Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Wisconsin Four

This week we are in the process of taking in 4 shibas in the Wisconsin areas that we have nicknamed "The Wisconsin Four".  Two of these shibas, Gibbs and Minori, are "retired" breeders from a commercial breeder with an approximate age somewhere between 7-8 years old. Minori has severe gum disease, traumatic damage to one eye, and endometriosis.  She is very timid with people.  Minori was released to MSIR because she was no longer producing puppies.  While Minori is sure to overcome her physical hurdles, the emotional barriers will likely take months of care with a very patient foster home.  Gibbs on the other hand has pneumonia making it difficult for him to breath, his ear was black with infection and so swollen that the vet couldn't find his ear drum.  He also had a staph infection and a severe UTI.  But while he is also scared, despite all his health issues he is happy, and he deserves a chance to live out his senior years as a beloved family pet.



MSIR is also taking in two special needs puppies puppies from the same breeder.  These puppies were returned to their broker by the pet store because something was "wrong" with them.  One has a congenital heart defect and the other has "bad legs".  These are conditions we are finding more and more often in the young shibas coming in to rescue.  I had the pleasure of fostering a shiba with a heart condition a few months back.  Her vet bills totaled nearly $1000 for the special care that she needed due to her heart condition.

I will do the short and simple math for you...This month alone we are looking at likely needing to spend approximately $3000 on vet care for these four dogs (this is a guesstimate, it could be more, but likely not much less).  This estimate does not factor in costs such as food, routine preventative and other incidentals that occur during the routine fostering process.  The adoption fee for these dogs will total around $1000...and as you can see that leaves us with a bit of a defecit. 

The Wisconsin Four are being transfered to their foster homes this weekend but MSIR also has 17 other foster dogs in care to date.  Some of these dogs have been waiting for over a year to find their forever home.  Additionally, MSIR currently has a waiting list of dogs who need foster care that includes  owner surrenders who for whatever reason are being displaced from their families, shelter dogs, and commercial breeder releases.  We simply don't have the resources (time, money, or volunteers) to be able to help all of these dogs.

This is where you come in.

As a small, non-profit rescue organization we depend on our volunteers and donations to continue to be able to operate...and by operate, I mean save shibas.  Throughout the course of the past 18 months MSIR has taken in over a dozen shibas from commercial breeders which have heart or leg conditions that require special vetting, procedures, and surgeries.  The care for these "special needs shibas" average in cost anywhere from $500 - $2000 per dog to get the dog to a point where they will have a quality of life that includes being able to play, tug, and enjoy a short walk on a nice sunny day.

I have a special needs shiba myself that I adopted from MSIR, and I will tell you over and over how incredibly appreciative I am of the donations that came in to make his life possible, whether it was $10 or $100, our MSIR Alum Luigi was given the gift of a life from people who were willing to give just a little bit to give him a chance.  Elvis, was a scared commerical breeder release with luxating patellas who has blossomed into a loving and cherished family pet.  Zoey, required multiple surgeries to correct the patella issues in her legs and just finally, after over a year in foster care is moving into her forever home. 

Kei and Yukkio were a commerical breeder pair that were released to MSIR.  They were a bonded pair and very dependent on eachother, luckily they were able to find a forever home that could adopt them together.

To these dogs, and the families that adopt them, your donation is everything.

If you'd like to donate to MSIR please click here.  We understand that not everyone has the resources to be able to donate, but there are other ways that you can help as well.  MSIR is always in need of foster homes (remember that wait list I mentioned up above, help us knock that out by fostering for us), drivers for transports, people to work at events, people to evaluate dogs in shelters, and people to do home visits for prospective adopters.  If you can help in other ways, please email, or click here to complete our volunteer form.  We currently have over 1,600 fans on our Facebook Page.   If each of you donated just $1 we could cover the cost of a patella surgery on a shiba...if each of you donated $5 we could cover the cost of all of the vetting for the Wisconsin get the point!

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”  (Jack London)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zoey Update

This morning I reminded myself that in order for Zoey to get adopted, she really needs to get more comfortable in the outside world and with walking on leash. So I walked all three dogs for about an hour this morning, up to Strang Park. It was hot, so we took our time. Zoey pulled and resisted a little at first, tail between her legs with nervousness. But as we walked, she steadily improved.

We stopped to rest at the park, and I sat on the bench and gave the dogs attention as they laid and rolled in the grass. We were in no hurry, and were under a huge, shady tree in the center of the park. This gave us a 360 view of all the other walkers, joggers, kids, and dogs, though our sitting area was quiet. And Zoey's fear shifted into curiosity, then contentment. She settled in and laid down with my dogs, eyes blinking gently and no longer vigilant to the other activity in the park On the way home, her tail went back up, and she walked much more confidently. I felt like a million bucks, and thought to myself, "She has come a LONG way since May 19... She's about ready to be adopted!" It felt like a huge win. I am quite proud of how well my dogs have instructed her... and they do deserve most of the credit!


I attended a dinner tonight for our local Japan-America Society. It was at Sama Zama (the new One Bite), and I talked Kelly into joining since neither of us had been there yet. We arrived about 15 minutes late due to a soccer game Kelly was watching. No big deal.
But if we hadn't arrived late, we may have been sitting at one of the big tables rather than the "kids' table" (a 4-seater off to the side). This ended up to be significant. Patty introduced us to our dinner company, Mindy and Eric. I'd heard of Mindy for years, as she teaches Japanese in the Olathe district, and have been at some of the same language competitions in the past, but had never met her. She and Eric are both awesome & we had a blast talking with them.

At one point I mentioned my dogs (they're Japanese, after all), including Zoey, my foster pup. And they mentioned that fellow Japanese teacher Dianne was looking for a dog, as she & her husband lost their 18 year old mixed breed last fall. Mindy was telling us that she & Dianne just returned from Japan two weeks ago, and saw Shibas all over, and they had both fallen in love with them. I showed her a photo of Zoey and she said, "She looks just like Dianne's old dog!" I gave her my card with my information on it, but wasn't expecting anything.

BUT apparently as we were all on our way home, Mindy texted Dianne to tell her about Zoey, because Dianne called me before I had even pulled in to my driveway, to see how soon they could meet her! And... Long story short, Dianne and her husband Jerry just left my house. They loved Zoey, and showed me some photos of their old boy, Boomer, and he looks a LOT like Zoey. (Larger, but with the same pointy ears and curved tail, and SAME coloration!)

They are experienced with dogs and enjoy daily training. Sounds like Boomer had a very active/smart personality & they loved the challenge of keeping him engaged. We still have to go through the application process, but I think they'd be a FANTASTIC home for Zoey and they sound like they want her.

I'm going over there to do the home evaluation tomorrow night, and they're going to try to get the application done before then! Unbelievable. So, so excited and hopeful that this is the perfect home that little Zoey has been waiting over two years for. That would be sweeter than tonight's かき氷 (Japanese snow cone)! 

Update: The home visit went well, and Zoey was able to move into her furever home. After just a few short days she is doing well, and is very happy. Here is a picture of Zoey catching some zzzzz's in her new home. Congratulations Zoey on your graduation from "foster dog" to MSIR Alum!

(Jen R. MSIR Foster Volunteer)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Hi there, I'm Zoey! I'm a sweet young Shiba Inu. As you can see, my coat is pure white with subtle apricot shading, so I look a bit like an Arctic fox! I came to MSIR from a shelter, and I can be a little shy in new situations and with new people. But my foster mom says I warm up very quickly with a little patience, and I'm quick to learn. I LOVE attention and would love to sit and cuddle with you!

I had surgery on my back legs to correct a genetic problem, so I need much less exercise than a typical Shiba. I love walks and short play sessions in the yard, but I refrain from excessive running or rough play. But guess what—this makes me so easy to care for! (You don't hear that about many 2-year-olds!)   On top of that, I'm already fully housebroken and crate-trained. I will wait patiently in my crate for you until you return to shower me with attention.

I'm not interested in cats, and pretty much ignore them. I enjoy the company of boy dogs. (My foster mom says I'm a bit of a princess and like to be spoiled, so I'm not a good match with a dominant dog.) I try to be quiet and respectful at all times, and am eager to please. Ideally my forever home will continue to nurture and socialize me. Since extensive exercise is not required or recommended, I would do well with an older person.

My adoption fee is $300. Please visit and fill out an application if you'd like to meet me.

I hope you'll inquire about me today! I promise I'm a wonderful, beautiful girl who is ready to settle into my forever home with you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

MSIR Alum Bongo

It's been one year since we adopted MSIR alum Bongo! We couldn't be happier with him, he's brought so much joy to us. I'll never forget the first day I saw him, he was such a little chub! He's since then slimmed down and has turned into a happy, active, Shiba! Bongo loves to cuddle, and isn't happy if he's not being petted. He will absolutely let you know when he wants you to give him a belly rub, he gets quite huffy!

He loves to lay by the window and watch the world go by, but I'm sure he's keeping an eye out for all those squirrels he loves to chase! Traveling is another favorite thing of his, once he gets in the car he knows he's going somewhere exciting! Bongo enjoys spending time at Joey's parent's house the most, since he knows he'll get lots of treats there! He's such a friendly dog, and it's been amazing to see how he's bonded to us over the past year. Sometimes he can be a little too friendly though, and it makes for long walks when he tries to greet everyone he sees! If only he felt that way about other dogs! 

I can't being to thank you all enough for your amazing organization, if it hadn't been for us stumbling across the MSIR website one day we would've never found this amazing little guy who I can't imagine a life without now. And an even bigger thanks to his foster momma, Shirley for allowing him to be a part of our family! We look forward to many, many long, happy years with Bongo. He's our first Shiba and definitely not our last!

Thank you to Emily and Joey for giving Bongo such a great home, helping him get in shape, and for sharing your story!  Thank you to Bongo for being so dang cute!