Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ComfortFlex Sport Harness and Boomerang Tag

We've been using a harness to walk Maya more often in the past few months. Mostly because during her worst days, she would squat and start scratching randomly, sometimes in the middle of a crossroad, and we would need to pull her away, which we definitely don't want to do with a normal collar. However, we all hated her old harness. Not only it's hard to put on, it would keep sliding to the side. Maya also walks very funny whenever we put it on her.

After reading some reviews from other fellow Shiba owners, I decided to get her a ComfortFlex Sport Harness. We have been using it for a few weeks and really love it! It's easy to put on, secure, stays in place and looks really nice. The only complaint I have is the metal ring for hooking up a leash. Instead of being attached to the harness itself, it's placed on the handle strap, so when she runs off leash, the ring would flop back and forth on her back. 

One thing I don't quite understand is why most collars and harnesses don't have a proper place to attach a dog tag. I often have to be creative, because I really don't want to put on another collar just for the tag. I tried my best hooking it on, but it just doesn't look right. About the same time, Saya's owner got her a new tag from Boomerang Tags and it looks really nice, so I end up getting one for Maya as well. The order just came in, and the tag fits perfectly on the harness. (I should probably stop reading all these forums and blogs for my wallet's sake.)

Speaking of dog tags, I am pretty paranoid about making sure Maya has one on her whenever we leave the house. I remember I had a nightmare the day before picking her up. I dreamt of us taking her to the park to potty for the first time and she ran away from us, without a tag nor microchip. She's so tiny yet so fast and was gone in seconds. We lost our puppy within hours of bringing her back! After I woke up that morning, I almost forced my boyfriend to stop by the pet store to make a tag right away before heading to the breeder's house. Fortunately, Maya never attempted to run from us nor come close to slip her collar. Even if she gets lost, I am less worried nowadays, as I know she's more likely to run up to a stranger than try to hide herself. That's why I allow her to be naked at home. Yes, we live in an apartment and she would need to get through two locked doors and an elevator to get out, but who knows. I said I am paranoid, didn't I?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Belated Birthday Present

Two years ago, Maya joined our family a week after my birthday. I thought no other present could ever top that. This year, a few days after my birthday, Maya's out of the cone and stopped itching. It's a very different type of joy, but certainly on par with getting a new puppy.

Maya's first day home, taken on 9/25/2010

On Friday, I was really worried about the Shiba Inu meetup taking place on Saturday. I was afraid Maya would be scratching every other minute or so, and would just not be fun for any of us. Maya's daddy then came up with the theory that she's only scratching because we were restricting her, and it's a mental issue. We should let her scratch till she's satisfied and she'll get over it. Of course I said no, and dismissed the crazy idea. 

Well, he went ahead and took the cone off anyways while I was taking a shower. According to him, it was all bloody and chaotic at the beginning. Maya was scratching like crazy, and he just repeatedly cleaned her up with a baby wipe and kept applying some Vaseline over the wounds. This went on for like ten minutes, and then she decided to stop scratching. Well, I'll be damned. However, we are both glad I wasn't there to witness the ten minutes of craziness, cause I would put that cone back on for sure.

She has been out of the cone ever since, though she still scratches every once in a while and still chews on her feet. It'll probably still take a while for everything to heal up, but at least she's much happier now. Last year, her itchiness stopped around this time as well, but with the help of Atopica, so it's definitely something seasonal. I also have been avoiding our local park in the past few days because they've been fertilizing the grass areas. Not sure if this is a factor or not, but I'll continue to do so for a while to see if it makes any difference.

I made a "wish" that if she stops itching by my birthday, I'd donate $200 to a Shiba rescue and be on a vegetarian diet for a full month. Though it's been a bit late, I'll fullfil my promise and start my new diet tomorrow. I also made a further commitment to be on a year-long vegetarian diet starting from my next birthday, if she can remain itch free till then. I will be more than happy to comply.

Thank you the House of Two Bows for the great shot at the meetup

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Maya seems to fall in love with her crate after Tachi spent a night in it. Not sure whether having another dog in there made it look valuable or that she just want to cover up Tachi's scent by her own. She does make sure to keep her head out of the crate so I won't be able to close the door. Smart girl!

Tachi sleeping in Maya's crate

No door closing plz, kthxbye

We've been enjoying a peaceful itch-free afternoon with the help of the ThunderShirt and some music on Spotify from an album called "Dog Chill Relaxing Piano Music to Keep Your Dog Quiet and Happy While You Are Away". (Don't you love these super long album names?)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tachi's Weekend Sleepover

It's been a busy weekend in our household. Not only we had two friends staying with us, Maya had her own doggie guest as well. Tachi, another Bay Area Shiba Inu who we met at a meetup, came to stay with us while her owners went on an overnight trip. Tachi is already 8 years old, but still super active and fit.

Maya and Tachi

I was a bit nervous since this is not only our first dog-sitting experience, it's also the first time another dog enters Maya's territory. Before Tachi came over, I made sure to put away all of Maya's toys, food, and water bowls. When they arrived, we took Maya downstairs to greet them, and all went for a walk in the park. They were excited to see each other and walked nicely with each other. Then we took them both back home. We let Tachi explore the area while keeping Maya on leash. Maya didn't seem to mind the intruder at all! Once we let both dogs off leash, they started to play right away.

Waiting for treats

Besides eating, sleeping at night, and when we had to leave the house, they spent the entire two days together. I was surprise how well they get along. On the second day, they acted as if they lived together for a lifetime. It's a bit scary at first when we saw how rough they play with each other, but they've been communicating pretty well. They would pause for a synchronized Shiba shake or stop for a water break together, and agree on another round of play with a glance. They even made the kitchen area their designated timeout zone, and would stay there when either one needs some rest.

Maya has been a bit less itchy in the past few days and Tachi's company seems to help take her mind off of it as well. It's great that she was able to enjoy some cone-free play time.

Let's play!
Water break
Timeout in the kitchen area

It's been a great experience to see how well Maya treated her guest. It gave me much confidence that we are able to handle two dogs if we ever decided to get another one.

Time for a better camera?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Butt Fluff

Maya has a little white "skirt" on her butt. During winter time, it's thick and fluffy, but as she started to shed, it got thinner and thinner. For whatever reason, there's always some hair that refuse to shed and would just keep growing longer. It got to a point that the fur would be dragging on the ground while she poops, and sometimes her poop would just land right on top of it. Eww...

I tried using a furminator daily on that area to help speed up the shedding, but it didn't help much. Yesterday, I got so tired of cleaning her butt, I grabbed a pair of scissors and chopped off the excess hair (despite being against ever trimming a Shiba). Ideally, I should have used those hair thinning scissors, so it would look more natural, but I don't have one and don't plan on getting one. Anyways, I think it looks okey. At least Maya's daddy didn't even notice till I told him and Maya can't complain.

Fluffy butt before shedding (taken on 4/14/2012)

Long hair in the way when pooping


Monthly Expenses: August 2012

August 2012
  • Food: $50
  • Vet & Medical: $90
  • Supplements: $43
  • Treats & Chews: $42
  • Accessories: $23
  • Grooming: $30
TOTAL: $278
YTD TOTAL: $5800


This month we stocked up on a bunch of stuff from the Fremont BARF Co-op, including some beef pancreas, pork ears, pork liver, beef liver, and 10 lbs. of turkey necks. We also got some plain yogurt and string cheese from the grocery store.

Vet & Medical

Yet another vet visit...


More supplements suggested by the vet: Valerian Root, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Quercetin, and Colostrum.

Treats & Chews

We got a bag of 50 bully sticks while it was on sale. I was a bit disappointed, as I thought the bully sticks could last longer, but Maya was able to finish one within 2 minutes. I guess chewy, yummy and long lasting do not coexist.


We got a Thundershirt in hope that it'll stop Maya from scratching, but too bad it didn't work. Just when I was about to return it, Maya learned some super yoga pose and was able to stick her back legs into the cone, so sometimes we'll have to use the Thundershirt plus a cone to kind of restrict her movements. The Thundershit should be around $40 plus tax, but Maya got a Petsmart giftcard, so we paid $20 less.


A few weeks ago, we bit the bullet and got ourselves a Dyson vacum cleaner. Yes, it's super expensive, but I have to say, I agree with the numerous reviewers, it's worth every penny! Along with the vacum, we also got an extra Pet Grooming / Clean Up Kit. We were only planning to get the Grooming Tool, but the entire kit was cheaper, so we got that instead. Though I made up my mind to get the vacum after seeing Maya shiba-shaking her hair everywhere, it's probably not fair to count the whole thing as a pet expense, so I'll just list the extra kit here, as I definitely would not get that if I don't have a pet.