“Every 12 year old boy needs a dog.”
That was my sales pitch to Mike back in February of 2004. Dillon was begging to get a Shiba Inu puppy but our last experience with a dog hadn’t gone so well. In 1997, Charlie, our yellow lab, had chewed up most of the boy’s toys, our backyard bushes, our video camera, our spa cover and even our deck! We ended up giving him to another family who had more energy and time to spend with him.
That’s why I was so surprised Mike agreed with my reasoning for another dog. Dillon and I began searching the Internet for a Shiba breeder close to Nashville. We found Pat Hartman of Redwing Shibas in Knoxville and got on a waiting list right away. We wanted a red female, and there was a litter that was due in May. May 6, 2004 brought two red and one Black and Tan females and 1 red male. After a few weeks, Pat called me and said, “I know you said you wanted a girl but I really think this boy is for you!” We took a road trip to Knoxville to meet the now five week old litter of pups. Dillon decided the boy was for him. He named him Wally and we brought him home the second week of July when he was 9 weeks old.
At this point I need to say I had three outdoor dogs when I was growing up who all died too young in tragic ways. As an adult I was determined to treat my dogs as the family members they are. We only let Wally out on a leash or inside our fence to potty and play for a few minutes each day, yet he still managed to escape dozens of times through the years, running crazily through the neighborhood. He truly escaped death so many times we attributed it to the Shiba Inu’s cat-like qualities.
Somehow Wally made it to 14. He suffered from dementia and arthritis this last year, but he had a good life. We said goodbye to him this afternoon, and through our tears we feel a great sense of gratitude to have had him in our family through so many seasons of our lives.