Monday, June 18, 2012

Shaved Puppy Belly

 Kai is bouncing back from his neutering surgery just fine.  Since the vet had to go searching for an undescended testicle, Kai had to have his belly shaved.  It looks funny, but since it's been in the high 90's this week, it's probably actually cooler for him this way.  He's licked the suture area a little bit, but not too much, and the area is healing nicely.

I think Kai is getting a little stir crazy, though.  The vet said no walking or playing fetch with Kai for about a week, at least, and no other vigorous play activities.  Kai really WANTS to play, though.  I think we'll be able to start walking him again by the end of the week. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Deed is Done

in the waiting room on the morning of the Big Day
We took Kai to get neutered a couple of days ago.  He had to fast from the previous evening, at 6pm, until we took him to the vet.  No food, no water.  No treats at bedtime.  Kai kept looking around for his water bowl in the evening, and I felt bad.

The vet had already told us that they wanted to keep Kai there for a couple of days following the surgery, so I knew that it would be a quiet time at home.  It was weird to come home for lunch and not have a puppy bouncing around everywhere.  It was just Molly, and she is so tiny (only a 7 pound kitty) and mellow.  Molly was meowing at me more than usual, almost like she was trying to ask me where the monster went.  I couldn't stop thinking about Kai all morning.  I knew the surgery might get complicated because one of his testicles never descended.

Chris called the vet in the afternoon, as instructed by the vet, and found out that everything went fine.  Kai also got microchiped and had his nails trimmed, and was just resting.

We picked Kai up after two nights at the vet.  He was really excited to see us!  He looked somehow smaller than I had remembered him... maybe because of the surgery, or because part of his underside was shaved.  The vet had to make two incisions, one right in front of Kai's scrotum (to remove the normal testicle) and one along the side of Kai's penis (to go into the abdomen).  Kai has sutures, so we'll have to take him back in two weeks to get those removed.  I hope that isn't too traumatic.  Poor little Kai.  It almost looks like someone tried to cut his penis off.  :(  (I wanted to take a photo, but Chris refused to let me.)  He is doing great, though.  They didn't even send him home with a Cone of Shame, because he hasn't been messing around with his surgery area.  The vet told us to not play too vigorously with him or take him on walks for a week or so while he's healing.  And Kai doesn't seem to hate us for sending him away to get his balls chopped off.

Kai was so happy to come home with us.  Normally he rides in a crate in the car, but we let him ride up front with us for the 1.5 mile drive home.

I know that getting Kai neutered was the right thing to do.  It actually was in our purchase contract with the breeder, for one thing.  And in Kai's case, an undescended testicle can mean a high chance of testicular cancer in the future if it's not removed.  It can also cause the dog pain, if the testicle is sitting at a weird place in his abdomen.  We have no desire to breed or show him, so he doesn't need to stay intact.  He will be happier because won't have that need to "sow his seed".  But part of me still feels a little sad and guilty.  I kept thinking of the Avox in the Hunger Games books, for some reason.  The Avox are characters... slaves... who have had their tongues removed so that they can't speak.  Obviously, Kai isn't a "slave", but he is fully dependent on our decisions for him.  He didn't get a say in whether he kept his balls or not.  He had to go through a somewhat invasive surgery, and two weeks of recovery time, to remove those dang balls.  We would never remove a human boy's testicles if the boy knew that he would never want kids!  I know it's not the same thing, though.  I had an unneutered dog, a terrier mix, as a kid, and he would occasionally run away to do this thing.  He'd always come back.  But one time, he didn't come back.  We got a letter from the city a week later, saying that he had been hit by a car and was killed.  He was identified by his tags.  So for me, as an adult, I know that I would always want to spay/neuter my pet, just for that reason.

Kai gets a treat for being such a brave boy.

Anyway, it's all over now.  Well, the big part is over... we still have to take him back to get those sutures removed.  I don't know how that will go.  I am already having visions of Kai Shiba screaming all over the place, and (for once) I can't say that I would blame him!

Everyone was tired by the end of the day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Doggy Dash

fun times at the Doggy Dash
Chris and I took Kai up to see the events at the Doggy Dash last weekend.  The Doggy Dash is a 5K run sponsored by the Sacramento SPCA.  In addition to the race, they have tons of vendor booths, demonstrations, and fun contests (costume, tallest dog, etc.).  We didn't run this year... Kai is still learning how to walk on a leash... but there was still so much to see there!  Kai did so good.  It was super crowded, both with people and with other dogs.  Kai wasn't scared or monstering at all.  He was just friendly and interested in everyone, both human and canine.  I was so proud of him.  He got really tuckered out, though, and Chris ended up carrying Kai back to the car.

Kai with the Great Dane who won "Tallest Dog"

Kai and another Shiba, who was also named "Kai", watch the festivities.
Kai's leash skills are still somewhat lacking, but he has made HUGE progress as far as his fear of the leash goes.  He used to tantrum and Shiba scream like nobody's business when we would try to attach the leash to his collar, but now he will sit still and let us do it.  I can tell that he still doesn't really like that process, but now he knows that once the leash is on, something fun (like a WALK) will happen.  We were able to get him to accept the leash by first giving him treats while holding the leash in the treat hand... then touching the leash to him while giving him a treat... slowly, over time, extending that out.  And we made sure to use the word WALK a lot when we would start out.  Now, if we ask him "Do you want to go on a walk?" he immediately gets excited and runs to the back gate to get ready.

We're using a martingale collar for walks now.  Kai slipped his regular collar last week when I was walking him and nearly gave me a heart attack.  I had to chase him down the street and lure him back to me with treats.  The martingale collar seems to be working well for now.

Tomorrow will be a big day for Kai... he's finally getting neutered.  It's hard to believe he's already at that age, six months old!  I hope it all goes smoothly.  I hate to think of my little guy having to go under the knife, but I know we need to do it-- and better to just get it over with, I guess.  The vet likes to board the dog after the surgery for a day or two to make sure the dog has calm recovery time, so it's going to be a quiet couple of days around the house.  Poor little Kai.  I hope he doesn't hate the vet (and us) after this!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chris Jr. and Sr.

You can almost see the family resemblance in these photos!  They have the same look in their eye.  That's only one of the many reasons I sometimes call Kai 'Chris Jr.".

 Kai gives his dad kisses.

Shibas are a handful, but they are never boring!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Shiba Party!

Kai waiting to meet some of his kind.

Chris and I took Kai to the 22nd Annual Shiba Party in Novato, hosted by the Shiba Fanciers of Northern California.  I heard that it's the biggest Shiba event in the country, and there were many Shibas there of all colors, ages, and sizes.  It was so fun to see the variation in them all!  Kai did pretty well.  He wanted to play with all the Shibas, but (as typical to the breed, I guess) many of them weren't really interested in playing.  He did get to play with a few of them, though.  It's crazy seeing Shibas play together.  Definitely more teeth than when Kai plays with other dogs!


Kai seems like he's a normal size for a male Shiba of his age.  At 5 1/2 months old, he actually is already bigger than a lot of adult female Shibas.  He's also redder than most of the ones we saw, and he doesn't have as much white on him (although I guess that could still change over the coming months).  There was one girl there that looked a lot like Kai, with a very red coat and black tippy-tail.

just a few of the many other Shibas at the party

 I was surprised to see quite a few Shiba puppies at the party.  I personally would be scared to bring a pup who wasn't fully vaccinated to a dog park, but I suppose it's a great opportunity for socialization.  It's hard to believe Kai was that tiny and fuzzy only a few months ago!


 There were a lot of fun events and contests scheduled for later in the afternoon, but we got fairly tuckered out so we didn't stay for that stuff.  Maybe next year :)

Kai sticks his tongue out at the camera.