Baka Chan ~ Our Little Fool, Our Dog

I found him. My dog. He was tied to a pole in front of an empty lot. He was tied with the rattiest, dirtiest rope I had ever seen and he had a little cat collar on that was so old, it would have broken off if he had pulled hard enough. He didn't though, he wasn't very big. I stopped and looked at him. He stood up on his hind legs and begged. I was in love.
Baka at 3 months

I hurried home to get Adventure Man. He was just coming home to our little apartment in the teacher's building. I told him about the little puppy and we raced back on our bikes to see. There was only one person around in the neighborhood. An O-baa San. A Grandma. She was little and bent over and she said, You should take him! He's been terrorizing the neighborhood for days. He's been thrown out! No one wants him!

That's what happens in Japan. It costs a lot of money to have a dog fixed. And they just leave them tied up in the back yard so it's easy for a stray to impregnate a dog. There are a lot of strays. When a pup shows up, they just dump it somewhere. We lived in a very rural area and this was very common, apparently.

The dog stood up again and begged at my husband. He was in love too.

We took him home. He stunk so bad we had to give him two baths. He had been living on trash and monkey poop. When he was in the bath he fought it so bad that I called him a "baka!" A fool. The Japanese equivalent of Stupid! My husband laughed. No matter how I protested, his name was final. Baka Chan. The Little Fool.

4 or 5 months

We cut a hole in the side of a Rubbermaid Storage box and made him a dog house. We walked him every morning and when we got home from school, where we taught English, and then again at night. He never barked and our neighbors didn't even know he was there until we moved back to the states.

I called him my Baby Dog. He was my first baby.

By the time we started having kids he was two. He was so excited to see Lulu. The first night he got up with me each time I fed her. He would sit at my feet. After a few nights of that he decided he could trust me. Or he figured someone should be getting some sleep around here; it might as well be him!
Baka at 8 years ~ He always crosses his front paws 

He looks like a pure Sheba Inu, but we'll never know. He acts like one, too. They are "cat like" and dog aggressive. They need to be well trained to be controlled. But they are incredibly loyal. If you've seen the Richard Gere movie, Hachi, then you know. That really happened, only in Japan. There is a statue of the the dog at a Tokyo train station. I think it was Tokyo, anyway. The breed was bread in Japan to hunt wild boar.
Chasing a Ground Squirrel 

They are also snow dogs with thick undercoats that shed out tuns of hair. They should be brushed everyday. Should.

enjoying the spring sunshine and the snow
~ what a life ~ 
Sometimes he would ask to go out when it was snowing and just sit and look up at the flakes coming down to rest on his fur. He loved to chase snow balls which explode in his face.

Baka is now 14 years old. He is cranky and arthritic, and deaf. A few months ago he started throwing up. He couldn't keep anything down. The vet said he had liver malfunction. He seemed to be doing OK on meds. But still vomiting a lot. Then he had a seizure. Amazingly, after the first seizure, he seemed a lot better. But the seizures are most likely do to the build up of toxins from the liver. This is a common problem with the breed.

The seizures started getting more frequent. And the last one lasted so long, and he laid there so still as I held him, I thought he might go right then and there. {By long I mean a few minutes. It feels like 15 to me!}

He saw the vet again and she wants him on a special diet.  He hasn't had another seizure, but it's only been a few days. Other than that he acts fine. As I said, old and arthritic, and sometimes it's hard to get his attention when he just stands there and stairs. I feel like I'm yelling at the rug! But he also still jumps around and enjoys being out and about. He's been a wonderful dog. And I am so glad to know that we have given him a much better life than he might have had on his own in the mountains of Japan.

Baka Chan
My Little-Old-Man Dog 


  1. A beautiful little guy and you're right, he does look like a pure Shiba Inu. Bless you for rescuing him and giving him a good life.

  2. Baka has a special little corner in my heart (as well as most who have known him). I have this memory of first sight- coming off the plane at San Francisco International - what an ordeal you had getting him stateside. Sweet tribute.

  3. What a sweet story! Baka is very special indeed and he has had a wonderful life thanks to you. It really stinks when they get old - you feel kind of helpless. We just lost our old Australian Shepard right after Christmas. She was almost 14 and the love of my life...well, one of many but you get the idea. Looking forward to following your blog - we have several things in common!

  4. Hey there, I found your blog via the Coast to Coast link! I'm a MT girl, living in Los Angeles, but am so excited to read a blog about home :)


Thanks, Y'all for sharing your thoughts! I'm love'n hear'n from ya!