Monday, May 27, 2013

Do I, or Don't I?

Sometimes people ask Mom if I shed. Because I consider this to be a very personal question, my general response is something like this:

"I am sorry. I didn't hear you. Were you talking?"

Mom is more polite, and tells people that yes, I do shed. Sometimes she says "A LOT!" and the people make a face. Sometimes they ask how much and she says something like "Well, twice a year Shibas, 'blow coat'. When that happens he sheds TONS!" She says that it's something people should know about before they get a dog. Some dogs need more care than others, apparently. I need ALL the care. Mom brushes me about once a week most of the time, but when I blow coat? She brushes me at LEAST twice a day. She wants me to tell ALL the people thinking about Shibas that they should know this. She says that when she and Dad were looking for a dog, and decided on a Shiba, one of the things they thought was "Oh, that would be awesome, like Kioshi (the Akita), but smaller, and with less hair!"

(24 hours worth of shed hair. Does not include brushed-out part scattered to four winds in backyard)

Well, I fooled them! Less is relative. So is smaller. Unless it's "less supper" which is a critical situation. Or "less MINE", because of course all of the things are MINE things. Less as compared to, say, a poodle.But as compared to the average dog, apparently I shed a lot. We're not going to get me started on "smaller". Just don't go there!

Mom sweeps every day and brushes me two to three times a day. Big chunks of my coat just come off in tufts. Mom says she could Love 2 Pet (it's like a Furminator, but it has a rake side, too) me til the cows come home, but I still manage to have more loose hair all over me. The furniture, their bed, my bed - all covered with a layer of peach-colored fluff. I say it's just my little gift of love to Mom, to help keep her busy and occupied. Plus, think of all the bird's nests in the neighborhood lined with warm, soft Shiba undercoat! I am an ENVIRONMENTALIST!

Do you shed? How much? (See. I told you. It's personal, isn't it?!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week!

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. I thought I'd use my canine soap box of a blog to help people learn ways to stay safe around strange or aggressive-acting dogs. When Mom was a little girl, she got bit by the neighbor's dog. She had to have stitches in her arm. The dog had been behaving badly toward a lot of people for a long time, and after he bit Mom he had to take, as Mom says, The Long Walk. I think that means someone killed him, which is probably ok with me - if someone bit my Mom now, I'D want to kill them!

 (And I could, too, because I am super-feral! GRR! I am also blowing coat, so the whole house, my blanket, and Mom and Dad's clothes are covered in loose hairy bits)

Anyway, Mom says that Grampa had told her to just stand still, and she was trying to, but the girl she was playing with started yelling and waving her arms at the dog to shoo him away. Mom got scared because the dog just started getting louder and angrier, and she started to run to the other girl's house. The dog knocked her down in the snow, and Mom covered her head and neck with her arms. The dog went crazy trying to get Mom's throat or neck. She felt the dog bite into her arm really hard, and then she says her arm felt cold. Then the dog went to her legs and started attacked them. The other little girl ran inside and got her mom. She got the dog to get off of MY mom and got her into the house. She had to go to the hospital, and then the doctor said that Nana and Grampa had to watch Mom for signs of rabies. Her snowsuit was ruined, too, and her legs were all scratched and bruised. Luckily she never did start foaming at the mouth, or I guess she would have been taking The Long Walk, too! Mom has developed a pathological fear of rabies as a result of this whole thing, but oddly she's not at all afraid of dogs. Mom's one tough cookie, I think.

Since Mom told me this story I've thought a lot about dogs and biting, and I hope you will take a few minutes to click on THIS LINK. It's all about a game you can play that is a great way to help kids stay safe around strange or angry-acting dogs. It's true that dogs are attracted to noise and movement. I know that when the baby chicks make noise, or the bunny hops in the yard, I go blind-mad with the instinct to kill. I barely hear Mom, and she's... well, she's MOM!

There's other things you can do to help kids -and yourself - stay safe around dogs.

Learn the right way to pet a dog. You can click on the link to learn more about hot to pet dogs, but the short version goes something like this:

First, always ask the owner or handler before touching a dog, no matter how friendly or cute the dog is. Second, let the dog sniff you first - offer us the back of your hand, below and in front of our nose. We'll do the rest. We don't like people just jumping in and assuming they're our BFF with lots of cuddly snuggly stuff. We want to know more about you first, and sniffing you is how we learn. Third, if we seem up for it and the owner says it's ok, pet us under my chin to start, not on the top of my head. If a dog acts dumb and growls, or flares it's lip at you slowly and calmly remove your hand. If the dog is on a leash, turn and walk slowly and calmly away.

You can also learn more about why picking on certain breeds with dumb laws isn't fair. Before I came here, Mom and Dad had Akitas. This made their house insurance very hard to get, and very expensive. But Kioshi never bit anyone. It didn't seem very fair to them, and it doesn't seem fair to me, either. I'm a Shiba, and according to the experts we're the closest genetic dog to the wolf. The dog that bit mom was a mixed breed. In fact, a lot of the time even people with lots of dog experience make mistakes, and label a dog with a breed that is doesn't belong to. The only way to know for sure is to test their DNA. Most dog bites are actually caused by mixed breeds or by small breeds - those little guys just don't have big enough teeth to make the news like a big dog does.

But now more about me - I am SO bored! Mom will not let me kill the baby chickens, which I think is dumb. She says I will like the meaty ones better if they grow longer, and the ones that make eggs are "off limits" until she does something she calls a cull, where most of the boys go into the freezer. She also put up a bird feeder right outside of the bedroom that causes my brain to explode from all the excitement. Birds and squirrels, all the time, on the bedroom Yoshivision!

I miss having a brother and do not like being alone. I sigh a lot. I want a brother or a sister that I can hike and walk with on the bike path; someone to steal my toys and someone I can flaunt my treats in front of. The cat doesn't care if I have a bone or not. The other day I had a whole turkey heart and no one even cared! Yesterday mom gave me a carrot stick, and there wasn't anyone to give it to. SO. BORED! Someone PLEASE find me a brand new brother or sister! Dad says we should wait six months. I think he's bonkers. I love Mom and Dad, but they're just not DOGS. They have each other. Why can't I have someone like me, too?