Welcome MAX!

25 Sep


This is Max, the newest addition to our family. Isn’t he adorable! He reminds me of the German Shepard we had growing up. A lot smaller and with a bushy Japanese Shiba-type tail, but the coloring is very similar.

We had talked about getting a dog after we got back from NZ and as luck would have it a friend shared a status from a dog shelter in Kumamoto not long after. Hub wanted a puppy but I was keen on the idea of ‘rescuing’ a dog from a worser fate than living with our family.

Max was going to be put down but the shelter thought he was such a neat dog that they tried really hard to have the date extended so they had more time to find him a home. And then we found them, a few emails back and fourth, some sex for the hub so he knew I was still thinking about him and not just about the kids and the new dog (hashtag the shit a wife has to do), and we were ready to go and pick him up .

The shelter is in Kumamoto so Ryu and I did a bit of a roadie, past Aso volcano (which erupted a few days later), and down to a highway rest area, the meeting point. It was all very quick and easy and to be perfectly honest I probably did go in rather blindly and without thinking about anything – like shots and vaccinations, and doctor checks yaddah yaddah.

I had bought a cage thing to put Max in for the 2.5 hour drive home. Half an hour in I stopped to let him out and pee, and maybe vomit if he was feeling car sick, which he wasn’t it would seem. He was determined not to get back in the cage so I tied his lead to a point in the back and off we went. No sooner had I taken off and he had managed to jump over the seat, where he spent the rest of the journey happily looking out the window and/or giving Ryu the ‘go on, give my head a nice rub,  look.

The kids were super excited to meet him and initially named him Jack. Granny K couldn’t say Jack though so he got renamed  Max, which Granny K also cannot say and has resorted to just calling him ‘hey wan wan’.

I ordered a kit set kennel online and three days later that arrived and I spent three hours screwing in screws and putting it together, albeit with a piece in upside down which needed re-doing, which in turn required a lot of swearing.

The weekend after he arrived Shou had two days of soccer – which included a stay over as the town was so far away. Hub, Ryu and I went down on the Sunday to watch his games and bring him home. While we were aways Granny K and Marina took  Max for a walk – in the opposite direction to my dictated ‘walk direction’. There is a Japanese Shiba dog about 100m up the hill. A lovely dog that lets the kids come in and pat him. Not so lovely when Marina tries to go in with our new male dog in tow. Max got bitten, couldn’t walk on it, I waited for a day to see if it was going to get any better, it wasn’t and, so decided to take him to the doctors on the Tuesday (remember I also had the ambulance trip on the Sunday and subsequent revisit to hospital myself on the Monday)

We got antibiotics for it and he is completely fine now, running around and having a grand ole time. Whilst at the doctors he got a blood test for Filaria, or heart worm.  Turns out his bloodstream is swarming in Filaria worms. The doctor said a normal sample of a dog with Filaria would result in maybe three or four worms in the sample blood size. Max had about twenty – which is causing a lot of strain on his heart. He doesn’t feel it yet but it basically means he will not live to reach old age, and that we should probably think he will live five years less than what you would expect (which considering he was about to be put down is about six years longer – albeit in an environment with my three children. Ganbare tolerant Max 🙂  )

He has numerous adult worms in his heart and no amount of medicine will kill these. They die off naturally after they reach the end of their 5-6 YEAR lifespan. We can conquer the worms in the blood but need to be careful as giving him a dose for his weight (11kg) would probably kill him, due to the share number of worms.  We need to start slowly by giving him a dose for a 2-3kg dog. There are side effects which also require drugs which I need to start this Sunday. He gets the worm killer meds on Monday and I effectively have all week to monitor him to see if he starts acting strangely. I have full faith in our vet and the program we have worked out.

Only after we’ve sorted this out can we start on his other shots. He has probably had the rabbies shots as they are compulsory and done by city offices –  and he did apparently have a previous owner and this is actually evident by his behavior and ease around people. I reckon the family must have had kids too. The mind boggles as to why they got rid of such a good dog. He doesn’t bite, he doesn’t bark unnecessarily – but he does ‘try’ and howl when the town music siren plays Edelweiss everyday at 5pm. He is picking up our English commands well and clearly I am the boss – but then I was the one that he first met, and I also don’t try and shoot him with the water pistol. The Filaria shot has to be covered by the owner, hence probably why his previous owners never got it for him. So sad though. Why decide to have a dog and then think 4,000 yen a year too much, or too much trouble to do!!

He is small enough for the kids to take him for a walk unsupervised – although we did spend the first week having ‘dog walking’ tutorials, in which I must have failed to mention that the man dog up the road might try and eat him if he got too close!

He finally sleeps in his kennel – it took about a week and then a day of rain. He waits to go to the loo on his walk, and while sometimes this can result in a big shit in the middle of the road which we need to bag up, at least he isn’t crapping on the lawn.

Right, I best go and get ready for English. Two week break what with the ambulance extravaganza followed by bloody Silver Week holidays.



16 Responses to “Welcome MAX!”

  1. Myst September 25, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Oh no,poor Max! Hopefully he will have a good life now that he’s with a good family!

    • gaijinwife September 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

      well fingers crossed! The boys do seem intent on water gunning him!

  2. Anonymous September 25, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Heartworm is so preventable with a simple dose of medicine every month (in the form of a yummy treat) that unless his previous owners were really so destitute that they couldn’t afford it, it just seems inexcusably lazy to me. Or maybe they just didn’t know how common it is, or how serious? Anyway, it’s so sad….but it’s so happy that he found his way to you & your family, where he’ll be loved & cared for, for as long as he’s here!

    • gaijinwife September 25, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

      I know right! Apparently 30% of pet dogs in Japan have Filaria. MAX got left un medicated for a long time so is at the extreme end of the scale. I am thankful he gets lots of years with us first 🙂

  3. Natasha September 25, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Oh what a shame about the heart worm! We used to have to give the dogs preventative meds for that when we lived in the States. But we don’t have it in NZ. Nasty things 😕

    • gaijinwife September 25, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

      I remember mum giving Bonnie worm tablets with her food but am not sure if it was specifically heart worm or not. Here there is an oral dose of medicine once a year. You get a postcard telling you to go but it isn’t compulsory and it costs $60 and for people living around here it also means a three hour round trip to the vet so I do get why some of the older people don’t do it with their dogs. If we could just get tablets locally it would be so much easier!

  4. Kay Howe September 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Thank you for rescuing such a beautiful dog. Good luck with the medications.

    • gaijinwife September 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

      Thanks Kay. Start side-effect meds tomorrow – which will apparently make him really really thirsty (note to self, get bucket)

  5. aquilamaris September 26, 2015 at 3:11 am #

    So sad about the dog, but I hope the meds work and he can live a good life with your family. He sounds sweet.

    Hope you have recovered from your fall.

    • gaijinwife September 26, 2015 at 4:46 am #

      Thanks 🙂 Yes, mostly recovered. Still have a plaster over the bit that had the stitches but I think its healing up under there.

  6. Ana September 26, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    Heart worm sounds scary, but actually it seems to be very common and tratable. I hope he gets well soon! He’s beautiful!!

    • gaijinwife September 26, 2015 at 4:46 am #

      Thank you Ana. Our vet is really good and I think we will be able to get on top of it as best we can soon 🙂

  7. littlebelgianwriter September 26, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    He looks very cute!

    • gaijinwife September 26, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      He is pretty adorable, but maybe I’m biassed already 🙂

  8. Susan (Eastendmom) September 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Max is just beautiful, what gorgeous coloring, and he has those soulful brown eyes like our dog Biscuit has. BTW – Biscuit sends greetings to Max from NJ in the US to Japan. He was a shelter rescue too and knows what an easy life Max will have from here on in 🙂

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