Monday, February 07, 2011

Vacation, Days Four and Five

*The author of this blog wishes to place full responsibility for this entry on the shoulders of her very dear friend Kathy Elkins, without who's insight and gentle nudging there would be no Yoshi to faint and fawn over*

This was, until day four, possibly the worst vacation ever. We waited for breakfast every morning, and the waiter never came. Not even coffee! Housekeeping never brought the extra towels we asked for, the cat woke up up promptly at 6:30 am every morning, and the dog needed to be out and peeing by 6:45. On day three we got an inch or so of what is called "mixed precipitation", which means snow, rain, sleet and freezing rain alternately fell from a cloudy gray sky. Occasionally Gene would let me know what the temperatures were in Sanibel, Naples, and Orlando, Florida, and I would retaliate by telling him what restaurant we were to eat at that evening, or what activity had been planned for the day. We were cranky in fits and spurts, torn between reminding each other to be grateful for everything we have and a deep resentment at what we didn't have - sun, surf, and temperatures above freezing to be specific. I am not alone in my dislike of winter here. The excess precipitation has made us both miserable and worn out. But then on day four things began to look up.
We rose early and, in spite of the nasty looking road, we headed out on a three and a half hour quest for happiness in furry form. And oh did we get it!
Meet, officially and formally, Cape Cod's Fortunate Son, called Yoshi for short. And please forgive the fuzzy photo. Most photos of our little ball of sunshine look a lot like this:
He has an agenda and it does not involve sitting nice for pictures, thank you very much! Yoshi is a Shiba Inu, although he's been called, in the last day and a half, a Basenji and an American Eskimo Dog. The Shiba is the smallest of six (some would argue seven if one includes the Tosa Inu) native breeds of Japan. The best known and most common are the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu. Shiba share some characteristics of the Akita, but are significantly smaller and so far appear to have much greater internal energy.
We drove home as cautiously as we could. Somewhere along the journey I sent this photo to my dad with the comment "Um. I think I just paid a lot of money for a very nauseous red fox."
Once we got off of the Cape and onto 495, he settled in a bit more. Although still queasy, he drooled a lot less and appeared at times to even nap a bit. For him this was a day of intense and awesome change. This was his first long car ride, his first trip away from the only home he'd ever known and the first time away from his mom and litter mates. The stress has to be unreal. It's about the equivalent of taking an 8 month old human baby away from it's mother in terms of development. Anyone who's had an 8 month old baby knows that they can be clingy, insecure, and a little cautious of strangers. We stopped once at a rest area in Westborough, MA on the Massachusetts Turnpike. He met his first "other" dog there - a very geriatric Chihuahua named Lucky. Yoshi means good fortune or good luck, so this seemed appropriate. Lucky was very tolerant of Yoshi's infantile sniffing, and Lucky's mom wished us well on our journey with the wistful reminiscence of a loving dog mom. It felt good and right that we met them. It also gave Yoshi the opportunity to make a choice - me, the stranger he barely know, or Lucky's mom, the one he didn't know at all. It reinforced the bond. He wanted to be nearer to me, which made me feel more secure in my role as new dog mom, and him more secure in himself - he met new people, and they went away, but I didn't.
After a four hour return trip, we arrived at home. He met Boo, which went differently than I expected - not badly, just differently. I expected Boo to have an issue, and in the end it was Yoshi who had one. Scared, stressed, and confronted with what must to him look a lot like a giant black buffalo he sought to defend himself from intrusion with a growl and hackles raised. Boo was confused, and a little rebuffed. I explained to Yoshi that he did not need to behave that way, and they soon settled into mutual tolerance. Today it looks more like acceptance with a hint of jealousy on Boo's part. Tomorrow that will change, and by the end of the week I suspect we'll be at love. Boo needs this boy as much as I do.
Yoshi opened right up once we got settled. Every inch of this level of the house has been investigated. Kitchen first...
then his night-time crate, which used to be Dazee's...
and then the ever-important toy basket. He has an accumulation of toys from siblings he's never met. A couple of things that we've had since Kioshi, some of Boo's baby things, and most of Dazee's stuffies and Nylabones are in here. There's also a new bag of tennis balls and a stuffed owl from Girl. He's set for a while!
We went out for a walk after some rough play time and fetching, and he discovered snow. He also went right straght to where he'd seen Boo poop earlier and did so himself. This bodes well. There have been, at 36 hours, no potty accidents. He has actually asked to go out on a couple of occasions which totally impressed me. Maybe I should not be surprised. Japanese breeds seem to be fastidious by nature.
We had a long night. Again, imagine being wrenched from your mother, handed to relative strangers, and driven three hours from the only home you've ever known. He woke up about every 2 hours all night long and set to making enough noise to raise the dead. But this morning he was confident and engaged, playing and romping with Girl before she left for work, and walking with me in the snow.
He walks well on a leash, and for the most part stays beside me. We're using a short, 4-foot leash for a few days until I am used to how he moves and he is used to the environment. This proved to be a good choice this morning when he was spooked right to his gizzard by the neighbor's car. Another first - and obviously it was out to kill him! We will work on social experiences with vehicles, first running and not moving, then moving a little, and so on until he is respectful but not fearful.
He also loves his mom - smarty-pants-boy! (Why pink? Because with that in your arms, don't you think you'd be seeing everything through rose-colored glasses, too?) Lots of love and kisses and more love and more kisses. He loves to be held, loves to be on me, near me, beside me. And I am very happy about that. It's what I wanted. I want him to be attached to me, healthfully, so that we can do things like Rally, and if he's interested, Agility. Small steps, and we have a way to go, but so far he's on a good track.
He is super alert, but very attentive to what I am doing and where I am, which bodes well for performance. He's also very easily motivated by food. Sometimes a bit too motivated - he has discovered which pocket may contain treats already!
I think he will be great around chickens, don't you? No problems at all... Really he will be introduced to them very cautiously and with a great deal of supervision. Shiba are hunting dogs by descent, and chickens are certainly (and deliciously) hunt-able!
No fear! When I sent this to Mr. W this morning he said "We should have named him Curious George". He learned once the stove was lit that it may not be the best place to investigate, but not until after he'd covered the back of his head with soot and stolen kindling twice from it before it was going.
This vacation has certainly turned a corner. Although Gene went back to work today, the vacation technically doesn't end until Tuesday night, which would have been our return. Looking at this face I think, right now, that vacations are highly over-rated. But then he makes it easy to think like that!
The future around here is so bright you have to wear shades. Just look at him! Welcome, Yoshi. Here's to a minimum of 15 years of fun!


Cathy said...

What a beautiful, moving ball of furry fun! Thanks for sharing your first days with him with us. How has he reacted to yarn and knitting needles??

Sharripie said...

What a cute, sweet face on that pup! How exciting for you all!

Anonymous said...

We acquire TWO Border Collie pups in August. They were only 7-8 weeks old when I got them and now our 14 year old Australian Cattle Dog, Lucy, gets to play mama for the first time. It has been great for all of us!
The pups were born the same week as our first grandbaby, so we have lots of milestones to compare!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Makes me wish I had a puppy. Love him for me.

Minh said...

So cute!!! I don't think that any Disney ride could give you the same kind of love back :)

tina said...

He is ADORABLE------ such love this furry baby will give you! I'm happy for you even with the loss of vacation.

Angela said...

What a precious little boy! I have been a new mom to 5 puppies in my adult life and, like my human children, each one is different, but fantastic. Have fun, I know you will!

Anonymous said...

Oh hurray! He looks like he will be keeping you on your toes :o)

Yarnhog said...

He is so adorable! Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. :)

I'm hesitant to ask, but what happened to Dazee?