Saturday, January 19, 2013

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shiba Rescue of Ocean County

Mitch and Roberta Fuchs work tirelessly for Shiba Rescue of Ocean County. Please consider donating to their Shiba Rescue efforts. Visit the Shiba Rescue of Ocean County Site on and the email address associated with their PayPal account is on there: Or you can choose to donate via the ChipIn widget below. Here is just one reason to help out a Shiba Inu in need. Ellie is a Shiba who spent 9 years tied to old dog house in an Amish puppy mill. We are so happy we were able to save her from horrible surroundings and bring her into our rescue! Like most dogs from puppy mills, trust takes time to gain with these dogs. It took us 5 weeks to get her to trust us enough to allow us to touch her. She has a mammary tumor and severe sores on all four paws that occasionally swell and bleed. In the three months she has been with us she has turned around, we can pet her and engage her in play. Ellie still needs to be spayed, tumor removed and dental. We are raising funds to get Ellie all the care she needs. If you are interested in adopting Ellie, please contact us at

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shiba Pagoda Shop

The Shiba Pagoda Shop is coming soon! I plan on launching it this weekend as it is 95% there but I just have a few fixes that I need to make. Up next is Android app development which I am still learning for a Shiba app too(of course). I have another app that I will be creating for a doctor as well. Google has an entire online classroom for app development so I am on it. The Shiba Pagoda store will be carrying all things Shiba, as well as customized items with any photo that customers would like to put on things. Photos that are sent as attachments can be used to make custom items for your own Shiba Inu(s) all types of dogs, cats, or any photo you wish. Basically ask what you want on something, and it can be done. This link is imbedded into the actual Shiba Pagoda website below as there will be other products available on the main site so everything will all be under one Shiba Pagoda roof. Any items that you see on there are available for purchase now, however some changes still need to be made before the launch. Also there will be a RAFFLE for some Shiba Swag for the Shiba Shop Grand Opening with no purchase necessary. Feel free to make a visit to the shop. Below the happy little Shiba logo just hit "Shop Now": Shiba Pagoda Shop

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bill, One of a Kind

Dear Bill aka Curmudgeon, I should have known that you would go out like this. Let's think about what went through your head when planning your own service, shall we? Okay, at the wake you were dressed in your Founder's Day tshirt and jeans. Here is what you made certain went into that casket with you: Colorful cap with propeller on top, check. Fire extinguisher at your left arm in the off chance you didn't go to Heaven, check. Scooby Doo pillow case to rest your head, check. Psychedelic 60s inspired colorful casket liner, check. Random stuffed Snoopy, check. Sign that read "Don't Mind Me If I Don't Get Up, I'm a Little Stiff", check. Another sign on the inside of casket lid saying "He Finally Shut Up", check. (you definitely could talk a dog off a meat wagon, I mean worse than me, and that's saying something. ). Cup full of multi-colored Sharpies so we could all sign your white wooden casket, check. Bluegrass music with banjos playing, check. Not to mention your reminder to everyone, "I'm Bill. I have terminal cancer. I am going to die. And you are too, HA!" I was teary-eyed, but I couldn't stop laughing and shaking my head. I was thinking, "God, you had to give him a heads up now didn't you". The most important thing with you was the Infinity coin on your chest, I hadn't even heard about those. All of the people who came to pay their respects had a common thread, everyone mentioned how much you helped them with their lives. I think I was one of your last cases, and you were the best sponsor I have ever had. Conventional tradition is having same sex sponsor-sponsee pairings, however you weren't exactly conventional. You made sure I was set up with a female sponsor, and you wanted me to work my program fully and help others to honor your legacy, and I will do that. I will miss you so much. I am so grateful that you are no longer in pain and that you are at peace. At the same time I am so sad that I will never see you again. I swear I can hear you yelling down at me, "Whippersnapper, pull your stuff together". I called you Curmudgeon for a reason and it stuck like glue. Thanks for teaching me about what's important in life, taking care of my side of the street and mentally staying on the beam. I treasure my anniversary coin that you presented to me, I remember all of the nice things you said, and I have my Pass it On plant you gave me. A Swedish Ivy plant that started out at the bedside of Bill W. when he was dying. So many clippings and roots of that plant have lived on, and it's very rare to have a piece of it. I will think of you always and nourish my sobriety and the Pass it On Plant. God bless, I miss you so much. Love, Sharon aka "Whippersnapper"

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Blessings that that have arisen out of the adversity of having permanent pain and immobility:

I am home for my children all of the time. This means time to be there to listen to what's going on. It means helping my children stay on track with schoolwork. Also making sure that they can to a good school, college and most importantly, be happy in life. Grow up to be good people.

I have the luxury of being able to cook or bake new recipes and experiment. Before cooking was almost a chore thrown in at the end of the day. Now I can cook and bake and plan meals to enjoy with my family. I also know they eat very healthy meals made from scratch with love.

Also the family tradition of dinner together is a blessing. I learn more about my children at dinner just by being quiet and listening.

The blessing of being able to truly embrace my program of AA again. Thoroughly. With a home group, a sponsor and plans to thoroughly work the steps. Not to mention the wonderful fellowship of friends.

Focusing on my health. Having a physical and knowing what ways I can make my physical health better.

Being grateful and happy for what I have in life, and not feeling unhappy about the things I do not have.

Living simply. Knowing that my humble abode is a warm and welcoming home with a lot of love. Living with the basics and being so very grateful for that knowing how many people do not even have that.

Enjoying time with my animals and the closeness I have with them.

Volunteer work with animal rescue.

Having a beautiful relationship with my mother. Somehow through the grace of God we became very close during my last neck vertebrae fusion, even from a distance. We speak the same language of AA and program of honesty.And most of all I really, really love my Mom.

Knowing that being deemed disabled is not necessarily so bad. I can receive Social Security and have income while treating my back well.  As a result of all of this, I am able to realistically take care of my mother. I can be there around the clock for her, and I can fulfill her wish of not going into a nursing home. She can stay in her own home, and be with her beloved dog Maggi.

Helping others. Doing for others because it feels good to do so. I am a big believer in the Pay It Forward philosophy, and it works.

Most of all, passing all of these things onto my children. Teaching them that when they are asked what they want to be in life, doesn't mean a job.  It means what type of person do you want to be.

Grateful for my entire life.  The good and the bad in this world happen beyond reasons that I cannot fathom, but will know when it is supposed to be revealed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bathing Shibas - Like Nailing Jello to a Tree

I was perusing a pet catalog yesterday and was looking through all of the different kinds of pet products and came across shampoos. Then I glanced over at Kitsu & Suki.  Yep, they were both due for that four-letter word: BATH.  My husband was working on the computer and I mentioned, "Honey, I think the Shibas need a bath." Jim agreed, and was very impressed that I would dive into such a brave undertaking on my own.  Now of course I had to set up the bath area, get towels ready, get their specially medicated oatmeal, vanilla and white tea scented shampoo ready (which costs more than my own shampoo) and do all of this without Kitsu or Suki being aware of this preparation.  One mere hint of bath time will send them scrambling under a bed or anywhere else they can hide undetected.  So the question was, which one do I bathe first?  Kitsu is 4 years old and he is used to the routine, isn't thrilled, resists as much as possible, but knows there is a treat at the end of the process.  Suki however is only two, thinks the world is ending and lets out the infamous "Shiba Scream".  The Shiba scream for those who have never heard of it is an ear-piercing shriek that will literally have your neighbors think something has gone horribly awry in your home and may elicit the response of law enforcement officials.  Mind you, no harm is being done, I am talking about a bath here. It was decided, Suki would get her bath first.  Now Suki is small, weighs about 17 lbs and is the sweetest little girl on the planet.  She has an adorable disposition, can get a little skittish at times, but she is basically one happy little Shiba princess. 

So Jim went outside and brushed Suki's fur before her bath as she has been shedding, and he brought Kitsu along with him too.  Suki wasn't blowing coat as Shibas do, there were just a lot of these tumbleweeds of fur flying all around.  Of course Kitsu was chasing them, trying to catch them which was hysterical. Shibas have a very high prey drive if you did not know, and butterflies, leaves, you name it... if it moves, game on!  So after both Suki and Kitsu were brushed down, Jim brought them back inside.  

Inside was Mommy, waiting with fluffy towels, a gentle voice and a soft touch.  It is like walking on eggshells starting this process, so everything has to be very carefully carried out.  I brought Suki into the bathroom and set the water to a comfortable temperature and set the shower sprayer on low with no water in the tub.  "Good girl, you are so good and you will get a cookie when we are done", I said softly, knowing that she knew the word "cookie".  The minute I sprayed just the smallest amount of water on her feet just to get her used to things, she SHRIEKED, scrambled and did everything possible to get out of that tub.  I keep a collar on the Shibas when it is bath time as there needs to be a place for me to hang onto, otherwise they are up and out of that tub and could also slip and hurt themselves. Well I was quite obviously in over my head and I felt like I had about as much control over the situation as someone riding a bull at a rodeo.  I yelled, "Jim get in here bring a large plastic cup!" as I thought the tub sprayer may have been scaring her. Jim then held her by the collar and I wet her down and soaped her up.  I figured we are already at this point and I am going to do this right.  After she was all shampooed and rinsed, I picked her up with a towel and cuddled her so close.  I kept saying, "That's a good girl" and made sure she got her cookies immediately after the bath in hopes that this will help in the future.  She was wagging her tail as we were toweling her off and she seemed happy.  Then of course, she did a big ole Shiba shake and I smelled like a wet dog.  Did I mention I was already drenched at this point?  

As soon as Suki was free to go from this harrowing ordeal, a very dry Kitsu had this look on his face as if to say, "Noooo way, nice try, not happening" but Jim scooped him up and brought him to the tub. Kitsu really is adorable, he is four years old and can sometimes be a little grumpy.  Not aggressive grumpy, just grumpy in a funny kind of way and especially when it involves baths.  Here is a Shiba who avoids puddles at all costs, he walks around them.  The thought of getting soaked down on purpose seems ridiculous to him.  He was not thrilled, but he went along with it and didn't struggle too much.  He was actually the best he has been, plus I made sure he knew Suki had just gotten two cookies for her bath.  He begrudgingly put up with the bath, got toweled off, and of course shook water off all over the place afterwards.  I was unfazed at this point however, letting the water hit me as I was already clearly defeated in any attempt to stay dry.  Kitsu got his cookies and went on his merry little way.  Then Kitsu and Suki decided to play chase all over the house, and went tearing through the place doing Shiba 500 labs over and over.  They had both been out earlier and had plenty of exercise, but they were both full of vinegar after their baths.

Jim and I were both exhausted and soaked.  You might ask, "Why not just go to a groomer? This seems like so much work."  Shibas in general have very little grooming needs, don't require their fur to be cut and do not require frequent bathing.  The sole reason to bring them to a groomer would be for a bath. Well, you know how panicked Suki gets with her own Mom and Dad whom she trusts?  I'm convinced she would absolutely blow up or something if I just handed her off to a stranger, she psychologically couldn't handle it.  Kitsu on the other hand as I mentioned can be grumpy about bath time with me, but I think he would truly freak out too if he ever went to a groomer.  I have basically accepted the fact a long time ago that the Shibas need us to bathe them.  So of course I showered after this whole physically and mentally draining ordeal and got myself clean and dried off.

Lastly, comes the the Shiba cuteness attack.  I woke up this morning to the cuddliest softest fluffiest Shibas in the whole wide world.  We let them sleep in our bed (they let us sleep in the bed?) and they are adorable beyond words.  I mean they are so cute I think my head is gonna explode.  And sweet, and affectionate, and cuddly ... and have me eating out of their paws....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Great Equalizer

By now I think everyone has realized that the economy has spared no one, everyone is affected and it looks like economically, things are going to get worse before they get better. It can be a time for anger, it can be a time for blame. It can be a time for self-pity. Anger is self-defeating. It is like taking poison, only hoping the other person will die. Justified anger is even more dangerous, that one is certain to kill you. Self-pity in its essence is total absorption. We can get so caught up in me-me-me to the point that we lose touch with everyone else. Again, it may be certainly justified, but instead we need to pull out of our self-absorption and start diving into thinking of others and doing for others or we will surely go under ourselves.

Adversity can be a tremendous time of opportunity. Sometimes the life you know has to get pulled out from underneath you, and only then, does this downturn make you discover what it really is you want out of life and more importantly, what your priorities are. I do not believe in coincidences at all, I think everything absolutely happens for a reason.

I learned many years ago about the virtues of "getting outside of my own head". Basically the theory is to stop worrying about what's going on with me, and think about what is going on with others. I mean it's kind of hard to worry about your own life when you're completely focused on something or someone else. So much of this philosophy leads into living a good life. Doing for others. Now one may question, how can I do for others when I can hardly afford to do for myself? There are many ways. Do you know someone in need? Someone who is a shut in or disabled? Dying of cancer? Lonely? How about the homeless? How about children with life threatening illnesses? How about animals, the most loyal creatures on this earth, who just need a safe place to sleep? The key is to start somewhere and make one small difference. There is a timeless story that has circulated among teachers of school-age children and has often made the rounds in animal rescue, called "The Starfish Story".

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.