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Conan, the prayful dog

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CANINE SUPPLICANT: Conan stands in a posture of prayer beside Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni at the Jigenin temple in Naha on Monday.
CANINE SUPPLICANT: Conan stands in a posture of prayer beside Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni at the Jigenin temple in Naha on Monday.

At a Japanese Zen temple, the Chihuahua folds its paws before the altar

NAHA: At a Zen Buddhist temple in southern Japan, even the dog prays.

Taking after its master, the priest Joei Yoshikuni, the 18-month-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at the Shuri Kannondo temple here. It sits up on its hind legs and duly puts its front paws together in a posture of prayer before the altar.

It took only a few days for the dog to learn the motions, and now Conan is the talk of the town.

“Word has spread, and we are getting a lot more tourists,” Yoshikuni said on Monday.

He said Conan generally goes through its prayer routine at the temple in the capital of Japan’s southern Okinawa prefecture without prompting, before his morning and evening meals. “I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it, too.”

The priest is now trying to teach Conan how to meditate as well.

Well, sort of. “Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate,” he explained. “It’s not like we can make him cross his legs.” — AP

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