This is a piece I did for a friend and co-worker’s Secret Santa present. Crayon and felt pen. The most challenging part was getting the brindle to look like short coat brindle.
Cory was found running loose in Duncan, BC in late 2012. He eventually found his way to West Coast Rottweiler Rescue, where he ended up adopted by my friend, Paul. Tierce and Cory mostly got along and Tierce really enjoyed walks with him.
Almost two years to the day that Paul announced Cory’s arrival, he announced Cory’s departure. Cory suffered from spinal spondylosis, a degenerative condition that eventually made it difficult for him to walk. Complications of this and some other spinal damage ended Cory’s life on December 13th, 2014.
The bond between people and their dogs is such that it forges bonds between people who would otherwise never communicate. When TIerce posted about Cory on his page, a number of people responded. Do they know Paul? No. Do they know Cory? No. What they do know is the aching gap that opens up once you realize that you are never going to come home to your dog again.
So many of us repeat this process over and over again with a multitude of dogs. It’s like watching Titanic. We know the ending.
Maybe that’s what connects people so strongly when they hear someone has lost a dog. It’s like any deeply felt loss that someone who has not experienced it cannot quite understand until it happens to them.
What makes loss like this more difficult is the pervasive idea that animal companions should not be mourned because they are animals and not people. (The people who express this feeling don’t seem to realize that they are belittling the feelings of a human, the being that they are supposedly holding in higher value.) Despite the wrath of the mighty Internet when someone injudiciously decides to point this out, many people feel hampered in expressing their grief. (Don’t worry; I’m not one of them. Tierce will have a wake).
At the same time, this feeling that we are numbered among the privileged few to love a dog beyond all reason binds people like little else. You may not get the milk of human kindness for the many slights and injustices that life hands out to everyone, but if your dog has died… strangers will reach out to people across the world to let them know that they are not alone. That it’s not wrong to feel like a child has died. That the amount of love and money you just poured into an animal that died anyway was not ill-spent.
There’s a lot wrong with the Internet, but amidst all the horrors and news and kitten videos, there are places you can go where you know that people will understand. In death, as in life, dogs bind us together in the most amazing of ways. Avatars, ambassadors and symbols of selfless love.
The most remarkable aspect about the bond between dogs and humans is how they so perfectly reveal the human condition. They highlight our foibles, our failings and the highest, purest selflessness that one being can express towards another. I don’t believe that canine loyalty and companionship are the reasons we love our dogs so much and mourn them so intensely. I believe that we celebrate, love and mourn the vessel that we pour so much of ourselves into, the mirror that looks back at us and tells us that we’re not all that bad.
A friend of mine alerted me to the fact that there are six Kai Ken in Oregon needing homes. The owner is willing to ship to approved homes.
Kai Ken are medium-sized brindle dogs that were used for hunting in Japan… much like the Shiba was. Now I don’t think I’ve ever met one in the flesh and I’m certainly not an expert, so it might behoove you to hie thee to the Nihon Ken forum for more information. ***UPDATE*** Here is an excellent post on Kai temperament from the Nihon Ken forum: Misconceptions about Kais- For prospective Kai owners
Here are bios and pictures of five of the six dogs. For more information, contact Cheryl Yoshioka (not the owner, but involved in rehoming).
Yama was born 2/7/11. He weighs in at 41 lbs and is altered. He is one good looker and the clown of the pack he gets along with all other dogs except for Ochi. He is the clown because he instigates play and if someone does not want to play he bothers them until they give in and rough house with him. If two others are playing together he will run and body slam right into their play to join in.
When Yama was 12 or 13 weeks old he broke his back leg. He was operated on and caged in crates he could not do anything but stand on all fours and turn around in as he grew (quickly at that age) the crate got bigger but not allowing him to stand more than all fours. He had to stay in it 24/7 except to go out to the bathroom on a leash so he would not disturb the healing and to do his range-of-motion which he hated.
I worried he would have problems socially but we put him in the hall in between often traveled rooms with mirrors on the wall so he could see everything and had foot and dog house traffic, traveling frequently and always included him activities verbally. He ended up well socialized – the only evidence that there is is once in a while when he is running he may favor it a little.
Yama loves being with his people and all the attention he can get. He enjoys going on walks, outings and camping.
Since Yama likes to join in with others he will be glad to dig with anyone digging and once while lots of cooking was going on he ate some turkey right off the counter to be apart of the cooking. If someone is getting tattled on he is usually right with the violator joining in. I find if I call another Kai to come to me he is racing them to get there first and always in the middle when I’m working with another. He also get away with a lot more than any other pack member with each other like they tolerate him trying to sneak off with what they are enjoying and horning in front of them.
But Yama is the pack clown and he just makes you love him because he enjoys life so much always wanting to have some fun. I must admit living in this pack it is his action and the others reactions that make me laugh the most. When I hear a commotion and look and Yama is in the mix I know it is just the clown getting gripped at for stirring the pot.
Yama is a true gem that steals a spot in your heart.
Claira Bell or Claire was born 1/1/12. She weighs in at 36 lbs and is altered.
This is one sweet Kai that is very reserved with strangers. Out on walks she does all she can to avoid them, taking after her mother. She is considered the baby of the pack because when the pack is waiting for a treat she is always in the back waiting to be the last one to get one. She also has a little whine she does when she wants in the house. She is a tattle tell when another Pack member is doing something or has something they should not have just like her mother she hurries to her people and to the violator back and forth until the people get the message to check it out.
Claira Bell loves treats and to chew on antlers, cow’s ears, bully sticks, and pork rolls but she never takes from another she waits and then lays on it to chew so they can’t sneak it back from her. She likes to dig. It is not to dig out it is just for joy and when it has been raining she often comes in with a brown nose. When there is snow she is in heaven digging and rooting all around in it having a grand old time.
Claira Bell gets along great with the other dogs. She also loves to cuddle with her people and will wait while another Kai gets attention but when her people are finished she will sweetly let you know she is here and wants a turn too.
Ochi or as he is called by some Archie. He seems to not mind either just loves the attention. He was born 6/15/11 is altered and weights in at 52 lbs.
Ochi is a real ball fan no matter what size or type. He love to play ball and is thrilled to have you throw one for him to retrieve and has yet to be the one to call it quits first. Ochi likes to disassemble stuffed toys but has learned to
trade one for a treat when he gets too rough. With the Verbal command ‘trade’, he will drop the toy near you or if too many other Kais are around he will just bring it to you and trade for a treat.
Ochi does not feel comfortable when someone goes over his head with their hand. I believe it is because when he was very young he was bit on the head by an older dog, but that is just my guess because he still has two little scars if you look hard.
He does not like to have his nails cut and one nail a day is enough for him. If it is time for a real good brushing he seems to prefer splitting up to two setting and his choice would be if it could be two days.
What he really likes is to have his chest scratched, he just melts in pure joy.
There are two males in our pack that he does not get along with. This started when all were intact and there was heat in the house and they have yet to make amends.
On request he may shake with you and with some verbal coaxing has been know to speak. He is also one that waits patiently for a treat in the group getting treats and does not grab unless the treat is dropped.
Chiba weighs 30 lbs at best. He was born on 1/1/12 and is altered.
Chiba is a little cutie that loves his people and keeps an eye on them at all times. He loves to be held, brushed, pet and likes having his nails trimmed. Matter-of-fact if you are working on another dog he is right there nosing his way between so you won’t forget about him. Most of all he likes sitting right next to his people with his head resting on them or at there feet if he can not get up. He is not one you can get a kiss from unless you are in his face and ask him for one.
He also loves to be held and carried around so he can get a view from up high. He will hold on to your arm with his paws (legs) it is gentle and sweet.
When he is not with or keeping an eye on his people he can be found relaxing in his cage if not outside. When I say cage up to the pack before I leave or go to bed he is the first one to his cage waiting for a cage up treat and the door to be shut.
He gets along and plays well with the others but because of his smaller size is on his back a lot in the submissive position except for with the pack clown
whom he jumps on his feet and yaps at as if to say ‘you are not going to bother or boss me’.
Chiba is a good jumper. He does not use this skill to jump up on people but has used it for jumping and climbing up on trees and over fences on occasion.
All of the pack members chase squirrels, mice and the laser light well Chiba is a smart one and knows he doesn’t have a chance and will be one of the quickest to move on to do something else.
This is Priscilla. She weighs 38 lbs. she is sweet but reserved with strangers.
Loves to be petted and will remind you by giving your hand a nudge if you are sitting with a free hand. She is always up to chase a squirrel she would be great as a hunter if there was a chance to go. Out all of the pack she is the one to stay outside the longest weather does not seem to bother her at all.
She gets along great with all dogs and is always up for a good game of chase but would prefer to chase any cat right out of the yard. She was born 1/1/12. She is one that can be a little picky about treats but is right there to make the choice when offered.
For more information, contact Cheryl Yoshioka (not the owner, but involved in rehoming).
RIP Robin Williams.
This was commissioned for me by the ever-awesome LJ Phillips, who drew the background of this blog.
I think it looks kinda awesome myself. 😀 I never realized how much Shassi looked like a little wolf.
Well, it had to happen: Facebook found out that Tierce is a dog. Four years after the fact, but what the hey.
It was a shock to all of us.
To be honest, I’m a little chagrined, but I’m not that pissed off. After all, Facebook is owned by… Facebook. I think they’re ignoring a big demographic that could be bringing in income, but what the hey. If they don’t want my Shiba’s money or fans, then fine. We don’t need Facebook. Stupid Facebook. Blah blah blah Facebook!
…actually I just converted his profile to a Page.
You can see it here.
Tell your friends.
So this post is about a dead dog we found today. No pictures or anything of the body. Just letting you know.
It was our first kayaking day of the year and I wanted to go somewhere new. It was beautiful.
Tierce was, of course, unimpressed with everything.
Until he started digging for clams.
Mischa noticed her first as we were cursing and swearing our way upstream in the Nanaimo Estuary. The body was draped over the riverbank, likely pushed there by the currents of the last high tide. The hindquarters hung down towards the river – not a natural position for any dog.
It didn’t look like the dog had been dead very long; the eyes were filmed over, but present, and the body didn’t look like things had been nibbling at it. The last high tide had been at 08:47; we had started kayaking around 16:30, roughly a half-hour after low tide. By the time we found her, it was 18:45.
Mischa held my kayak while I got out. Then I scrabbled up the bank. By the time I stood over the dog, I had to keep blinking the tears away. My brain flashes on random thoughts and images, both past and imagined.
Flash: This isn’t right. Dogs should die at home or at the vet’s, with their owners making sure that everything’s done proper.
It was the first time I remember touching a dead dog. I saw a collar, but the fur was too thick to see if a tag had survived the river. I reached into the waterlogged mass of fur and yanked it around so I could unbuckle it. Black collar, no tags.
Flash: Tierce limp on a riverbank somewhere.
It looked like a Golden Retriever mix, and young – the black on the muzzle had yet to frost over. Well fed, no missing fur. The smell was really strong, but I couldn’t tell if it was the smell of low tide on her or the beginning of decomposition.
Flash: A picture of a Shiba that had died during the Japanese tsunami, chained to a post and drowned. It looked a lot like Tierce.
I checked to see if it was a male or female. Female. There was some blood on her inner hindquarters, but just a patch of it. Her hind paw hung heavy in my hand; just there. Whatever made her the dog that her people would remember, it wasn’t there now.
Flash: Do dead dogs bleed? The blood would have washed away in the river, wouldn’t it? Was she alive when she washed up? Was she hurt or killed and fell into the river somehow? Or dumped? Was she frightened? Did it hurt?
I took a careful picture, trying to angle it so the eyes were mostly covered by the grass over her – if I had to send it to anyone, they didn’t need to see that. I took a picture of the collar. I looked up the latitude and longitude and took a screenshot.
Tierce looked up, incurious. Maybe he couldn’t smell her or hadn’t noticed a doglike shape hanging over the bank. Maybe he just didn’t care; the mechanics of death beyond him.
Flash: This cannot be my dog. This can never be the way my dog dies. I couldn’t bear it, wondering forever if he was frightened or if he was in agony. We’ve always been there to take care of him, to save him from himself.
I posted a picture of the latitude/longitude to FLED (FLED – Find Lost & Escaped Dogs Vancouver Island) along with a description and shared it on my Facebook page. A friend alerted me to a post about a lost dog of the same description who had been missing for a week. I called the phone number and left a message. They called back and gave me an email address where I could send them a picture of the body.
It was her.
Her name was Angel and she was only 3 years old.