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Last Updated: Monday, 24 March 2008, 08:01 GMT

'Praying' dog at Japanese temple

Conan (left) and priest Joei Yoshikuni at Jigenin temple, Okinawa, Japan
Conan the dog joins the priests at Jigenin temple at prayer time

Attendance at a Buddhist temple in Japan has increased since the temple's pet, a two-year-old dog, has joined in the daily prayers.

Conan, a Chihuahua, sits on his hind legs, raises his paws and puts them together at the tip of his nose.

"He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," says a priest at Jigenin temple on Okinawa island.

Priest Joei Yoshikuni would like Conan to meditate, but "it's not like we can make him cross his legs", he says.

"Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate," he told Associated Press news agency.

Mr Yoshikuni said it only took Conan a few days to imitate the motions of praying.

"I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it too," he said.

Jigenin temple now gets 30% more visitors than it did before Conan joined in the prayers, Mr Yoshikuni said.

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