Sunday, November 29, 2009

Speaking of LOLZ

Not that this has anything to do with Tinky-Winky, but I love LOLZ, and for the first time, two of my LOLZ got into the "Upcoming" queue on I Can Has Cheezburger. Yay me!

Raven hunting

Tinky-Winky LOLZ

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rumbly in her tumbly

I came home from work Tuesday night and I could hear the dog growling before I saw her. Specifically, her gut was growling.


Long before this blog, Tinky-Winky spent a week in hospital with "hemorrhagic enteritis", so I'm a little paranoid about rumbly in her tumbly. However, she was clearly not uncomfortable, not wishing to go out just then, and not throwing up. In fact, she lay down with me for a nap and fell asleep right away, with her gut growling like an angry tiger. In a way, it was comical.

When we went for our evening walk, her stool was normal, and the walking toned down the rumbling for a while, but it came back when we got home. She went to bed with her gut still rumbly. In the morning, she was fine again.


My theory is, it's because she had milk Monday night. Some times she craves milk, so I offer it to her periodically in case she's needing it. Then she drinks a few ounces of it and she's off it for a while again. And I know she's not lactose intolerant, because she eats cheese and she's fine with it, so what I figure is, she doesn't have the right bacteria in her intestine to process milk. Why? Because I had that problem in my early twenties. I grew up drinking lots of milk, then went through two or three years of almost no milk, and when I started up again, I'd get the same thing she had. Finally I went to the doctor about it and that's what he said: not enough bacteria, eat lots of yogurt to replenish the milk-digesting bacteria. I ate yogurt for a week and I haven't had a problem digesting milk ever since.

So, I'm thinking next time the dog is craving milk, I'm going to give her yogurt instead, and see if that solves the rumbly in her tumbly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let's go home, Mama


Who needs a spaniel?

Technically, a shiba is a hunting dog. Tinky-Winky is a wicked mouser, a good digger after ground varmints, and an enthusiastic flusher of game birds. Back home in Hay River she usually flushes spruce grouse, but in this photo, she's after a flock of willow ptarmigan.

You can't really tell because I cropped the photos, but if I'd had a gun, I would have missed these three birds. They're all off to the right in the photos, so I would need to lead way more. With a camera, though, that came out pretty good. First time I've successfully photographed ptarmigan on the wing.

(That being said, Tinky-Winky doesn't like her prey taken away from her, so I'd have to get a second dog to do the retrieving.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I share my food with Tinky-Winky. I figure, she makes up 15% of the weight of our pack, so she can have up to 15% of my food. Except she has to get it last, after I'm done with it. So, usually when I'm eating she sits near me and stares, and I leave the last bite or two for her.

Except, some times I forget. Then I'm chewing on the last bite of food and I happen to meet her trusting little eyes looking at me in the full knowledge that I've left food for her, the faithful pack follower.


Some times I keep eating the food, because, you know, it's my food, and I give her plenty of her own.

A lot of times, I spit the food out and give it to her. Seriously.

Maybe I could go to a nice steak house, eat a big steak, and then regurgitate it for her. Wouldn't that be a great way to reinforce our pack bond?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An old photo

This is actually four years ago today. She's lying on a blanket I have that has the Chinese symbol "double happiness" on it. "Double happiness" is the happiness of marriage. I'm still a spinster, but I think the two of us together have plenty of double happiness.

The feeding ritual

Tinky-Winky will eat pretty much anything she can find on the ground, kill, or steal from another animal.

In the house, though, she's a fussy eater. Go figure.

Once upon a time, I used to feed her commercial kibbles and that evil stuff "Cesar". It's evil in that if you feed the amount they recommend, other than going very broke in very short order, you'll be feeding your dog about four times too many calories. And as for the commercial kibbles, which also recommends overfeeding your dog considerably, it's also not balanced right, therefore my dog gets cravings, therefore she eats more, therefore she gets fat. Commercial dog food is evil, I tells ya.

Anyway, Tinky-Winky never thrived on commercial food, and about two years ago she had gotten an infection and was really, really sick. She looked like a survivor from doggie concentration camp. She blew her coat, what was left of it was rough and brittle, she was thin and lethargic, and she had an abscess in one eye. Horrible. Of course she wasn't eating the commercial crap, so that's when I started cooking for her.

In two years, I've fine-tuned the recipe to something that seems to work perfectly. It's ground beef, eggs, rice, peas and carrots. I freeze it in small reusable container, and then I give her one a day. She likes them thawed in the refrigerator rather than in the microwave, too. And she gets free-fed Iams all day, too, but she doesn't eat a lot of that. It's more for snacks and for something crunchy and tooth-cleaning.

The downside of feeding home-cooked food is that she doesn't always eat it all. And I don't like her wasting food, especially when I can't even afford to eat meat every month myself, let alone every day, so I leave the food until either she eats it, or the smell gets too much for me and I have to throw it out. Gross, eh?

Well, now that we're living with a roommate, I can't do that, plus, Tinky-Winky is scared of the roommate and follows me obsessively around the house, so if I just feed her and walk away, she'll come with me and not eat at all. Thus I've hit on the perfect solution: I watch her eat, and when she's clearly not interested anymore, I put the leftovers back in the container, which goes back in the fridge, and I serve it to her again the next day.

And this is how I spend more time watching my shiba eat than socializing with people.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I love about my shiba

I love her smell.

Dogs smell. Most dogs smell bad. Tinky-Winky smells good. Well, "good" is a matter of taste, I guess, but she doesn't have dog smell. What her smell reminds me of most is overdone toast or cookies. Not quite burned yet, but definitely overdone.

I love also that I know her smell. Humans suck at recognizing creatures by smell, but I know the smell of my dog. Yay me!

Truth be told, there isn't a whole lot about my shiba that I don't love, but the smell is definitely something I do love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breed matching test: FAIL

I'm a sucker for online quizzes. So, I took the breed matching test someone recommended.

Ok: first of all, a "yorkipoo" isn't a breed, it's a mutt, so if we're trying to match me to a breed the test is a failure right from the conceptual stage.

Second, the breed test is missing a few crucial questions, such as, say, what's the weather like where you live? Because where I live, there is snow on the ground eight months out of the year, and the temperature gets down below -40°C at least once a year. This is very relevant to my choice of dog. Obviously I need a dog with a double coat, or else it won't be getting any walks about eight months out of the year. So thanks for recommending the German pinscher... It's a cute dog, and totally not suitable for me.

Oh yeah, it might be an idea to ask if I want my dog's tail docked... because I don't. So there goes the German pinscher again, as well as all four other breeds the test recommended.

Also, it would be useful to consider how much I want to spend on dog food. A standard schnauzer (recommendation #3) is a nice dog... and it weighs twice as much as Tinky-Winky, so that's twice the food budget. Likewise the American water spaniel (recommendation #4). Corollary: bigger dogs poop bigger. I hate picking up giant dog turds. And the Portuguese water dog (recommendation #2) is almost three times Tinky-Winky and has no undercoat.

Then, there is the drooling. Ask me if I like dog drool? I don't, thanks for asking. Recommendation #5, the clumber spaniel, is known for drooling. Plus it has a squished face, and I specifically said I didn't want a squished face. (Actually, I said I expected the dog to jog with me, but that comes to the same - squished faces make it harder to breathe.)

Oh, and maybe it would be a good idea to ask how much I walk, and not suggest ridiculous things like a "peekapoo". I mean, other than the fact that I don't do mutts with stupid fake-breed names, how is a "peekapoo" going to walk 10 km a day in any weather?

All that being said, spaniels were the runners-up when I was shopping for a dog, but specifically, I like both the English and Welsh springer spaniels, and the brittany. The English springer spaniel comes in at #12 on my test, the highest of any breed I'd actually consider owning. At #11 is one of my favourite breeds I'd never own: the bull terrier. I adore bull terriers, but they're much too big for me, and have short coats.

Also, I can't imagine why it recommended the Belgian sheep dog and the Belgian Tervueren (#19 and #20), but not the Malinois, THE breed I always wanted until I realized they're too big for me. And I really can't imagine by what stretch of the imagination a pitbull seems like a good choice for me.

Out of the forty "recommended" breeds, in the end, there is ONE I would actually consider owning at this time.

On the other hand, under "bad choices for me", we find the Welsh springer spaniel (whereas like I said, the English springer is #12 on the "good" list), the Icelandic sheepdog (my current Plan B dog), and... the shiba inu. Hmmmm... Well good thing I did my own research instead of taking breed tests, eh? Shibas are absolutely perfect for me. The one and only thing I might prefer is if they'd heel better, but shibas are absolutely perfect for me.

Also, under the breed overview on that same site, some of the dumb things they have to say about shibas include:

  • amount of shedding: 3/5 (????? Shibas shed their entire coat twice a year. MASSIVE amounts of hair.)

  • good for novice owners: 3/5 (How about 0/5? Shibas need strong leadership, good training, and massive exercise. Novice owners suck for shibas.)

  • intelligence: 2/5 (Have these people ever met a shiba? Shibas are absolutely wily. Mine is smarter than most people I know.)

  • need for exercise: 2/5 (Ok, they haven't ever met a shiba. The only reason shibas aren't 6/5 on need for exercise is they're so small. But they're at least a 4/5.)
I could go on, but you're probably getting the point.

In short, if you're trying to figure out what's the best breed for you, whatever you do, don't use this test. They don't know jack about what breed you need.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Need for speed

Some people never let their shiba off the leash. In fact, some people will tell you you mustn't ever let a shiba off the leash, because shibas don't recall.

Er... What?

Shibas absolutely recall. But, the less you let them off the leash, the more they're going to try and make the most of it when they do get off the leash. So if you never let your shiba off the leash and then it escapes, good luck catching it.

The other reason shibas need to be let off the leash is because they're very, very fast dogs. Tinky-Winky, who's ten years old and the mellowest shiba her breeder has ever known, can run 40 km/h on a sprint, and 25 km/h over several kilometers. And not only she can, but she needs to. Back home where we get two or three 3 km off-leash walks a day, she will trot much of the time even off leash. Here in Yellowknife, where we can only have off-leash walks on the weekend, she runs the whole time she's off. And this is rough terrain, mind you. She doesn't care. She zooms over the snow and rocks for two hours. At some point she'll let me know that she feels it's time to go back to the car, but she still runs all the way to the car.

Off-leash is really the only way for her to get enough exercise, because not only I can't move as fast as she does, but also she covers considerably more ground in her meanders than I do, and if I had to walk that far with her on the leash, I'd probably trade her for a pug.

I love my dog.


The clip on her leash was frozen, so I took off her collar and let her run around naked. I don't think she can tell the difference, but I always find it weird seeing her outside without her collar.

This is she

This is Tinky-Winky, the hero of this blog. "Tinky-Winky" is her online name. Yes, my dog has her own online alias.

Tinky-Winky is a Canadian and American champion and one of the most successful shibas in Canada in her day, as was her late lamented father before her, and one of her sons since. She's also the mother of three litters. Some of her puppies and grand-puppies are showing successfully in places such as Montreal, Texas, and Argentina. Her first great-grand-puppies were born in 2007. She also has lots of cousins.

Born in 1999, Tinky-Winky came to live with me when she was retired from breeding at six years old. We've had some talks about dominance and aggression, and now after four years together, she's the world's most perfect dog.

At least she's the most perfect thing in my world.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yes, I have yet another blog

Some people devote entire blogs to complaining about their shiba problems. Other people read my blog and don't find the dog stories fascinating.


I'm solving both problems by creating a blog about the most awesome dog in the world: my shiba inu.

I'll tell you more about it when I got this customized somewhat.