their siblings were being adopted left and right? Perhaps it was because, according to Matsuo-san, our guide at the shelter, every time any potential owner came to their kennel, they would erupt in barking and people would hesitate to enter and interact, but when Kana and I appeared, they greeted us with polite expressions and wagging tails. We took this as a sign, in addition to the fact that Leda has this charming way of trying to make you pet her by reaching out and gently touching your arm repeatedly, that maybe these girls were meant to be with us. Unwise as it may have been for that construction company worker to feed dogs in the mountains, he did a pretty good job of instilling trust in all those strays.These two girls get along well with each other, too. Leda, the mother, is more outgoing and loves attention, while Elenora stays in her doghouse (just like Kana!) and comes out only when she knows you can be trusted. Kana and I will both have a mini-me!

The shelter did DNA testing on some of the mountain dogs and found that they are a mixture of chow-chow, Shiba, husky, Akita, spitz, and others I can't remember right now. Whatever their ancestry is, I'm just glad they'll now have a new last name--ours!

Here they are in their kennel at the shelter. They'll soon have a big yard to tear up!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a wonderful journey you took upon yourself to help your daughter
    233 days ago
    Wow! What a story! I do sense a spiritual, divine hand in this - something magical and precious.

    I'm so happy you have matching dogs. How glorious for your daughter to be given this focus for her enormous compassion.
    372 days ago
    424 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    426 days ago
    What a beautiful story! It is so amazing and sweet that Kana was able to help dogs that were once living in the wild, out on a mountain. You have a really wonderful, helpful girl! And so are you! You're both amazing!

    emoticon on the two beautiful additions to your family!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    429 days ago
    Just saw this blog, Carolyn.

    Oh how wonderful you adopted this mother/daughter duo. They look so sweet.
    You and Kana are awesome!


    429 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/13/2020 10:22:53 PM
    Just saw your blog. So happy you are all happy with your new fur babies. Hope they are working out well. We rescued a sm female dog. She came from a house of hoarders. Not sure what her life was like but she's adapting well. Hope all is good for you and that you are all healthy.
    432 days ago
    OMG this is so incredibly awesome! I love love love this news. It is so hard to adopt after the loss of a pet, especially one you've had as long as Joey. Yet - here it happened. Your story is similar to mine, adopting our girls. I swore I wouldn't get a cat again so soon, but kind of got obsessed with at least looking. I had about given up hope and decided I'd stop for awhile, and the folks at the shelter (who now knew me because I was in there all the time..) said there were a couple that just came in. I met Taffy and Trinket right away, Taffy came busting out of the cage at me and when I found out they were a bonded pair, that was it. They have blessed my life in so many ways. Your new dogs are so beautiful and I hope they bring you and your daughter lots of joy. Hugs Carolyn
    441 days ago
  • _BABE_
    Love that you rescued these two girls.
    I might have mentioned I follow this Instagram account who hikes with dogs from local shelters in the hopes they will find their forever home. I love how she highlights their personality amidst the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and allows people to see they are good dogs who just need a chance. So happy you adopted these two together.


    Instagram: trailsandbears
    446 days ago
    I was THRILLED to read about your new babies! And isn't it the BEST that they are mother and daughter...you can't miss the duplication between you and your dear Kana! I'm SO happy you pushed yourself to go see them and that they were polite and quiet when you went to visit them! They probably had a premonition that you were their forever family and they wanted to be on their best behavior to convince you and Kana it was the right choice.

    Carolyn you always fill my heart with joy and this little blog just made me smile...real big like! emoticon
    448 days ago
    Just spotted your blog - how could I have missed it!
    Your new family members look lovely, that’s wonderful news for you and Kana.
    I look forward to reading more about them once you get them home.
    449 days ago

    oh my gosh, Carolyn, how wonderful !!!!!!
    449 days ago
    i love this blog ... I'm excited for your new family to arrive .. awesome
    451 days ago
    Oh Carolyn,
    I am so happy that you have found not only one but two fur babies to love and give your warm and loving home and arms to.
    Joey will always be in your hearts but Leda and Elenora can fill the empty space in your hearts with a renewed love.
    I am so happy for you and Kana.

    Hugs Susan emoticon
    451 days ago
    What a lovely story, and what a lovely match up with you and your daughter. They are beautiful.
    452 days ago
    You and daughter are wonderful people. Thank you for rescuing those beautiful dogs. emoticon
    452 days ago
    Carolyn, you know I know exactly how Kana was feeling in those early days following Joey's death, and for me, it wasn't something that took a few weeks, but a couple years to go through the complete grieving process. Now, I do think back on Sammy and mostly only smile, instead of feeling sad. There are a few moments from his life that can creep up and hurt me, but they come around very rarely.

    And Carolyn! Your girls!!! They are so pretty. I love Japanese dogs. Shiba Inus and Spitzes are so, so pretty. I'm so happy for all of you to get to know each other!
    452 days ago
    I don't know why you aren't on my friend's feed, I ran into this blog by sheer magic. You know how I feel about rescuing dogs and to read that you and your daughter had rescued TWO, well that just made my day! I hope they will bring you as much joy as Bernie has given me...be patient and remember, it takes about 6 months for the new rescues to trust and feel totally at home. You are the BEST! ;o)
    453 days ago
    They look like sweet dogs. Enjoy them. emoticon
    453 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    Oh they are beautiful!!! So happy for you and your daughter that you found the perfect dogs to add to the family, and so happy for the two dogs that they found a forever home! Wishing you many years of happiness!
    453 days ago
    They are beautiful! Just adorable! Lucky them you found them. Thank you for sharing!!!

    453 days ago
    What a wonderful story. It is always so heart breaking to loose a beloved pet, they do become our very best friends. My step-son texted his dad this morning that they had to put down their dear Bulldog Stitch. I'm sure the children will be heart broken. But you did the best thing ever for your daughter. Volunteering at the shelter had to be healing and look at the beautiful pair of new friends who will be coming home with you. A happy ending is what we all need now and then.
    453 days ago
    Beautiful story! What adorable dogs!! It's funny because I thought the same thing as Kate-they look like they have some corgi in them too. Sounds like they chose you both! Love how Leda gets you to pet her. Look forward to reading updates!
    453 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2020 9:34:28 PM
    Sweet !!
    453 days ago
    They're adorable. And how lucky for them that they get to stay together. Maybe it's just the angle of the shot, but it looks like they have short legs like corgis.
    453 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2020 5:24:22 PM
    I love your new furry friends and am so happy that you took the time and energy to check them out. I am sure Kana will settle down now and turn her love and attention to her new "baby". I'm sure it will be a healing experience for both of you. Good for you both for taking the step to adopt another furry friend after Joey's passing.
    453 days ago
    What a wonderful story -- the dogs are lucky AND so are you!! Looking forward to more dog tales!!
    453 days ago
    Oh, Carolyn! I’m in tears of joy! after having lamented with you at your description of Kana’s grief and ideas. What a loving mom you are to have found the time and energy to do the shelter volunteer and search duty with Kana. It’s a leap of faith to adopt again after losing a treasured pet, I know- but I trust the decision has already brought positive results to you, Kana, and the rest of the family. And what beautiful ladies you found! Joy! emoticon emoticon
    453 days ago
    What a cute pair those two are! So glad you found a perfect fit. I’m sure Joey was looking down and smiling.
    453 days ago
    What a wonderful blog.
    Thnx for the update on what’s been going on in yr life.
    You beat me to it advising Kana to volunteer at the shelter ( sorry...does Kana not work?) and I am so glad that that became the path to your new darling dogs!
    They may just fill a whole in your hearts.
    454 days ago
    Working at a shelter is exactly the advice I would have given to Kana. Delighted that you found two new dogs their forever home with you.
    454 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1904002
    What a sweet ending to a tragic start of losing your beloved dog. It is always so hard, losing a member of our family, but there are so many animals out there that need us as much as we need them. I am so happy for your daughter and you, and how amazing, adopting a mother - daughter pair. Much love to you all!

    454 days ago
    It’s so fantastic, Carolyn, that you & Kana found your new fuzzy hearts. I never have thought that a new pet replaced a lost one. They are just another being to love. My old chihuahua, Spartacus, was estimated to be 8 years old when I found him on the street - getting a little grey in the muzzle. He’s really white faced now, & feisty as ever. I think he’s about 16 now. Each time I’ve added a new cat or dog to the pack, they’ve fitted in well (well, both girls are divas!). I’m so happy for the 4 of you!
    454 days ago
  • PCOH051610
    I just read this at work in a library full of college-age students and I'm tearing up. Needless to say they are beautiful and I really hope they partially fill the void left in your hearts since your beloved dog passed away. One dog never replaces another but it seems our hearts expand and welcome a new one into the fold all the while bringing back fond memories of those gone before them. I can't wait to hear more about these beautiful souls and I really hope it is what it takes to get you blogging more frequently. Yes, I'm that selfish! LOL. Your blogs bring such a smile to my face - hugs to you, my sweet friend! xo Susan
    454 days ago
    Honestly your blog brought tears to my eyes. I am definitely a dog person and I have no doubt that while you have "saved" them they will equally save you and your daughter. May your home be continually filled with the love that you so generously shared with all the dogs you walked and the love you will exchange with your new doggie family members.
    454 days ago
    OH my goodness. I hope that this helps heal your DD's heart (and yours, too!) Those girls are lucky to have chosen you and Kana.

    HUGS and good luck going forward.
    454 days ago
    454 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    What a terrible time you’ve had, Carolyn, but you’ve come through it. What a wonderful reward for your hard work, love, and patience!
    454 days ago
    Wonderful! emoticon
    454 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    What wonderful news that your new girls chose you. To me, the timing was perfect all around. Enjoy!
    454 days ago
    It touched me very much to read your blog. Thank you for writing it. So much love speaks from your words - for your daughter, for animals, for your soon to be new pets.
    Also so glad that the shelter came to the rescue of those 34 dogs!
    You were so wise with regard to how to support your daughter and come up with such a good plan.
    454 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2020 9:09:36 AM
    They are adogable. Enjoy your new furry family members.
    454 days ago
    Your blog made my heart smile! Those beautiful fur babies are so blessed to be in your and your daughter’s life! I am so happy for you! Please keep me posted on their and your progress! Much love to you! Gloria emoticon
    454 days ago
  • EISSA7
    Lots of love to be shared and received in the days ahead! Fabulous news, Carolyn! Hopefully, Kana’s heart will begin to mend and your stress/worries about her lessen, with the addition of these two fur babies! emoticon
    454 days ago
    How wonderful that you each found a mini me in your new adopted dogs.
    They're adorable and so very lucky you found them.
    Enjoy your new family members.
    454 days ago
    454 days ago
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