I'm Not a Fox: My First Shiba

Meet Kenji, the fox-like Shiba Inu dog who makes me smile.

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Big Storm! Displaced Shiba! Problem? No Way!

As you know by now, Hurricane Sandy ripped through the Northeast and left an abundance of destruction in her wake.  While not an easy time for most, I’m pleased to report that Kenji and the family he owns made it through AOK.  The storm forced us to move temporarily to a safer location that had power. That meant 10 days at his grandpaw and grandmaw’s house.  Below is an account from someone who loves Kenji as much as I do, my dad.

A Royal Visit

For all he knew, the houseguest may well have thought that he was rocketing through time and space, ready to land in a new galaxy, an unexplored universe. That he might never see his loving family again or return to the only home he had ever known. Who could blame him, especially since the sky, the night he arrived, was awash with rain, and almost ethereal pops of the whitest, strangest light. It’s what the weather folks call ‘arcs.’

The storm innocuously named ‘Sandy’ gouged its way through much of the New York metro area. People whose houses hadn’t been destroyed, or even severely damaged, were still stuck. Once they lost power, and some even running water, their homes became uninhabitable shells, feudal in their cold, medieval in their darkness.  My son and his family were among them.

It was a time that called for the lucky among us to open our doors, and hearts to those in need. None was needier, or finer than the perfect gentleman, who despite his youth became our houseguest. He never monopolized the bathroom, didn’t complain about his meals, or demand fresh sheets every day. He didn’t even request a room with a better view.

That’s because our houseguest was Kenji.

If the three-year-old could speak, the first thing he’d say would be “I’m a Shiba Inu, NOT a fox.” So the night that my son brought him to us, Kenji entered cautiously, quietly padding around the entire place. He sniffed here and gazed there, alert for any aliens. He found three of them; Jack, Callie and Penny. These were the cats whose home he would peacefully share for the next 10 days.

Kenji never whimpered or whined about what had to be a momentous change to his previously tranquil life. With the regal bearing, and intelligence of his breed, he adapted to his temporary home better than most people would. I know a helluva lot better than I would. With his large liquid brown almond-shaped eyes and black button nose, the 30 pound ruddy orange Kenji has the kind of face that’s at once as friendly as it is alert. He graced our home with his presence and decorated it with his beauty. Sure he did the things that all dogs do, but I can’t help but feel that he did them better, with a style and a grace that was almost cat-like.

I know that Kenji enjoyed his romps in Cunningham Park, patrolling its lanes and running in its fields. Even many passersby, well-known for their reticence stopped to say ‘hi’ to him, invariably asking what kind of dog or (excuse me, Kenji) fox he is. Yet the best time was in the evening, when Kenji was up for belly rubs and having his soft pointed ears stroked.

If anyone needs to say thanks, it’s us. It was our privilege to have a Red Prince share our home; even if it was just for 10 days. But that’s what Kenji ‘brings to the table;’ he makes people happy. How many of us can make the same claim?