Time for an Emi update! Even though we've already adopted her, she's still growing in so many ways to adapt both to her new environment and our routines at home. She has officially been ours since December 13th but she came into our home as a foster on October 21st. This is our 3 month update!
Emi was 11 months old when she came to us so she didn't have much growing left to do but her physical appearance definitely had room for improvement.
Emi is a petite Shiba but when she arrived she was a little too skinny. You could feel each rib under her skin (not in a good way) but she was not starved. Emi would also tire easily after short periods of play time with Shio at home. I'm proud to say that since then, she has gained a pound or two and added a lot of muscle to her tiny frame. She can now run circles around Shio and still have energy to play fetch. Her legs are so muscular that she can gracefully leap onto any piece of furniture she wishes to and bounces around our living room with ease. Emi has such a high energy level that we started feeding her the same amount as we do for Shio and she still doesn't gain weight!
When she first arrived, her belly was shaved from her spay surgery and the fur from the base of her tail was missing thanks to a flea infestation. Her fur was brittle to touch and her skin was noticeably flaky. She looked a little scraggly but still beautiful. Since then, we switched her diet to home cooked meatloaf and added a squirt of salmon oil and ground flaxseed to her meals. We use oatmeal shampoo on her during baths. Her fur has grown back in and improved dramatically though her skin still flakes here and there. I'm a proud mama when people who met her during the first week with us compliment on the huge improvement in her fur condition since then! About two weeks ago, the fur on the back of Emi's head started turning red. She may actually be a redhead!
Emi's teeth were also covered with plaque when she first arrived. It was obvious that her teeth had never been brushed and likely that she didn't have any dog approved chew toys or food. When we took her to the vet, they told us that it was unlikely that the molars would ever rid itself of the plaque no matter how much we brushed with chicken flavored dog toothpaste. We're happy to report that she has sparkling white teeth after we let her gnaw on marrow bones! It was an amazing transformation and almost instantaneous! It was probably true that we would've never gotten rid of the plaque by brushing alone but allowing her to chew on bones made all the difference.
Emi came to us as an extremely shy Shiba with very little exposure to the outside world. She would violently shake when we walked outdoors and hide under anything available or lay down and protest. She still shakes when she is outdoors sometimes but stopped breaking down during walks. She's now very comfortable in both our home and the dog run. For the first time this week, I watched her initiate play with a dog other than Shio outside while at the dog run! She will still shake when we are outdoors and there's a lot of people walking around but it has improved a lot. We've taken her almost everywhere with us to let her see and experience more of what the world has to offer. She's been to beaches, grassy parks, played in snow, shopping with me and visited my family on several occasions. She stayed with our puppy-sitter during our vacation earlier this month and our sitter said that she was amazing and sweet.
She's a very sweet dog and will jump up onto the couch and lay down next to me. She leans her head or body into my hand when she's looking for scratches and nibbles on my finger tips when I stop petting her. Emi has no sense of personal boundaries and will often leap and land on you when you're in her way while she's chasing after a toy. She's bonded with me but is still wary of Josh, especially when Josh is wearing a business suit. We're still working on that issue.
Emi can also be an off leash Shiba! She loves to run after balls and run back towards you, especially if she thinks that she'll be receiving a treat or scratches in return.