i, taro the shiba, recently received this question from Mary in Washington D.C.:
“What was your name before adoption? I read the SIRA site at least once per week and gaze longingly upon the shibas there because I hope to be owned by a shiba some day. I remember seeing you up for adoption there, but can’t remember what your name was.”
my name, even when i was with SIRA (Shiba Inu Rescue Association), was taro. you can see here in SIRA’s 2009 adoption page that i was listed as taro and that there was no name change listed.
but that doesn’t mean i didn’t change names… although my humans didn’t give me a new name, my SIRA foster family did.
before i came to my forever home, i was named timmy. when i got to SIRA, the foster mom noticed that i never paid attention to my name. i know that a lot of shibas ignore their humans, but i wouldn’t even look over to my foster mom to let her know i was ignoring her; i was completely unresponsive to the name timmy. my SIRA foster mom also thought that i didn’t really look like a ‘timmy,’ which seems like a fair point.
determined to get me a new name, my foster mom started going through japanese names online and saying ones she liked to me. i didn’t respond until she said taro. and each time she said it, i continued to look back at her. she liked the name even more after reading its online definition: ‘big boy, strong boy.’ she thought it was both descriptive of my personality and a nice contrast with my physical stature.
in a more literal translation, though, taro can mean ‘eldest son.' i favor this definition, since i am the first and only “child” of my chosen humans, and it emphasizes my important familial role. but while i may be the eldest and only “child” of my humans, we do hope to have a shiba sibling for me one day!
so, Mary, i hope this answered your question! thank you very much for asking. and we hope that you, too, are owned by a shiba one day!
if you would like to ask me a question, you can do this in one of three ways:
have a good weekend!
This post is a reply to this previous post from FYEAHSHIBAINU.
If you’re looking to add a shiba to your family, in addition to using services like petfinder.com, we strongly urge you to check out shiba rescues. There are a lot of shibas out there that need new homes. In addition, wanting a puppy is not a good excuse for not looking through shiba rescues: it’s not uncommon for a rescue to have dogs under a year old that are available for adoption.
Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of shiba rescues on the web:
If you do decide to use a breeder, it is very important that you go to a reputable breeder. On the internet, it’s really easy to be duped into thinking a backyard breeder or a puppy mill is a quality breeder. Here’s a recent story from tumblr blog A Panicky Shiba about problems with a non-reputable Shiba breeder: my dealings with RightPuppy Kennel. [Note: while it may be surprising, it’s not uncommon for reputable breeders to be cheaper than irresponsible breeders, puppy mills, & pet stores].
So, how do you make sure your breeder is reputable? The first thing you need to do is read the checklist How to Spot a Responsible Breeder from Jenna & Snickers. It’s full of great tips and warnings, as well as ways to find a responsible breeder. [Update: Also see the House of Two Bows’ ‘A Hypothetical Puppy Search in Seven Steps: Internet Tools to Evaluate a Breeder’. It’s an excellent resource!]
After reading that, you’ll most likely want to start searching at the National Shiba Club of America, which is the shiba club for the AKC. The website has a list of regional clubs (which you can call to find reputable breeders), as well as a directory of breeders that have agreed to abide by the clubs’s code of ethics. This list, National Shiba Club of America Breeder Directory, is likely the safest breeder directory that you can find.
So, if you decide a shiba is the right dog for you and you’re looking to add one to your pack, we sincerely hope you’ll look at rescues first (after all, taro the shiba is a rescue alumnus of SIRA). However, if you do go with a breeder, please be careful and responsible in choosing a quality breeder.
Great post on From the House of the Fox Dogs: ’You Get What You Pay For (A Lesson on Choosing a Dog Breeder)’. It’s a lesson on how to choose a breeder, how to educate yourself, and how a ‘bargain dog’ can cost you more down the road.
Also via From the House of the Fox Dogs, this post on DogPlay.com provides a pretty definitive checklist you need to go through before buying a dog. This will help ensure the breeder you are choosing is humane and responsible, as well as help protect you from the negative aspects of adopting a dog from an irresponsible breeder.
Via Masakado Shiba Inu/Too Naughty Shibas: ‘What Constitutes a Puppy Mill?' This post provides a very helpful list of signs of an unethical breeder/puppy mill/dog farm.
you probably already know this, but i was a rescue dog. i came through a foster home in Phoenix that was associated with Shiba Inu Rescue Association (SIRA). here’s my gotcha day pic with my humans:
my pack loves rescue shibas. so, recently, my human kai joined @shiba_rinji's human dad (we'll call him @frizwiz, which is his twitter handle) on another one of frizwiz’s visits to Animal Guardian Network Ranch. kai and frizwiz went up there to volunteer to hang out and play with rescue shibas.
about the Animal Guardian Network:
The Animal Guardian Network, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to saving the lives of animals and keeping pet families together through our many programs.
The purpose of these programs is to provide the assistance essential to keeping pets in their loving homes thereby helping to reduce the number of pets euthanized every day in the county shelters. Being financially disadvantaged is not synonymous with an inability to provide a loving home. It is just an opportunity for us to make a difference in the life of an animal and their guardian by lending a helping hand.
while kai and frizwiz were there, the ranch had something like 8 dogs (among other animals) that were being fostered/rehabilitated/adopted out. some of the shibas came from tough situations (neglected by animal hoarders, hit by a car, etc.), but all are doing well/continuing to improve under the constant care of the animal guardian network.
kai and frizwiz met 5 of the shibas:
kai has pics of all these shibas except picture-shy keiko. but keiko is in two of the videos kai took!
video 1: treat time
video 2: akima gets a treat, while shibas line up behind kai
two shibas are one shiba is currently up for adoption (akima & niko) through animal guardian network [edit: niko has been adopted! congrats, niko!]. i sincerely hope that whenever these shibas get into new homes that they find loving, forever homes. with carrie, who runs animal guardian network, in charge, we’re sure that those new homes will be everything that these shibas need and more (she’s amazing from what kai told me!).
want to donate to Animal Guardian Network? on the bottom of the Animal Guardian Network homepage, there’s a link to donate on PayPal. i’m sure carrie, the shibas, and the other rescue animals there would appreciate it!
bonus! some shiba rescue pics/video from @frizwiz:
yesterday morning my humans (kai & tra) helped transport kitsunae, a gorgeous three-year-old red female shiba, from her old home to animal guardian network ranch. my humans really enjoyed transporting her; she’s quite lovable and was great in the car. my humans are very hopeful that she’ll be adopted quickly and are certain that she will bring much joy to whichever family adds her to their pack.
once out at the animal guardian network ranch, kai & tra greeted some of the shibas that are there & waiting for adoption. in a perfect world, all these shibas would be coming home to play with me! but, since that’s not an option, i want to publicize the fact that these shibas are all ready for adoption.
if you or someone you know wants to add a rescue shiba to their lives, please consider contacting carrie at the email address listed in the image above. you can also visit the animal guardian network website to read more about carrie’s work or donate to help out these shibas and other rescue animals.
UPDATE: carrie uploaded to youtube a video of kitsunae & scout playing.
today is the one week mark of kiyomi coming home. my humans and i are typing up some background information on my sisfur so that we can answer some of your questions.
kiyomi was rescued from a puppy mill. we know that she was with a puppy mill breeder from age 5-6 (she turned 6 on april 2nd), but we don’t really know much before that. it is believed that she was in a different puppy mill before that.
over the ages 5-6 (when she was certainly with a puppy mill breeder), the puppy mill breeder claimed that kiyomi had never given a litter and had never been in heat. why? well, as the rescue found out after they got her, it turns out that kiyomi had pyometria (uteral infection). the vet said that it was a fairly serious infection. the vet added, if kiyomi hadn’t been treated, she wouldn’t have made it another six months.
the puppy mill was being closed down, and kiyomi was put up for auction. the auction took place on march 24. she was one of 28 shibas there (among hundreds of dogs). [you can see the auction list here; kiyomi is listed under the ACA name MH Foxie]. the auctioneer had explained that kiyomi had not had a litter, so she wasn’t going for the $1700 price at which some of the other shibas were sold. in fact, she received not a single bid.
finally, the auctioneer said something like, “first hand-up gets MH Foxie for $25.” the rescue group put up the $25… and, with that, Paws and Hooves rescue of Missouri secured kiyomi’s freedom.
you may wonder why rescues join in the auctions. there is controversy in this practice as the auction money does go to the puppy mill. the rescues that do this certainly cannot bid like other breeders—instead they look for dogs in obvious need of new conditions and to rescue unwanted dogs that might be euthanized. often, the rescue groups go in secretly as they fear being excluded from the bidding process in that auction or in future auctions. we recognize the controversy in this practice and can understand both sides of the argument. it should be noted that my pack is incredibly grateful that kiyomi is now part of our pack and we are glad that she received the medical attention she so desperately needed.
kiyomi was called cherry blossom by the rescue group. she was updated on shots, received a spay, got treatment for her pyometria, and had a full dental workup (including the extraction of four teeth). kiyomi was placed on petfinder, where my hudad first saw her.
a few days later (and after encouragement from our housemate *trick, and from rinji’s and tokyo’s packs), my human dad emailed the rescue group to ask about kiyomi. after a few days of going through the adoption process, including glowing recommendations from fellow shiba packs, kiyomi was cleared to join us on april 11.
my human dad, kai—with the assistance of family and rinji’s pack—flew out on april 20 to pick kiyomi up from the MCI airport. he had a few hour layover to talk to the rescue group, pay the pet fee and train kiyomi to be comfortable in her pet carrier. he then flew her back to phx. she flew beautifully—not even the slightest amount of fuss during the wind-aided 2 hours and 30 minutes of flight.
kiyomi and i first met just before the sun set on april 20. we met in an open field in the park near my house (the one with the dog park). my humom, tra, was there, as were kai’s parents. it was a very amicable meeting. we walked over to the dog park afterward and had no problems at all.
since then, everyone has been adjusting. we get along well, but still have arguments from time to time about space, affection, and kiyomi’s abundance of nervous energy. kiyomi is still struggling with walking on a leash (she aspires to be like shio!) and she has been known to pace when nervous (a spinning remnant of her puppy mill cage anxiety).
all in all, it’s been a fairly easy transition thus far; certainly, however, the transition has been made easier by access to helpful shiba advice and the receipt of multiple shiba welcome gifts from many different packs—thank you, all! we appreciate your care and your welcoming of this little shiba girl into our pack. everyone in my pack loves having her among our ranks.
i’m still working on my ‘kiyomi fact sheet.’ so, if you have questions about kiyomi, let me know on twitter or in the comments.