North American Kai Association

Japanese Treasure - Part 1

As published in Bloodlines by Pam Peterson

In 1983 I received my first Akita as a Christmas gift, and started showing her right away. I was instantly hooked on the world of showing and breeding purebred dogs. I thought the Akita was the smartest dog in the world, and started my own kennel of top show dogs.

About 10 years later I bought 2 Shiba Inu, also, as show prospects, and found their unbelievable intelligence even greater than that of the Akita. For over 20 years I happily showed and bred my wonderful Akita's and Shiba's, becoming very active in many dog clubs, including several rescue groups.

In August of 1999, I got a call from Shiba Rescue that there were several Shiba's in a shelter in northern Ohio needing help. I agreed to help with these poor creatures, not having any idea what I was in for. Norma Hornung of PA. took the two senior Shiba's, and I arranged for the other two dogs to hitch a ride halfway to Cincinnati. What I discovered at the pick up site were not the 2 Shiba's, that I had agreed to take, but 2 terrified Kai trying to hide in the back seat of the transporter's car.

Not having the heart to send them back to certain death, I decided to take these poor creatures home and try to find a Kai rescue. Getting on-line and trying to find the breeder of these dogs, or other Kai owners that would help me/them was a real eye opening experience. I discovered that it was the breeder/owner of these Kai and Shiba's that had taken them to the pound herself, so no help there.*

Finally I was put in touch with Marsha Short in the Richmond, MI area, who agreed to take one of the dogs. I was not able to find any one to take the other boy, so I started to work with him myself, getting some much needed vet work, shots, neuter etc. done. I was hoping at this point to socialize and rehabilitate him, to some degree, to make it possible to place him. It was a long slow process and took many hours of hard work and TLC but, gradually Sony was coming around and came out of his shell. I was totally amazed at the intelligence this dog possessed . Even as he hid and cowered, he still watched my every move and the other dogs, learning the doggie door and gate latches immediately.

From the very beginning I was quickly impressed with the devotion and loyalty Sony had for me. Wanting to learn more about these fascinating dogs, I made arrangements to visit with a breeder. Spending the day hanging out with a house full of well trained and socialized dogs, I found all the wonderful characteristics that my Sony had, but with a trusting and confident attitude. Needless to say I came home with a puppy, and once again found myself "addicted" and now have 5 Kai Ken. Three I got as adults and 2 as puppies. I still have the first boy I rescued, Sony. He is a pet and lives in my boarding kennel as the official greeter. Sony meets everyone that comes in now and never forgets the ones he knows, or the ones that have given him a treat in the past.

I am now addicted to all 3 of these wonderful Japanese dogs. In the next issue I will give some of the similarities and differences of these Japanese Treasures.

* Sadly it is NOT uncommon for breeders to be unwilling to help with dogs that end up in pounds or rescue.