Preparing for Spring: sowing seeds, planning for poultry, and dissuading the dogs.

We’ve had some strange weather here the last few days – it warmed up from below-zero temperatures midweek to the 50s on Friday and Saturday, resulting in a fierce wind that sent dried leaves swirling and dancing through the forest, driving our Shiba Inu Ruby mad with delight as she chased them hither and yon.  Earlier in the week it had snowed and even the snowflakes were worth chasing and snapping out of midair:


Spring is coming, and we’ll make a second attempt at raising poultry; we shall not be deterred by last year’s failure!   Continue reading

It’s so much friendlier with two.

Everywhere we go, people stop and ask us about our Shiba Inu puppy, Ruby: “Oh my gosh, she looks like a little fox! What kind of dog is that?”

Ruby and Mayaimage

The second question nearly everyone asks is, “Wait, you have two puppies?  Are you crazy!?  Isn’t that double trouble?”

Digby and Ruby

They are so sweet…when they’re sleeping. 🙂

The answer is definitely no, it’s not double the trouble, especially given the breeds we chose, a Shiba Inu and a miniature Goldendoodle.  Shiba Inus as a breed are known to be unfriendly with other dogs, even aggressive.  They are highly intelligent and become bored easily, and when they are bored, they can be very destructive.  Because they are so smart, they can find a way to get into anything and out of nearly any type of confinement.   Goldendoodles are friendly, sweet, and good with other dogs but need TONS of exercise and stimulation.  They can become very destructive if they don’t get enough exercise and interaction.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first; here are the ways in which two puppies are double trouble:

  • Double the poop to scoop…but you were going out to scoop it anyway if you had one, so this is not really 2X the trouble, is it?
  • Double the vet bills, which is pretty expensive the first year with all the puppy shots and several rounds of deworming medications given the fact that puppies eat disgusting things like rocks, worms, slugs, their own poop, other animals’ poop, dirt, grass, flipflops, garbage, compost, and any other foul, nasty item they chance to find.
  • Double the food bill…but you had to go buy food anyhow, so even though it’s twice as much money, it is really no additional effort.
  • Two puppies can chew up twice as many flip flops.  Ask me how I know.  But hey, flip flops come in pairs, so if one gets chewed up, you were just going to throw out the other one anyway…
  • Twice the price for puppy obedience class; DON’T give in to the temptation to cut costs on this item.  Both puppies and both spouses should attend puppy obedience school together.  You will save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

  • They will on occasion lead each other into sin…that moment when they are headed toward the pond just when you are about to go somewhere and you call them back and one of them starts to come back but the other one keeps right on going, so the one who WAS coming back takes off, too…
The Dirty Professor

Hey there, sweetheart, how you doin’? See, I was gonna come back but I just had to make a little stop first…

But the benefits of having two at once outweigh the difficulties:

  • They play together inside when we are home instead of begging for human attention every second:


  • They sleep beside each other at night in their kennels, preventing that well-known Shiba scream, an unearthly sound that will raise the hair on the back of your neck and cause your neighbors (if they live near) to call the cops in the mistaken belief that someone is being viciously murdered.

His and Hers boudoirs.

  • But most importantly, they keep each other company when we are not able to supervise them inside but don’t want to coop them up in their kennels, such as when we are mowing the lawn or need to run to the grocery store.  At that time, we can close the baby gate my husband installed on the covered front porch and confine them to that space with some toys, fresh water, a puppy pee pad, and a blanket.


Because they have each other, they play, roughhouse, chase each other back and forth, and nap together.  If one of them were left alone out there, I think they would become bored, lonely, and then destructive, gnawing on the wooden railings or trying to jump over them to escape, but because they have each other, they can get MUCH more fresh air and exercise than they could if we had just one who would have to be put in the kennel during unsupervised times.

  • At 6:00 a.m., they burn off energy chasing each other around the yard at a full run while I stand there not moving with my coffee in hand.
  • Being raised with another puppy provides the Shiba with the socialization she needs, given her breed’s tendency to be aggressive with other dogs.
  • Being raised with another puppy gives the Goldendoodle the constant interaction he craves even when we can’t be with him.
  • There is less squabbling among the children about whose turn it is to cuddle the puppy because there are TWO pups to go around.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m not anthropomorphizing when I say they love each other.

The Mr. and Mrs., snoozing in the minivan

The newest members of the clan.

The newest members of the Thiry household, aged 10 weeks, arrived today:

Digby, a Golden Doodle:



Mmm, yummy flip flops…


Hey, why’d you take my flip flop away!? I was chewing on that!!

and Ruby, a Shiba Inu:


What, me chew your flip flop? Never! I was just guarding it for you, that’s all.



A lap for the princess.



She fell over sound asleep right in the middle of a game of tug of war.

Some information about Golden Doodles as a breed:

…a cross-breed/hybrid dog obtained by breeding a golden retriever with a poodle…Because poodles and golden retrievers are both highly intelligent, golden doodles are also very trainable. Goldendoodles are usually very affectionate with people and other pets. They are human-oriented dogs, and tend to develop a strong bond with their owners and companions. Most goldendoodles are calm and easy going, but they are active dogs that do require exercise. Some goldendoodles like to swim, but not all. They tend to be great family pets and are known to be especially good with children.

And Shiba Inus:

A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting…It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today…Recent DNA analysis confirms that this Asian spitz-type dog is one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back to the 3rd century BC...Originally, the Shiba Inu was bred to hunt and flush small game, such as birds and rabbits.

Ruby, the Shiba Inu, housebroke herself as soon as we brought her home.  Shibas are very clean dogs and it’s not unusual for them to take to house training immediately.  Digby, the doodle, should be easy to train, but he hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet.

I like having dogs around; they make me feel safer.  Even though we live in a rural area, I like knowing that no one could enter the house while we are sleeping without the dogs alerting us to that fact.

Plus they’re just ridiculously cute! 🙂

image      Ruby2