Monday, December 08, 2008

How much is that doggy in the webcam?

Shiba Inu is one of the few canine breeds first developed in Japan, with a developing interest around the world. The dogs were bred by indigenous Japanese tribes to hunt for boar and small mammals. Their colors range from cream to red to brown and even black, wolf like snouts, and known to be good protectors of their humans. A friend of mine, who has enough furry friends at home to make Cruella de Ville envious, is considering getting one of the dogs, after seeing a documentary about several dogs at a US dog parade. She sent me the link to a puppy cam with live feeds of 6 Shibas:

While they are typical puppies, gamboling, playing, eating, sleeping, I've caught a few sweet moments during the live feed, typically when one puppy has just woken up, finds his or her siblings still sleeping, walks over them and then pillows its head on one of the others tummies, then goes back to sleep. Watching them makes me wish I had another dog for my own tousled head poodle, but one dog is enough right now, especially since she and the master or our domain, ie the cat, are not getting along at all. Seperate domains are all I can provide at the moment, thankfully the dog is bit more mobile, willing to take rides to my parents house at the drop of the hat.

At the recent bookclub reading, we chose The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a modern day retelling of Hamlet with a healthy dose of the Dog Whisperer mixed in. The book has been receiving a lot of strong praise, it then was chosen as an Oprah bookclub selection, but 6 out of the 8 of us who read the book and went to the dinner last week were less than enthusiastic. I had been enthused to read the book after hearing good reviews from other readers, but found myself dragging to get through the book after 100 pages. The parts that needed serious editing tended to be about the dog breeding strategies and the letters between the dog enthusiasts who had their own opinions about what characterized scientific breeding of dogs for specific traits. One of our readers had sincere concerns about the mental and emotional strength of the title character who she described as downright crazy. But then we all had doubts about any of the characters' ability to make the right choices; the mother falling into bed with her recently deceased husband's brother given the animosity between the siblings; the anthropomorphic development of the dogs (some serious mind reading between humans and dogs in this book); plus the ambiguous mystery of how the father died.

The only revelation that came to me during the dinner was that not a lot of people seem to know their basic Shakespeare. Most of us who attend the book club are educated in the western canon, but so many of the attendees didn't know the basic plot or characters of Hamlet, or got characters mixed up with other Shakesperean tragedies. Maybe too many of us take our liberal arts education for granted.

Back to the Shibas, 2 of the puppies waved farewell on cam, one more heads out to its new home in a few hours. At 8-9 weeks old, they are much younger than the Sawtelle dogs were when released to new homes, but that is typical of these days of modern dog adoption. Even though I am new to the Shiba puppy watch, I think they are golden bundles of puppy love.

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