We came to Komatsuka in Ibaraki prefecture in early March 2012 where we were greeted by our hosts and a small dog chained up near the house we would be living with. Much later we found out that all dogs were being chained up due to some unfortunate incident between a child and a dog. No one seemed to be walking the dog so eventually we asked Okano-san whether I could walk Muku the dog. We went for walks morning and late afternoon. This provided me with an excuse to wander all over the village as well as explore the countryside and a neighbouring residential area as well.
Muku is a very well behaved dog. He is incapable of barking possibly due to his quarter husky heritage. He typically ignores other dogs, but usually expresses some interest in female dogs (typical male). I have only heard him growling maybe two or three times and these occurred in more recent times. This supports my contention that dogs personalities reflect their owners and more recently I had begun to behave more aggressively to other dogs barking/growling at us. Any owner of a dog that attacks people should be locked up and the dog retrained. The reason I was more aggressive is that in Minamigaoka the neighbouring residential area a dog whose chain was too long came charging through the hedge and without much warning puts its muzzle around Muku's so that Muku could not breathe. What if that had been a toddler on the receiving end?
Muku is a very intelligent dog with an incredible nose able to detect delicacies such as dried up crayfish many meters away. Usually I chose the route, but later we came to intersections where I let him chose. Normally he avoided looking directly at me, but on those occasions he would glance at me to make sure things were okay.
Thanks to Muku I was able to learn and see many things in the area we lived in.
But in the last few weeks before we left Japan December 2, 2012 Muku started to lose his health. He did not eat much, he seemed to have some difficulty climbing slopes and was not as enthusiastic as previously. He is twelve years old and may be nearing the end of his life. Thank you Muku for sharing your village with me.