Two Sides of Shio

Goo Goo's personality may have changed dramatically over the last 3 weeks but she's not the only one who has adjusted her new home situation. Shio has also made adjustments. Living with only one dog gave us a two dimensional perspective of how Shio behaves and with the new foster addition for comparison, Goo Goo has shown us the good and bad of each of their personalities. As mentioned before, Shio started wolfing down his food like there was going to be a famine tomorrow. He would finish his meal in less than 5 large gulps and then lunge for Goo Goo's. If Goo Goo so much as looks at him, he would let out a little growl to let her know that he's not sharing. They even had two barking fights where I had to step in over food. As time passed, he realized that GG is his housemate and she's going to have to eat whether he likes it or not. I separate them when I give them bones to work on but with food, they eat side by side. I sit in between them and occasionally lift Shio's head up so that he remembers to breathe. He has slowed down during meals but that doesn't stop him from checking out GG's bowl when he's finished for leftovers. He's much better about GG coming over occasionally to see if he's having a more delicious meal than she is.

Shio and GG also have very different personalities. Whilst GG has a flight mentality when she hears or sees any altercations, Shio will run towards it to police the situation. When our doorbell rings for deliveries or guests, Shio will run towards the front door while Goo Goo runs upstairs to safety. In the dog run, Shio will not allow any dog to sniff his butt whereas GG will let them sniff but any more than that will result in her on the ground showing her belly with her teeth baring. Shio is happy to school a rude puppy while Goo Goo avoids being abused by a puppy entirely by scampering away.

Shio's a tough guy for sure. A protector. Bodyguard.

But at home, he follows his foster sis around and begs her to play with him. When Goo Goo does play with him, he knocks her down to wrestle but always lets her back up so that she has a fighting chance. She nips at his face and pulls at his scruff and Shio reciprocates with dinosaur-esque growling sounds. He is always close behind her when he thinks that she's going to get a treat, thus making his recalls in parks absolutely fabulous since GG is always next to me. Nobody is allowed to eat if he doesn't get a bite too. Shio also makes sure that he bonds with his foster sister by grooming her. He licks the insides of her ears and stays close by her when napping. It's rare for them to be in separate rooms.

Shio's really a softie.

It's a love story really.


Week 1 with Goo Goo

Tired GG

We're into week #3 with Goo Goo so I'm behind on our fostering updates. The only thing I want to do lately is lounge around with my Shibas. Overall, fostering has been a great experience. It took us a very long time to take the leap to open up our place to another dog especially with one whom we have little information on the history of. However, knowing that we would be saving a life made the decision much easier. Goo Goo came to us on Friday, 10/21 and we didn't know what to expect at all. We knew her name, that she was 11 months old, a black and tan female, and held in our email inbox a picture of her beautiful face. Word on the Shiba block was that she enjoyed being held like a baby. Everything else would be a surprise. And a surprise it was. We met outside a Brooklyn dog run and at 15 lbs, Goo Goo had a much tinier frame than I expected. Her fur was coarse and dry. She had a bald spot on the base of her tail where fleas decided to nest once upon a time. One thing that was hard to miss was that she was violently shaking with fear. She had just been spayed the day before and was terrified though her large brown eyes still held a doe-like innocence to her whole being.

The first night was spent trying to hide under any dark place that she could crawl under. This included pulling her out from under parked cars after she wedged herself next to the tire. We did everything we could to avoid carrying her so that we wouldn't pull on the stitches on her swollen abdomen. She was too afraid to eat. She was too afraid to pee or poop. She finally found quiet solace in our crate that was covered to give her the cave-like zen she craved. The only time her eyes lit up that night was when I presented Shio's meatloaf to her and she hungrily gobbled it up as if she hadn't eaten for days. That was the beginning of my bonding experience with her. Shio followed her around but kept a respectable distance away from her. Our hearts wept for her on that first night.

The second day, we brought her out to Long Island so that she could be in a place that mimicked her old suburban environment. She was still swollen and sore from her surgery but made the journey with us. Her whole fragile being stole the hearts of Kaiju's hudad and his human grandparents during our #twiba meet up. We rejoiced when she crouched down and peed in Kaiju's backyard. Her tail lifted into a fallen question mark shape unlike the last 24 hours where it hung limp from fear. Then she spent the rest of the day hiding under couches and cars again. Small steps.

On the third day, we spent time sitting outside with her so she would get used to the new outdoor noises that she would experience. She peed and pooped once each. We did a little dance to celebrate. She still hid in her crate but was more curious about her new environment. Slow and steady progress for this girl. Shio patiently waited outside her crate each morning for her to emerge - he's a champ.




Fast forward to the one week point, she was still scared while outside but noticeably less. She was very curious about her surroundings and had regular bathroom breaks. She let dogs sniff her and sniffed in return. Her stitches were almost fully healed and we went for our first vet visit. The vet praised her for being a great Shiba and gave her many treats. She started replying to Shio's desperate attempts to get her to play with play bows and chomping at his face. He loved it so much and could barely contain himself. She was excited to be fed, ate treats from anyone at the dog run, and wanted to be outside of her crate all the time to spend time with us in the living room. She even picked out a favorite spot on the couch to sleep in. Each time she saw me walking up towards her at the top of the stairs, she flattened her ears and jumped up to give me excited puppy kisses all over my face. It was a real transformation in just one week. Everything from here on forward was just to sit back and continue to watch her blossom. Oh, and she LOVES to be held like a baby, just like they said she would.

All this progress was made in just ONE week.

So far, this is an experience that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Shio vs. Change

Since Goo Goo arrived, Shio there have been some changes with Shio's personality at home. 1. Protectiveness

The day before Goo Goo arrived was the day that she was spayed. Immediately upon meeting her, Shio decided that it was his job to protect our foster from shadows and babies by ferociously barking at them. He also goes to her crate after greeting us when we arrive home or wake up in the morning to make sure that she's okay.

2. Patience

Day after day, Shio begs for Goo Goo to pay attention to him and play with him. He will play bow, bark, and wag his tail. The works.

3. Food

Apparently now that we have a second dog in our home, Shio is determined that there will be a pending famine because he has to share some of his food. He gobbles up his food much quicker than he normally would and then charges for Goo Goo's leftovers.

4. Less Competitive

Usually when Shio walks next to another dog on a leash, he makes sure that he's in the lead even if only by a nose. Not so with Goo Goo.

5. Jealousy

I'm not sure whether dogs experience jealousy or not but we've noticed that he will make sure that he has more attention when we greet Goo Goo. This subject will have to further be explored.


What my Shiba has taught me.

Trust is earned. Fight for what you want (treats).

Fight against what you don't want (baths).

When you see/smell something you like, throw your whole body weight into it.

Always stare blankly at an incredulous request (cuddling).

If you think someone is going to take food out of your mouth, chew faster.

If someone has wronged you, let the world know by screaming like you are being tortured.

There is no displeasure that can not be communicated with the whale eye.

The vacuum is the frenemy.

What Does Shio Eat?

Shio eats better than me. You don't believe me?

Every week, Shio's food is professionally prepared with a meatloaf recipe adapted from the inu-baka blog:

The base of his meals is the "Ultimate Shiba Meatloaf", which consists of ground beef, turkey, chicken, liver, assorted veggies (broccoli, carrots, string beans, etc), blueberries, parsley, eggs, flax seeds, and melted cheese:

The meatloaf is then mixed with a combination of the following depending on the day: cottage cheese, bonito flakes, kelp, oatmeal / rice, plain yogurt, fruits (apples, mangos, bananas), sardines, salmon, pepitas, and pureed pumpkin.

The result:

And while his food is being prepared, Shio likes to play quality control:

Photos taken with Lumix GH2, with Toy Lens.

By the way, for Shiba owners looking for a compact camera that is easy to carry around with their Shiba, I cannot recommend more highly the Panasonic Lumix GH2. This camera has the ability to take awesome photos, as well as HD video. The lens used here is one I purchased on eBay for under $40. It really is the best all-around camera when taking into the size and weight. Unfortunately, the GH2 is still mostly out of stock / backordered...