Shimi had a fun time running around with all her friends at Dog n’ Suds Pet Services!
Shimi had a fun time running around with all her friends at Dog n’ Suds Pet Services!
Fall in Nanaimo, on the rare days where it’s not raining and the cloud cover doesn’t take on the appearance of a shroud or the Nothing.
Fall agrees with Shibas. We had our first snow already!
Tierce is also getting better at not eating Shimi.
Shimi is coming along. She is 5 months old now and is it halfway through puppy class and is also going to Nanaimo Pet Services daycare. She has her interview with Dog & Suds later this week.
Living with a puppy is something I haven’t had to do for 10 years so it’s been a bit of a curve but she is starting to sleep through the night and I am starting to get used to walking more. I am logging 10,000 steps on my Fitbit everyday more often than not. I have lost 10 pounds. Sometimes I think I’ve lost my mind but this was probably done prior to Shimi.
It’s funny how things come full circle. Shassi came into my life almost 24 years ago, in 1993. Susan, the same breeder who bred Shassi, bred Shimi – Shassi’s great-great-ad-nauseum-great niece.
I’m going to show her and, if things go well and she passes all the health tests, we might breed her but that’s in the future. Possible future.
After all the hell of last year, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. It’s been easier to use Facebook because it was such a micro-blogging format and I just didn’t he the but I also wanted to develop this blog but I just didn’t have the energy. And I realize that all the energy that I was putting into Mischa and the problems that we were having the health issues and like money stuff and everything that it was taking away from that and I’m just now getting it back.
So, here’s the first post in a long while and we’ll see where this goes.
So this happened. Our little velociraptor in fur.
I can’t help being a little overwhelmed; Tierce was a puppy 10 years ago, back when I still had some pretensions of youth. I’ve probably lost a few pounds due to the fact that Little Miss has a little bladder and can’t go too long without needing out. Add to that the fact that she’s constantly moving and destroying and walks tend to look like the lesser of the many evils a bored Shiba puppy can visit upon its home.
Socialization is, of course, a high priority. We’ve been covering the below list… with a few additions, like ‘plate armour’, ‘chain mail’, ‘Elizabethan court dresses’ and ‘thrown knives’. The Society for Creative Anachronism: simply the best way to accustom puppies to the real world.
And then there’s Tierce. Oh, how I still worry about his feelings. However, he seems bearing up under the stress well, with only a snap or snarl to give our little darling a hint that he is not a chew toy. We keep them separate when not actively supervised. Of course, there was the one time when we came back from outside and Shimi came dancing up to us. She later demonstrated that she can scale the walls of the ex-pen like a goddamned spider. She’s been a lot better about not bothering Tierce… coincidence? Probs not. I think a ‘gentle discussion’ of appropriate boundaries went on.
If you’re on the TMS Facebook, you’ll know that we’re all still here. Battered, bruised, tired as fuck, but we’re all here. TMS kind of takes a backseat to everything when there’s a health issue or a financial crisis or whatever. Fortunately, due to the auspices of fate and friends and connections, it turns out that we’re keeping going and the humans, at least, are holding on.
Which is why we’re getting another Shiba.
You see, Tierce had a birthday. We threw him a party. And we realized that he is 10. TEN. Ten years have elapsed since we were introduced to ‘the terrorist’ (no shit, that’s what they called him). Ten years of sarcasm and scorn cleverly hidden as ‘well, that’s just how Shibas are’.
And, after we had gone through all the years past, we started thinking about the future. I don’t want a future where I’m suddenly WITHOUT A DOG. It’s one thing to lose a dog; it’s inevitable, like losing family, friends, things you cherish, places you loved… but that doesn’t mean one has to worship the gaping hole in your life. I want another dog now so that I can face the eventuality of Tierce’s death with a little more equanimity.
There can be no replacements, only successors.
I would get another dog anyway, no matter if Tierce died tomorrow or 10 years from now. My breeder is slowing down her kennel breedings and that’s another reason to get a pup now, because I want another Sunojo dog. It’s been nearly 25 years since Shassi first came home and it seems suitable that the third Shiba in my life be another Sunojo dog. Tierce was bred by a different breeder, but his sire and dam were still Sunojo.
25 years with Shibas. Damn.
The potential puppy was born on March 28. I’m thinking of naming her ‘Shimano’.
This was a response to issues in one of my Shiba Inu Facebook groups, where queries about testing or purposeful breeding are often met with accusations of superciliousness.
I, for one, am sick and tired of how “breeding this dog is not in the best interest of the breed” is equated with “All cream Shibas should be shot while simultaneously kicking a homeless war veteran while screaming NUKE THE UNBORN BABY WHALES FOR JESUS AND MUHAMMAD.”
Look, we like cream Shibas. We don’t advocate breeding them because the cream dilutes the strong red and black and sesame that is one of the distinguishing features of the Shiba. That doesn’t make them bad and it doesn’t mean that breeders stab pale puppies to death while invoking Cthulhu.
Likewise, saying that not testing for *known genetic health issues in the breed* makes someone a crappy breeder is because it… does. You have the tools to make a real difference to the breed and dogs in general and you don’t do your utmost to ensure your pups have strong joints and eyes? You are what every responsible breeder, rescuer, and owner learns to hate, because you knowingly create animals without doing your best to keep them healthy and pain free.
Anyone who has a knee injury, stand up. Does it hurt? Now imagine that happening all the time because you have no other choice of locomotion and you have no way of telling someone to get you to a goddamn doctor. Welcome to luxating patella. It’s genetic and it’s painful and it gets worse over time unless you shell out for a surgery that can cost several thousand dollars, depending on whether one or both joints are affected, severity, health of the dog, etc. etc. And the happy companion you were supposed to have to walk and play with can’t go on any kind of long walk and spends a lot of time not doing much because it hurts.
People who give a shit about their dogs don’t want to produce this. They fight actively not to produce it. Anyone who doesn’t is doing their puppies and their puppies’ owners a huge disservice. That’s why we say ‘responsible’ breeder. Responsible. Response. There is no apathy in serious dog breeding; there is active research and evaluation, not wilful ignorance and a casual assumption that Nature can take care of everything. (Nature sucks, by the way. Examine the physics of the human knee sometime)
Yes, it can happen to dogs from tested clear parents, but the thing is, it happens LESS and, gradually, through a dedicated breeding program, it can systematically be eliminated to the point where affected animals show up extremely rarely. That doesn’t mean you can stop testing, though… oh, no. You keep testing, you keep checking because you don’t want a random gene dance to bring the nasty back into what you’re breeding.
And then, of course, you’re online and someone blather on about how there’s no point to genetic testing ‘because it can happen even if dogs are healthy and tested’. It’s like you spend your life trying to eliminate drunk driving, only to have a bunch of people tell you that there’s no point to prosecuting or restricting drunk drivers ‘because drunk drivers are going to happen anyway’.
And then you ask a few pointed questions about whether someone with adorablesweetcuteomg puppies has thought about this and we’re back to Shiba jihad again.
Me: Tierce, I’ve got something to tell you.
Tierce: What, that you’ve finally decided to give me a block of cheese for Christmas?
Me: No. It’s not about food.
Tierce: We’re going for another walk with Rowan?
Me: No. It’s not about walks.
Tierce: Don’t tell me we’re going to visit the chamber of horrors again.
Me: No. We’re not going to the vet. Besides, Dr. Forbes is a nice lady and has done a lot to help you.
Tierce: *sniff* So you say. You’ve never had a thermometer shoved up your a-
Me: ANYWAY. What I’ve got to tell you relates to Apollo and Kisu.
Me: Apollo and Kisu. Your sire and dam.
Tierce: My sire and dam?
Me: Yes, Tierce. You remember Kisu.
Tierce: The one who didn’t want to play. Tenshi wanted to play. And Apollo, wasn’t he the one who said he could wipe the kennel with me when we visited Susan that one time?
Me: Uh, maybe.
Tierce: He was just boasting. I liked Kisu better, even if she didn’t want to play. She snarled at me once, you know. I was just minding my own business, trying to jump on her to get her to play.
Me: Well, Kisu was quite a bit older. As was Apollo. And you know that sometimes when dogs and people get older, things stop working so well.
Tierce: They pee inside the house?
Me: Well, sometimes. What I’m talking about is their bodies stop working.
Tierce: So they go to sleep.
Me: Well, kind of. They go to sleep forever.
Tierce: What, like until next morning? I’ve done that lots of times.
Me: It’s a little longer than that.
Tierce: Tell me about it. Sometimes I don’t drag my ass out of bed until one.
Me: Even longer. So what I need to tell you is that Apollo and Kisu died on Monday, the 23rd of November.
Tierce: So they’re sleeping for a really long time.
Me: A very long time.
Tierce: When will they wake up?
Me: They won’t ever wake up again, Tierce. They’re sleeping forever.
Tierce: But they’ll want to get up for breakfast.
Me: No, Tierce, they won’t. Their bodies aren’t working any more. They can’t eat breakfast.
Tierce: Or lunch? Or dinner?
Tierce: That’s horrible. What a terrible thing to happen! Aren’t they sad they can’t have food?
Me: No, they aren’t sad. They don’t feel anything any more.
Tierce: Well, that blows.
Me: At least they had happy lives. Kisu lived with your breeder and Apollo was adopted into a wonderful home where he could be the top dog of the family.
Tierce: Like me!
Me: Like you. They both lived into their teens.
Tierce: And they both died the same day?
Me: Yeah, it was really funny; they didn’t live together, but your sire and dam ended up dying on the same day.
Tierce: What’s ‘sire’ and ‘dam’ again?
Me: Oh, it’s dogspeak for ‘father’ and ‘mother’.
Tierce: Wait, so I’m an orphan?!
Me: Uh, well, technically, I guess yeah… but we’ve kind of stepped into the parental role.
Tierce: Yeah, about that. I thought you were my parents.
Me: Well, not technically, but in every way that matters, we are.
Tierce: But you’re saying these dogs were somehow my father and mother.
Me: Yes, they were.
Tierce: But Mischa calls me his little boy.
Me: It’s a term of endearment.
Tierce: So you’ve been lying to me all these years.
Me: Well, not really.
Me: Okay, you want the truth?
Tierce: Yeah. I want the truth.
Me: You’re adopted.
I’m pretty sure that Elizabeth Broadbent is either afraid to step out her front door or rubbing her hands together and saying, “Yes… yes… let the outrage flow…” after writing No, Your Dog Is Not Your “Baby” — Saying That Is An Insult To Moms. After all, she did write How Dogs Prepared Me For Kids, where she extols some of the shared issues that dog owners and parents have to deal with.
And I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of “furkid” and “furbaby” myself. I’m on the side of “dogs are dogs and humans are humans: we have to remember and respect that difference”. However, I can’t deny that looking into Tierce’s eyes spikes my oxytocin. And Mischa’s, since the dog’s still alive after chewing through his dialysis cord some 6-and-a-half years ago.
However, the article does come off as self-centred and entitled. After all, as long as you care for your dog properly, control it, pick up after it, and shut it the fuck up when people are sleeping, do I care what you call it? No, I do not.
However, according to her article, Broadbent does. Very much. Because, as opposed to pointing out the fact that dogs aren’t people and it’s problematic when people view dogs as little people in fur coats, Broadbent is more concerned with the perception of dogs as baby-like creatures that hold as much or more esteem as her children do for her.
So, hey, why not go with that attitude?
Say you love them, but don’t call them that. Because they ain’t the same.
After all, you didn’t go through nine months of body invasion, followed by…
All the pain is after the dog arrives.
And even if you adopt, you go through paperwork and waiting hell before you find yourself weak in the knees, hands a-tremble, as you weep with joy when someone hands you your child for the first time.
I won’t say I cried with Tierce or Shassi, but my hands were a-trembling. Mostly because I was pretty sure the dog was going to take a piss on them or something.
Getting a dog just didn’t stack up.
Shassi woke us up in the night constantly, just screaming. This was partly because we were going by the dog training advice of the day, which was to abandon her in the dark in a crate in a strange place to get her ‘used’ to it. That lasted less than two nights. She slept on the bed or the couch for the rest of her life.
Tierce was carefully placed, in his crate, by my side of the bed. He got up once during the night to pee, otherwise was absolutely silent. Until he figured out that whining got him out of the crate. We put a stop to those antics pretty quickly with a thump on the crate and muttered death threats. Once he figured that he wasn’t getting out a second time, he settled down pretty quickly.
And hey, if you’re a mom going through the screaming needs of a newborn, give yourself a medal or a T-shirt or whatever. That’s cool, but you signed up for it, just as I signed up for being treated like a servant for the next 15 years. Waaait… just how different are we?
Let’s not talk about the time Tierce dug up the landlord’s extension cord to his fountain and chewed through it. Mercifully, it wasn’t plugged in at the time. Or the time he chewed through- wait, I’ve mentioned that before. Several times.
The Internet Confessional
One symptom of both sides is the blogging about it. Because if there’s anything more annoying than a mommyblogger, it’s a doggyblogger. So far, I’ve chronicled my failures as a Shiba parent, only to have people constantly contacting me, convinced that I’m the last word in Shiba ownership. (I usually direct them to Shiba Inu Canada, National Shiba Club of America, a reputable breeder, reputable behaviourist or a good puppy class.)
How Can You Not Say We’re The Same??!
The dog world is a lot like the mommy world, where The Kids Are Okay; it’s the parents that keep jumping on each other like starving bitches. Now, I’ve met tons of awesome people in the dog world, but I’ve met tons of people that have convinced me that Dog People Are Crazy. Some are crazy in a good way, where they spend a lot of time and money making their dogs’ lives awesome. Some are crazy in a bad way, where anyone that doesn’t completely espouse their ideas of what A Good Dog Parent does is just awful.
And we do like our judgemental crap just as much as the Sanctimommies. “I’d never buy from a breeder.” “Oh, that’s just a mix?” “Anyone who feeds their dog plain kibble is basically murdering it.” “If you don’t rescue, you’re responsible for dogs dying in shelters!”
Have you ever heard two dog people competing?
“My Sammi has just completed her Puppy Resonance Training and will be enrolled in Tracking, Obedience and Conformation in the fall. Our instructor says her responses are way above normal. I think we’ll be putting our CD on her before she turns a year.”
“Well, my Rollo has just qualified for Open and we’re going to be getting our Hunt Titles this year; I don’t see why not, since he’s been raving for the bumpers since the first time we introduced him. Not to mention, he’s going to be getting his St. John’s Therapy Dog certification…”
No, really. I have been there. Not myself, because I have a Shiba who is dedicated to non-conformity. But I’ve seen this. It’s right up there with “Little Muffie is two centimetres taller than her age group and is enrolled in Chinese, French and full-contact gymnastic yoga!”
There’s nothing wrong with having your dog or your kid enrolled in stuff or excelling in stuff. It’s just if you’re using it as some kind of bat to hit other dog people or parents with to prove how great you are. Take pride in the accomplishments of your mini-mes, not hubris.
At The End Of The Day
We’re kind of the same. Not in terms of what we have to do, necessarily, or how long it takes or how haaard it is. We’re the same because we place such a ridiculous amount of ourselves into the beings we’ve chosen to harbour. Whether by accident or design. (I’ll admit, not a lot of people get children because the kids followed them home.)
We love, we worry, we pay (and pay, and pay), we teach, we bleed a little when they get hurt. It’s not really a competition about who loves better. Anyone who tries to make it one is pretty much telling me that they have insecurities that have nothing to do with dogs or kids. You take care of those and then get back to the rest of us.
No one likes a person who puts themselves on a pedestal. You don’t like the term ‘furkids’; that’s fine. It’s the litany of how hard your life is compared to people who only have dogs to care for. It’s the smug inference that dogs can’t possibly add to someone else’s life what children have added to yours. And it’s the idea that because you personally dislike something and feel that it’s wrong for you, that it must be wrong for everybody.
Get over yourself. The furkids are okay.
Sunday, June 7th, at around 23:30, Tierce was not feeling well. Hunched over, shaking, panting, didn’t want food, didn’t want to walk. Took him to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital where, after several hours, he ended up with a diagnosis of pancreatitis.
Tierce: I hurt.
Me: Normally he would be trying to claw his way through the door to get out, but he’s not even doing that much.
Vet: Well, let’s have some X-rays and a blood panel.
Tierce: Do not care. All is gone. Hurt.
Vet Tech: Okay, now were just going to lay you down on this table and take a little picture, okay?
Tierce: What? No! EMERGENCY! POLICE! POLICE! GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME, DEMONESS
Tech: No, seriously, all I want you to do is Lie. Down.
Tierce: YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE
People waiting in the vet’s office: What are they doing to that poor dog?
Me: He’s a Shiba.
People: Is he hurt?
Me: He’s probably convinced that his immortal soul is in danger, but they’re just doing an X-ray. No one’s being hurt.
Tierce: HELP! HELLLLLP!
Me: Well, some people might have lost a couple of decibels in the higher register.
Vet Tech: All done. We put a cage muzzle on him, but he didn’t try to bite or anything.
Me: Better safe than sorry with a dog in pain. How’s our puppy?
Tierce: I might have lost the battle, but we have not lost the war.
Tech: He screamed a lot, then stopped when I kept him on the table.
Me: Sounds normal.
Tierce: All is pain. And I’m hot.
Vet Tech: We’ll take some blood for the panel.
Tierce: I just want you to know that I hate all of you.
Four hours later
Vet: Okay, it’s pancreatitis. Take him home and watch him carefully. Boiled chicken and rice. If he spikes a fever or vomits, bring him back or to your vet right away.
Tierce: What the hell are you doing to my back?
Vet: Just some fluids to combat dehydration.
Tierce: This is some kind of truth serum, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?
Me: Tierce, I swear. Do not give me attitude right now.
Tierce: But she’s poking me!
Me: I don’t care. Look at me. Focus on me. Good boy.
Tierce: I would just like to register my objection to this entire procedure.
Me: I would just like to remind you that it’s 03:30 and I have had a half-hour’s sleep in the last 20.
Tierce: You’re all in this, aren’t you? You’re all conspiring to make me miserable.
Me: I could do that more comfortably at home.
Tierce: I really don’t like any of you right now.
Vet Tech: That’ll be $462.38.
Me: The feeling is mutual.
Twelve hours later
Tierce: What’s that?
Mischa: It’s a rubber ducky thermometer!
Tierce: What are you going to do with tha- HEY.
Me: Hold still.
Tierce: I really don’t have a concept of this except GTFO.
Me: Well, your temperature’s down. That’s good.
Tierce: Keep that thing away from me.
Me: Oh, Tierce. For the next few days, you’re going to be friends with the rubber ducky. Best friends.
Tierce: You’re both sick. I’m going to go lie in the sun now.
One day later
Tierce: And I’ll have some of that… and some of that… and some of that noodle thing, please.
Me: Forget it! Here’s your dinner.
Tierce: What is this?
Me: Steamed rice and chicken.
Tierce: Well, okay… that wasn’t bad. Where’s the rest?
Me: There is no ‘rest’. You’re to have small meals.
Tierce: Cheese is a small meal.
Me: No cheese.
Tierce: But… I want it.
Me: Okay, fine. Here.
Tierce: This is crunchy. I’ve never had crunchy cheese before.
Me: It’s a special kind of cheese.
Tierce: It tastes more like carrot.
Me: You asked for cheese, I gave you cheese. Look! It’s orange, just like cheese!
Tierce: I can only see in shades of yellow and blue.
Me: Just take my word for it.
Tierce: Can I have a stinky fish?
Me: That’s what got you into this mess. No. Not for a long time.
Tierce: There was some left in the bag after I climbed up onto the shelf and ate two thirds of it.
Me: Have you ever wondered why you got sick?
Tierce: … No. No, I can’t say that I have.
Me: That’s why you can’t have a stinky fish.