Sunday, October 12, 2014

Birthday Gift

   "Enough with the funny hats… we were promised treats!"
   Okay, I know I'm having way too much fun taking photos of my dogs in birthday hats. But how cute are they, seriously?! While they enjoyed their kibble and carrots with seafood stew, I enjoyed my Kung pao noodles with spicy seaweed strips and "soybean sundae" (tofu with edamame and Thai sweet & spicy chili sauce). 
      And while today was TAYLOR'S birthday, it was ME who got the gift. Tonight I received a message from a woman at MSIR (Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue) who helped rescue Taylor from his original owners. I knew he had two homes before me, and I knew his name was Sailor, and I knew he lost home #2 when he kept busting through the invisible fence. But that was about it.
   She wrote, "Sailor was his original name (named after the Japanese Manga series—Jen: I assume Sailor Moon???). He was purchased as a puppy by one of my daughter's friends from a puppy mill in Seymour, MO. Her friend fell in love with my Shibas and next thing I knew they were asking me for advice with their new puppy—I even offered to train him. The girl's mom had several kids ages 17 to 2 years, and once the "cute puppy" wore off he was kicked out in the back yard with absolutely no training. He was a digger and fence climber due to boredom. I tried getting them to turn him over to rescue when he was 4 months old. By the time he was 7 or 8 months and after paying many fines to animal control, they gave him to me. He was a mouthy, ill-mannered boy who needed a home to show him love and attention. At the time I had two other fosters at my house, so he was sent to KC for his first foster home. She renamed him Taylor (we used to give "wild child" male fosters "T" names-—for terror!). And the rest is history. I am so grateful you have him. I love seeing him now and how far he has come from where he started."

   I wouldn't have described my boy as a terror, though he came to me with issues. When I adopted him he was a terrible door-bolter, and escaped my back yard once—I roamed the neighborhood for an hour and a half to recover him. He was terribly food aggressive, and I thought he and Aki might murder each other over their meals, so I had to physically separate them. And he must have been allowed on the bed before.
   I've put him through my version of Boot Camp, which included learning basic obedience and manners, building trust and respecting my authority, running with me to lose weight and burn energy, and an agility class. And now I'm proud to have him represent who I am as a trainer: far from perfect—but able to go virtually anywhere with me and leave a positive impression. If I could turn him into an off-leash dog like Aki, that would be the icing on the birthday cake. Maybe next year. ;)