Bad dreams

My leg is sore; I obviously need pizza to help me recover.

Last night I dreamed that Tierce had chewed through his leash and got hit by a car. I was frantic, because I didn’t have my phone and didn’t know where it was and I had to choose between leaving him in the street and finding my phone so I could call Mischa to rush us to the vet.

Mischa thinks it’s because I was so frightened about Tierce’s leg yesterday.  He seems okay today; last night he was weight bearing more – his leg is still obviously sore, but I don’t think anything’s torn or broken or out-of-place.

Funny things our minds do to us.

Shiba 500?

What? I was here the whole time, I swear.

I’m used to noises in other parts of the building because our landlord has several teenagers who regularly slam in and out of the house and play LOUD games on their X-Box… or at least I hope that’s  the origin of the groans and the screams…

Tonight, though, I heard something different.

KA-THUMPETY-THUMPETYTHUMPETYTHUMP!  KA-THUMPETY-THUMPETY!  THUMP! THUMP! WHAM!

What the hell?

Now, I’m conversant enough with the pitter-patter of four little feet, but this sounded like four little feet in army boots.  So I start up the stairs, just to see if I can catch him in the act.  Not to punish him, you understand, but just to see what was going on.

THUMPETY-THUMPETY-WHAM-WHAM!

WOOF!

And then I brushed against the wall.  Sssshhhh…

Silence.

The stairs in our home are built with six steps going up to a landing, then seven steps going up to the bedroom.  I cautiously poked my head around the wall.  Nothing.

I started up the stairs.  As I ascended, the tips of two pointed ears, then a foxy looking face came into view.  Looking at me.

Mischa is away, so I’m alone in the house, it’s dark in the stairway and in the bedroom, but the ghostly light from the bathroom silhouetted Tierce’s head and body.

It really looked like he was playing with someone or something that disappeared as soon as I stuck my head around the wall.  There was this air of, “What are YOU doing here?” that was somewhat disconcerting.  And, of course, now that he was being observed, he did not deign to pick up his little game to show me just what kind of craziness he was engaging in.

Creepy… he doesn’t do this when Mischa is here.  I think he’s just fucking with me.  Or maybe he is playing with a hellhound that he inadvertantly summoned by dropping his hydrolized soy protein dog food into a pentagram.  I would not be surprised.

And how was YOUR week?

When people say stuff like “family problems” and “family issues”, it can mean anything.  I have had “family issues” which turned into a big problem for me, but turned out absolutely fine for Tierce.

It’s not fun when a family member gets on the wrong side of the law; it’s especially not fun when you go through their shit and find ample evidence of perfidy and general waste-of-skin tendencies. My vacation went to emptying an apartment (Family Member is not getting out of jail anytime soon, if ever) and dealing with the delightful repercussions of said Family Member’s indiscretions.  Let this be a lesson to any of you considering “prison” as a career objective: having your relations and friends going through your belongings is humiliating and reveals secrets about you that you aren’t going to want to expose to the general public.

Also not fun is trepidation about how your dog is going to deal with having your mother and aunt taking care of him, especially when he distinguished himself two years previously by terrifying your mother with his infant rages at having to wear a leash and collar.  I expected at the very least that we would hear that he had eaten Shassi or had disappeared or dislocated my aunt’s shoulder in an attempt to kill a baby rabbit.

But, no.  The one good thing about this whole disastrous week (which was both the week that I took my vacation and the week of my birthday) was that the phone calls to Mom’s brought forth carols of how good Tierce was, how he slept on Mom’s bed, how he was so polite when begging for food, how he could come back anytime and oh, if I wanted them to keep him an extra night…

I know that Tierce can be charming when he wants to be, but I was not expecting this.  It solves a big problem I have when his breeder can’t take him for a weekend.

A comparison of Shassi and Tierce

shassitierce

I liberated the photo at left of Shassi from Mom’s place so I could scan it for her birthday.  In doing so, I found a picture of Tierce that had similar properties and was struck by the difference.

Shassi, at 3 months is already graceful and compact.  She could run extremely fast (as we found to our chagrin) and in this picture, taken in 1993, she appears to have the structure that would later grow and solidify into a healthy framework for a female Shiba.  She grew proportionately – while she did go through a gangly adolescent phase, it was relatively short.  She “came together” at about a year and a half, although it would be another few months before she filled out.

Now look at Tierce’s photo.  At 8 1/2 weeks in 2007, he’s already All Boy, with a big head and muzzle compared with Shassi’s more delicate accoutrements.  With that maleness comes a chunky gangliness that is apparent even this early.  His ears didn’t stand up completely for another 2 months or so, leaving me to wonder at the age of 3 1/2 months whether my Shiba was going to have Sheltie ears for the rest of his life.  He took a long while to grow into his body, being around 2 years old when everything finally came together.

I found Shassi’s temperament to be more reminiscent of the Japanese ideal for their Shibas: very much her own dog and not given to really looking to us, the humans, for direction.  She was playful in her youth, but matured early and she was never given to retrieving balls or sticks (although she did deign to chase them for a few minutes if she was really peppy).

Tierce at 2 and 1/2 years, is still playful, loves his toys – especially his Kong and his stuffed Dracula that intones I’m going to suck your blood! when squeezed – and actually will come when called (not super-reliably, but definitely regularly enough to qualify for some kind of Shiba World Record).  He is the product, though, of almost 15 years of Sunojo breeding for temperament and health – the latest generations of Sunojo Shibas are happy, friendly dogs who will actually acknowledge your presence!

It may not be the Japanese ideal, but I think I like Tierce’s temperament better than Shassi’s.  He’s still a Shiba, but he’s also a lot more fun to play with.  🙂  However, while I think it’s the product of careful breeding, there is a lot to be said for the differences between male Shibas and female Shibas.  I have heard many times that the males tend to be friendlier with people (although not with other male dogs!) and more playful.  It is somewhat unusual, as people accustomed to other breeds of dog usually used to the opposite – female dogs who are friendlier and more responsive to people and male dogs who are more aloof and aggressive towards them.

Guilt Food

guilt

Actually Tierce has been running around without a cone for a week now and his incision is healing up nicely.  He spentlast weekend at his breeders’ while Mischa and I went to a SCA event (no dogs allowed on site… boo…).  Playing with his sister left him nicely relaxed.  Apparently she has been driving their mother batty with her PLAYPLAYPLAYPLAYPLAY approach, so having someone who was ready and willing to keep up to her was just what she needed.  Plus, since she was out of heat and Tierce is now neutered, we did not have to worry about the conception of incest Shiba puppies… just what the world DOESN’T need.  They’re crazy enough!

Dog show extravaganza!

Tierce and I went to the Tyee Kennel Club Dog Show on Saturday to meet up with Marg, his breeder and Susan, his “grandbreeder”.  They were very happy to see him, but we did come to the conclusion that it would be best overall to have him neutered, not only to prevent puppies, but to cut down on the aggression as he gets older.  I’m deferring to their opinions, as with several decades apiece with dogs and Shibas, they ought to know!  So on Monday, we’ll make an appointment and little Tierce will go to get his balls chopped off.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve had reservations about neutering, but I am not as opposed to neutering Tierce now that he’s over 2 and has his full growth.  Things like weight gain and suchlike can be addressed with a good exercise and nutrition program.

While I was at the show, I bought Tierce a new toy! It’s a hollow plastic egg that is too big for him to bite and he’ll chase that thing around all day.

I couldn’t find anything about the company who makes this product.  Here’s the only information that came with it:

scram

There is a product here that looks pretty damn similar with a cute video of zoo animals playing with them, so it’s quite possible that it’s a knock-off of that.  It would be too bad, because I love products that are made in Canada.