Love Sick Relationships


The most amazing thing about dog ownership is the relationship that you have with your dogs based purely on interpretation of each other's behaviors. Shio understands my quirky habits better than I do and I always make the effort to figure out what he is trying to tell me. For example, if there is food on the counter he'll sit on the floor closest to the bowl and stare at me until he grabs my attention. Then whips his head to look up towards the bowl, then look back at me. It's very obvious what he's trying to tell me there! There are some less obvious interpretations that can only be known after co-existing for longer time periods. I came home early from work today to nap after feeling sick and found home greeting me at the door. He was not as enthused as normal but I was too groggy to realize. Then I went for a catnap in the bedroom and noticed that he climbed onto the bed to nap with me. Still groggy, I thought it to be a rare sign of empathy from our Shiba. I lightly napped and was awaken several times by his restlessness. Finally realizing that sneaking in a good nap was futile, I stood up and went back to my computer with him following closely behind. I had the inkling that something was wrong the whole time and finally followed my instincts and leashed him up for a walk.

Immediately upon walking out the door, Shio laid down on our welcome mat and vomited his breakfast. He then proceeded to quickly trot to our park to finish the rest of his business on a pile of leaves. This circle of excretion processes happened several times over the next 30 minutes and I took him immediately to the vet for some medication to ease his discomfort. I felt pain for having made him wait so long to go out and realized how considerate he was to hold it for as long as it could so that he wouldn't soil the home.

He is now feeling much better and has been sleeping it off. Test results come back tomorrow.

Shio and I had a difficult year but moments like these make me realize how fragile we both are and how much I love him.

Update on Emi

Emi lying on Shio

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!

Physical Appearance

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.



Personality Changes

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.

Black Friday

Shio and Goo Goo's Black Friday: Morning at the dogrun:

Baking post brunch:

Long walk around sunset -- which included numerous rounds of protests by Shio (Occupy Hoomans):

By sundown, Goo Goo showed off her bling in the dogrun:

Hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are thankful to have two shibas in our pack -- one of which has a personality 100x his size. No pointing fingers, Shio...!

Photos taken with Leica M8, Summicron-M 35mm f/2. Process with VSCO.