Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hypnotized by the Puppy Cam

You've probably heard of the Puppy Cam by now. It's online live streaming video of six Shiba Inu puppies. It's warm, it's fuzzy, it's comfort food for the brain, and I am embarrassed to admit that I have become entranced by its charms.

The puppies are ridiculously cute, and I have to say that right now, with all that is going on in the world, and all the responsibilities I find falling on my shoulders, the idea of being a little puppy nestled among my five brothers and sisters is a sweet escapist fantasy. This morning I had the Puppy Cam window open on my computer's desktop but it was buried under another active screen, and I suddenly heard whining and whuffling sounds. After a moment of confusion I realized "The Puppies are awake!"

So all through the day, I'm writing and taking conference calls and my little pals are there on mute.

I have a special connection to the Puppy Cam because my family actually has a Shiba Inu. Kiba is ten years old now, and most days he still has the crazy energy of a puppy. Michael and I got Kiba after our visit to Japan together in 1998. I saw a postcard of a Shiba Inu puppy, and just like that, my lifelong disdain for dogs was replaced by love at first sight. We researched the breed and it was totally unsuitable for our needs, given that we wanted to have a baby. We went to a dog show and saw them in person, and they were beautiful but perhaps a little high-strung....

Here comes trouble

We got our puppy anyway, which was one of the least rational decisions I've ever made. I will warn you that even a five-pound Shiba Inu is a handful. I do not recommend the breed for families with small children or households where a lot of young kids come to visit. Shiba Inu are described as "fiercely loyal" which is a nice way of saying they aren't always friendly to strangers.

But in a weird way, getting Kiba felt like my karmic preparation for parenting. I had to deal with chaos, and leadership. If a Shiba Inu feels that there's no leader in the family, he will try to step in and dominate. And you definitely don't want to live in a home "ruled" by a Shiba. Michael and I took Kiba to "puppy school" every week for over a year. We worked with a gifted trainer, and then a not-so-gifted trainer (who was closer to home) who said that Kiba was so dominant and aggressive that we might have to give him up when our baby arrived. Instead of panicking we made the trek back to the gifted trainer and everything worked out fine in the long run.

There are tons of Kiba stories, some almost as funny as Marley and Me. The worst/best was when he went to the vet's to get neutered he almost escaped--he was one door from daylight. He was so ornery that they had to use the "rabid dog stick" to control him, and they asked me to come pick him up an hour after waking up from surgery, rather than letting him recover all day. Then, months later, when Michael brought Kiba back for another appointment on a particularly mellow day, the receptionist said, "Is that a Shiba Inu? You wouldn't believe the one we had a few months ago--he was a piece of work." Michael decided not to point out that this was the same dog.

Shiba Inu are incredibly intelligent, with a diabolical streak. They chew their way into lots of mischief and they can be a real pain in the butt. But at the same time, even during shedding season when dog fur tumbleweeds form daily and roll across the living room floor, I can't imagine life without him.

And when reality is just too much trouble, the Puppy Cam is definitely the best virtual pet I've found.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids loved the puppy cam! Thanks for sharing it.

3:32 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

It's definitely comfort food for the brain. I have gotten attached to those little guys!

4:13 PM  

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