Friday, March 30, 2012

MSIR Alum Update: Jace

We got Jace (he was Jase in the records) when he was about 10 months old. He is the perfect example of a true shiba - very standoffish, unless he knows and loves you.

We set out with MSIR to adopt a dog, but Jace came up in need of fostering. We had another shiba, Nami, who is a red sesame, who was two years old. As the transport was happening, we received a few emails about Jace - namely that he was very scared, and pretty angry. He would not let anyone get a good look at him, and the second leg of his transport people told us to probably just take him home before letting him out.

However, we knew he'd been on a long trip, so we carefully prepared, and let him out in our meet-up place. Although he was initially scared, he took to us, and claimed his place in the family within minutes. By the time we were back in the car, he was licking our faces and claiming his spot in the car. From the minute we arrived home, we knew he wasn't a foster - he was ours.

Jace came to us at 26 lbs., and has become a very hearty eater. He now weighs 38 lbs. which is a great thing - because little 14 lb. Nami loves to boss him around - and his weight often is in his favor! He's also a pretty good theif. He quietly sneaks things off the counters - we've lost chicken breasts, steaks, countless sticks of butter, and even bags of chips to his silent sneaking! He will stand on his hind legs, pick off what he wants, and then run to another room and DEVOUR whatever it is - so we have to be really careful with turning our backs!

Aside from his weight, Jace is steadily growing in many ways. He is very protective of us, and grows attached to people who play with him. A few throws of the tennis ball, and he will lick you to death! He is known for playing fetch for hours on end. :)  Although there are things that stick out to us as odd behavior, Jace's quirks are slowly being overcome. He was very used to being chained up, so he often doesn't know what to do with the opportunity to run and play. He very much likes to stick near us whenever possible. He especially likes to lay with me in bed if I get to sleep in - even above going outside or getting a treat!  Jace does not like to be scared, picked up, or touched. But, since he loves treats, we have worked with him and he's getting better about letting people touch his legs and paws.

Every day, Jace brings us so much joy! We were so pleased to have him join our family, and as he continues to grow and get more attached to us (and us to him) - we feel so glad to have been able to give him a good home. We keep encouraging our friends to check out MSIR, too, for their next friend!

Submitted by Gina H. (Minnesota)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Raisin Diaries...FUR!

HA boy did I do it today!

My shiba foster brothers and sisters are blowing their coats. You can just imagine the hair in our house right now.  Well, my foster Mom was brushing them and she sits on the floor and makes this pile of hair, then she picks it all up and puts it in the garbage. Well she was brushing them and putting the hair to the side. It was this big pile, kind of like leaves for kids. I jumped on the pile and started throwing the hair everywhere. By the time she realized what I was doing and caught me there was hair everywhere. Oh my Gosh it was fun!  The other dogs were chasing me and hair was flying. Good thing she owns a pet hair friendly vaccum.  I am so much fun right now and really cute. Max is a good dog too, he just needs a home that understands him.  We all do!

Check out this video of me an my foster brother Max playing.

Just see what some home is missing?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birthday Cake!

Birthday's are kind of a big deal in our house.  Especially birthdays of little shibas who are lucky to be alive in the first place.

A little over three years ago we adopted our MSIR foster, Luigi.  Luigi and his brother Mario were brought into the rescue because at four weeks they couldn't walk properly.  They were both diagnosed with one of the worst cases of grade 4 bi-lateral luxating pattellas that our rescue had seen.  Basically, this meant that their knee caps slipped in and out of place making it difficult to walk and bear weight on their hind legs.  We are finding that this is something we are seeing more and more of in shiba's and in the past year have done several surgeries to repair this in shibas ranging from ages of 6 weeks to 6 years.  Thanks to the very generous donations of our supporters and a fantastic vet who provides care to many of our rescues we were able to help both Mario and Luigi get a shot at walking.  They are both alive and doing well, and while Luigi does have a little "hitch in his giddy-up" I don't know that he knows the difference.  Luigi is still able to terrorize with the best of them, and at a whopping 17 pounds he tends to rule the roost at our house. 

This year Luigi celebrated turning 4 years old.  We call it his reign of terror because I am fairly certain that that is what our other shiba, Guiness, is convinced it is.  Luigi is a great dog, but a pesky little brother.  He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and doesn't feel bad about.  He's kind of a little "honeybadger-ish" in this way.  (By the way, if you aren't familiar with the honeybadger I suggest you google them because I am fairly certain they could be related to shibas).  Luigi is fantastic at playing the "I'm not touching you" game with Guiness and will follow him around the house getting just close enough to him to bug the crap out of him, but not close enough where he's actually doing anything wrong.  Any of you ever have to take a road-trip in the back of a sedan with an annoying little brother?  As you can see in the picture above...that's what Guiness's daily life is like with his little brother, Luigi.

Luigi is in many ways the heart of our trio (which consists of two shibas and a toddler).  He causes the mischief and if there is a growling Guiness or an upset toddler, chances are Luigi is involved in someway. He either stole the bone, or the brand new wooden railway tracks which apparently make a good substitute for a nylabone.  However, when it's all been said and done, the three of them do love eachother - alot.  And we love him too.  He is the un-aloof anti-shiba in many ways and when he's not too busy being lazy, sunning himself, or grooming he will happily come to greet you at the door and try to get a quick bite of your hair while he's at it (don't ask me why).  He loves to be petted and will lay by you, er on you, and share his extra fluff, which is never in low supply; as well as a kiss or two.  He is a great fur-brother and the perfect friend. For every moment he spends being horrible, he spends two making us so very happy.  At some point I will write a post about kids and shibas, because there is alot to be said, but we've been very lucky to have what we have.

People LOVE this dog.  I love this dog.  Many times I am not incredibly sure on why it is that I do, but I do.  He has brought so much joy and happiness to our family and while I can't quite put a finger on why he does, he definitely makes our family complete.  I think there is something about these "special needs" shibas.  They develop personalities that can carry them through in ways that their bodies cannot.  They learn to enjoy things more, or maybe they teach us ways to open our hearts and love them more, because we aren't ever incredibly sure on how much time we will have with them.  George Carlin once said "Pets are mini-tragedies just waiting to happen".  They really are, and sometimes especially these guys, but that doesn't and shouldn't stop us from loving them just the same.   In my opinion, the only difference between a "special needs" dog and a "normal" dog is that with the special needs dogs you know, in advance, some things you'll need to look for.  Having had alot of friends who have lost their pets suddenly and unexpectedly, I don't know that I think knowing what to look out for is necessarily a bad thing.  For me, there is some comfort in that.

Luigi is 4 years old.  And while still young, I do see his body starting to slip on him a little bit.  Despite our best efforts in providing supplements, therapy, exercise, etc he is developing arthritis and moves with a little more caution than he has in the past.  We take it for what it is, and while we hope that get 10 more years with him, we are always prepared for the idea that we might not.  But in all honesty, that's any dog isn't it?  We never will have enough time with the things we love most, and because of this I think birthday are a big deal and should be celebrated as such.  Birthdays are the anniversary of another great year that we have had to enjoy each other and should be celebrated - fur creatures and people creatures alike.

To celebrate his fourth of year of being wonderfully awful, Luigi was given a small cut of steak and a home made peanut butter birthday cake with cream cheese frosting. My husband even thought it smelled kind of did, lol.  While I am fully aware that many people throw me into the "crazy dog lady" category because I make a cake and we have a party for our critters - I am a thousand percent OK with that.  There are many worse things I could be.

And besides, I think he liked the cake...

Of all the things I have gained through my time experiencing with MSIR, the greatest is the opportunity to have Luigi join our family.  3 years ago, when he made the trip to Minnesota from Kansas City in blizzard conditions the thought of adopting him never even crossed our minds.  However, little worm that he his, he made a place in our hearts (even Guiness's) and when push came to shove we couldn't really imagine our house without him.  We made the decision to adopt Luigi, and despite the fact that the day I sent my contract in he ate a pair of my brand new Dansko's - we haven't looked back.

Luigi's "special needs" were the largest barrier he had to finding a great forever home, which is unfortunate.  He is sweet, and funny, and silly, and wild and can run and play and do most of the things our other, "normal" shiba can do - just sometimes a little differently, or a little more cautiously.  He'll never be a running partner, but lucky for him - I don't run.  He can't go to the dog park, but its not because of his legs, its because he tries to attack the big dogs every time we go.   Alot of shibas don't make it to the park.  However, he is happy, and he makes me happy, and he makes the people around him happy.  He is one of the best kind of dogs we could ask for.  So friends, I will tell you this, please don't discount these "special needs" dogs.  They are wonderful in so many ways.  And while yes, there may be a little more work and a little more heartache involved, it is so amazingly worth it. 

Luigi is a wonderful example of how all of the components of a rescue come together, and why all of our volunteers are so amazing and necessary.  To those of you who foster, who donate, who drive, who evaluate, who do home visits and the many other tasks that hold our organization together - Luigi's birthday celebration is a tribute to you as well.  Without your help, he would not be here today and our family would not be the same.  Thank you so very, very much!

Photograph taken by Lissarrague Images

"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole." (Roger Caras)

(Alison N. MSIR Board Member, Minnesota)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hey, it's me...Raisin!

Hi!  My name is Raisin.  From time to time I may write in and tell you all a little bit about how I am doing...well, at least until someone decides to make me their own.

When I came to the rescue I came with my brothers and sisters.  They said we all had some problems with our hearts.  I knew that I wouldn't have to worry because that's what a rescues do - they take in puppies and dogs like myself who may be a little broken, or sick, or naughty, or homeless and scared and they help them to become healthy good dogs.  Plus, they said I would get my very own home someday!  Woohoo!  I can't wait to have my own bed and people to snuggle with!

I was the runt of the litter and the other puppies were very mean to me. They were very good puppies but they would pin me on the floor and push me aside to get attention. They were so much bigger than me that they would not let me get at the food and would crush me. They were all over 7lbs and I was only 4.5 lbs. My foster Mom took me to this lady (my new foster mom called her a vet) who gave me shots and did mean things to me. She sent me to another vet that did more mean things to me. My heart pounds really hard but I don't know what the big deal is cause I just want to play and get some attention. 

That cute little white dog at the top of the page, that's my sister Koko.  She got adopted a few weeks ago.  Actually, all of my siblings got adopted.  I don't know why they got adopted before me because I think I am much cuter than them.  Well, that's what my foster mom tells me at least.  I mean, come cute am I?

My new foster Mom is really good to me. I have been with her 5 weeks. I have gained 3 lbs and now she will let me play with those other dogs I have been watching. She laughs at me a lot. The big boys she calls Wolf and Max will ignore me so I pull their tails and ears. They try to tell me stop but what the heck???    I will sneak up on them and steal their toys. I hear my foster Mom say be careful they are going to put you in your place but I don't know what that means, so I don't care.

She wasn't happy with me this morning. She takes me in the bathroom when she takes her shower and this morning I got the end of this paper that was hanging and ran around and around this white thing until there was no more paper to pull. I was really quiet so that she did not hear me. I heard her tell someone that I had wrapped a whole roll of toilet paper around the toilet what ever that is. She laughed when she yelled at me so I don't think she really meant it. I stole her sock too and kept running while she was trying to catch me. LOL, she needs the workout. She has started calling me Craizin Raisin because I do funny things.

My foster Mom is hoping someone will adopt me soon even though I have a heart issue. The cardio vet lady says I have something called a Ventricular Setpum Defect but I'm not sick right now and should live a long time with monitoring and proper care.  I guess that just means I get to go to the vet a few more times, but she gives me treats and tells me I'm cute so I'm OK with it.  I am so much fun and such a good puppy. I really do want a home of my own.

If you want more information on how to make me your own puppy you can search the shiba rescue site...I think there is a site that has more pictures of ME, and some other dogs that need good homes too.  Like my foster brother Max!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cute dog, what is it?

If you have a shiba inu, chances are you've been asked; "Cute dog, what is it?".  Depending on the kind of day you've had you may have a variety of responses at the tip of your tongue.  We have created this blog to help current and prospective shiba owners learn more about the breed, understand challenges, share the laughs, and seek the support that we as individuals owned by shibas often need!

Personally, I have two shibas.  I love those dogs to peices- but if I would have known my days of being able to leave my house and take a walk around the block without being interrupted to answer many questions about my dogs ("Is it a puppy? Is it a fox? Is that as big as it gets?") were at an immediate end I may have reconsidered and gotten a lab.  Just kidding...kind of.

So what are they? 

They are the best of dogs, they are the worst of dogs.  Shiba's have gotten alot of attention for their "perfect size", adorable looks, and for allegedly being a dog of the non-barking variety (a memo that both of my dogs missed).  They are accurately described as aloof or "cat-like" in nature and are very independent, but as much as they may act like they want nothing to do with you I believe that most shibas want nothing more than to be a beloved member of a family so long as it is on their their terms.  They are greedy (think of a kid who licks every cookie so no one else can eat them) and intelligent almost to a fault.  If you are looking for a dog you can walk off-leash, who is always looking for attention and affection, will always come when called, and will immediately love all new dogs they meet, then a shiba may not be the right dog for you.  However, if you are looking for a dog who will teach you a thing or two about humility, outsmart you, and who will make you laugh and love so hard it hurts, then you might be OK.  Shiba's are not for the weak of heart, and if there is anything I've learned its that you have to have a great sense of humor and an abundance of patience to be able to have the pleasure of co-existing with this breed.  If you can master the balance of crazy that comes along with them you will find yourself with a wonderful companion.  I give both of my dogs a pretty hard time, but the fact of the matter is that even though they have an amazing ability to make me nuts, I love them and they are a pretty key part of our family.  I am willing to take the good with the bad, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Chances are if you are reading this post it's because you are familiar with our organization. But if you aren't - I am going to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you.

Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue (MSIR) is a volunteer based, non-profit organization dedicated to helping displaced shiba inu dogs find loving forever homes. We assist shiba inu's in the midwest area (MN, WI, MI, KS, MO, IA, NE and IL). We are dependent on volunteers and donations to be able to carry out our mission and to give opportunities to shibas to be successful in their new homes.  Our rescue shibas come to us from a variety of places including commercial breeders, shelters, and owner surrenders. We operate under the belief that there is the right family for every dog and work carefully to screen our shibas and potential rescue homes so that we can place our shibas in the right forever home for them. More information on MSIR can be found at

Thankfully, the nature of shibas leaves them open for endless discussions and we are looking forward to having much more to share!  Welcome to our blog and thank you for reading!

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