North American Kai Association

Hero Charlene

Buster Buster Buster

This is Buster

We rescued him at 6 months old from a shelter in South Carolina . We were told he was shepherd/chow (shepherd because of the ears and chow because they thought every dog with a black or spotted tongue was a chow). The shelter got him at 3 months old and pulled him off the e-list every week for three months because they loved him so. The shelter coordinator said he had "dominate dog issues", played a little too rough with dogs and some people but he broke her heart as she listen to him toss his food in the air, night after night, out of boredom. Since he didn't get along well with the other puppies (puppies play rough which is key..keep reading), he pretty much stayed in his cage 23 hours of the day or more. He was so stressed, he lost all his fur.

His baby pictures reminded me of my shepherd/lab so I convinced a rescue group to bring him up to Minnesota with the INTENT on fostering him and finding him a permanent home. When I actually saw him, I saw little shepherd or chow in him and have to admit, I hate to say now, when I first saw him I was disappointed. My husband and I agreed that if we had seen him in the shelter, we never would have picked him for ourselves (we like big dogs, 90+ pounds). Being in animal rescue, we made a commitment and my hunt began for what he really was since if I could figure out what he was, maybe I could work on his behavior issues and how to get him ready for his new home (I knew instantly that training him like a shepherd wasn't going to work).

I came across a shiba at a dog park, about the same size as him (although this was a large Sheba ), and I started to look into the Japanese breeds. He has something very similar to the " Sheba scream" and the squirrels, birds, and rabbits must be irradiated from the yard. My shepherd/lab has since taught him the cats really aren't squeaky toys but he slobbers on them none the same. We come home to find him standing on the back of the couch, proud as can be. He's a little escape artist and we've had to chase him through the neighborhood on more then one occasion (black dog at night-not a good thing). He's head strong (it's really a battle of the wills some days) and he has hearing issues (he hears only when he wants too although he's come a really long way). We've gotten new doors, new locks, and a new fence (to try to keep him from getting out). He loves the pool and keeping him out of a neighboring pond is a full-time job, oh and lets not forget the mud! He's tore up the flower beds and when we first got him, he bounced off the walls for a month straight.

A few months after getting him, we were concerned about his leg. He would limp on it after taking him to the dog park. We thought it was because he was in a 4x6 cage for so long, he didn't develop muscles properly-similar to puppy mill dogs. Many tests later, we learned he has hip dysplasia and he actually has no hip sockets what so ever. He's now a year old and already has sever arthritis and they say he's been in pain since the day he was born-hence the "dominate dog" issues are really him just being in pain.

In the end, with his hip surgery which he will have this fall (we wanted to wait because this was the first time in his life he's been "free" and we wanted him to enjoy it before being laid up again), and the doors, the locks, the fence, and many other things he's tore apart, he'll end up costing us over $7,000. We did end up finding his permanent home. We didn't know it at the time but he was there all along.

Although we were not sure about him at first sight, we can't imagine a life without him. Little by little, he wiggled his way into our hearts and instead of making him into a dog for someone else, he made us into the people for him. We toiled with the thought of his surgery and whether it was right or fair to him or whether we were just doing it for ourselves. He's the happiest dog on earth with a really crappy start in life. After a horrible day, I come home to his smile and a tail that never stops wagging (he's my little wiggle butt). He still has "hearing issues" and he screeches at the squirrels on the power line every morning to the annoyance of my neighbors. Never having a Kai (mostly have had shepherds), I know I made a lot of mistakes along the way. What I thought were behavior issues are really what make him what he is. In the end, I think he'll be the best dog I've ever had ...