Interview with Jen on rescue dogs and fostering

Growing up, Jen was always surrounded by dogs. There were Irish Setters, Hounds, Poodles, German Shepherds, Terriers, Dalmations, Huskies, and mixes. As a child, her first dog was a Beagle/Basset mix named Woodsie. Interestingly, no Shibas. They came along later in her life -- in her early twenties.

 "I’ve always felt so connected to dogs, drawn to them.
I learn a lot about myself through them and feel like I'm more humane (yes, humane!) because of them."
-- Jen of Inu-Baka

During her early teens, Jen's godmother introduced her to the world of dog rescue, and Jen began fostering Chihuahuas for a week at a time. Through the years, she has fostered for a no kill shelter, on her own, for a Basset rescue, for a Shiba rescue, then all breed rescue, and now for her local shelter. All the while, she blogs about her experiences with dogs at Inu-Baka, which means "crazy about dogs." Yes, Jen is.

I admire her passion for rescue work and am so glad to have the opportunity to interview her.

1. How did you first become interested in shibas?
It all started with a neighbor. Yuka was a marvelous, beautiful, interesting older woman who lived on the same block as one of our previous apartments. She started talking to me because I was always with a different dog, and she wanted to know why.

We got to be pretty good friends, she taught me how to roll sushi and pronounce words like domo arigato and itadakimasu. One day she asked my husband what he thought of our “revolving door dog habit” and he told her how he was more of a cat person. She then told us about her family’s dogs – Shiba Inu - cat like, independent, fussy, loyal, and treasured dogs. It was enough that we started researching them and found Tsuki within 4 months. Yuka named Tsuki. My husband has since declared himself a dog person!
2. I've followed your blog for awhile now and you seem to have a love / hate relationship with shibas. Why is that?
Honestly, I really don’t know. I certainly have an appreciation for the breed, and I have a definite soft spot when one is in need (like with Rudy)… but all in all I don’t want to live with more than the two I have now. If that makes any sense. My inus are well adjusted, awesome dogs. I’ve met more shibas that have attitude & quirky behavior issues (normal for shibas) than I have well adjusted (as dogs go) ones. So, maybe I’m just comfortable with my two as they are now.

The more foster experience I have, the more I realize that maybe I’m not as true a “shiba person” as I thought. I’m just a dog person.
3. Are rescue shibas good for first time dog owners?
I think so. Wonderful inus of all ages are displaced due to human circumstances. Most times if any “issues” are present, they are also due to human error (like a shiba that isn’t yet housebroken, etc). More often than not you get a dog that just needs a few weeks of adjustment, proving to be a really awesome dog thereafter.

A prospective owner just needs to be fully aware of what a Shiba is and can be (the good and the bad), and be ready to dedicate themselves to their dog. Same as if you were buying a puppy, I’d hope.

Even if I don’t want any more shibas in my life, my Kitsu (adopted by us when he was 1y/o) is the epitome of devotion and love in a dog. The bond we share with him is so special, because he is now forever home.
4. Should someone looking for a shiba consider a rescue?
Absolutely. There can never be any guarantees when raising a puppy or finding an adult dog. You have the perfect example with your dogs, Loki is probably a lot different than you anticipated he would be, and Jujube fit in very well as an adult.

The benefit of rescue is that someone is telling you what you will likely get with this individual dog. So, really, you might be better prepared for your dog if you go through a rescue that fosters its dogs.
5. If someone is considering adopting a rescue shiba, is there any difference in getting one from a foster home versus one from a shelter?
Yep, see #[4]. Shibas in the shelter deserve the same consideration as those in rescue. I think for a less experience shiba person, or someone who may never have owned a dog before, adopting from a rescue who fosters their dogs can shed more light on that dog’s needs, limitations (like diet), quirks, likes, dislikes, etc.
6. What would you tell someone who might be interested in helping out with fostering a shiba?
Go for it. Honestly, what can you lose? If you have enough interest to consider it, just do it once and see if it’s a good fit for you. Getting involved with an organized rescue group can help ease you into the transition of fostering. It’s just like getting another dog, except maybe you don’t have to pay vet bills!
7. What are the best and worst aspects of foster work?
Best? Getting to bond with so many amazing dogs.
Worst? The bittersweet goodbyes. I have an easier time knowing these dogs are getting an upgrade from my care, their very own home. So, even the worst aspect isn’t all that bad!


jen said...

thank you so much for this!

these interview sessions are a great idea. Can't wait to see who is next!

PupChow said...

It is great to know there are people out there like Jen, thank you!

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