www.whyville.net Nov 30, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Shiba Inu Phenomenon

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I bet most of you wouldn't have a clue of what I was talking about if I walked up and said, "Do you know what a Shiba Inu is?" You'd probably think I was talking about a Chinese dish.

A Shiba Inu (pronounced shee-ba Inu) originated from Japan, and is a rare breed of dog. The dog was bred to hunt birds and other small game. It has short, commonly red hair, white cheeks, and a half-curled tail. They have an impressive life expectancy of about 13-15 years. And it is also a very active, playful breed. "So what?" Is what might be running through your head at this time. Well, my article is not about the breed, or what they hunt, or they're life expectancy. This article is about the most cutest, lovable phenomenon on the Internet. It's call the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam.

The Shiba Inu puppy cam was started by two breeders in San Francisco, California, to monitor the puppies while they were at work. I'm sure that they didn't think they would acquire over 6 million hits, articles in "People" magazine, and TV appearances on the "Today" show when they started this. But, they did. And now every day an average of 15,000 people will tune in to see the three girls and three boys sleep, eat, and play. So how can you tell which pup is which? Simple. Each one has a colored collar. The three girls have lighter colors (purple, red, and yellow) and the three boys have darker colors (green, blue, and black).

Autumn - purple, 4 lbs. 1.2 oz.
Ayumi - yellow, 3 lbs. 14.6 oz.
Amaya - red, 4 lbs. 0.2 oz.

Aki - green, 4 lbs. 13.8 oz.
Akoni - black, 4 lbs. 8.8 oz.
Ando - blue, 4 lbs. 15.0 oz.

When my grandmother told me to go to a web site she read in our last issue of "People" magazine, I was hesitant. I didn't want to type in all the digits and letters in the URL box. Well, I've learned it was well-worth it. The first time I saw them, I was in love. They're friskiness, faces, fur, everything was just too cute! The way they all interact with each other and how some sleep on their backs, I knew I was in trouble. I tuned in each day after that, turned me volume up almost as high as it can go, and would listen to their sweet howls and barks. Even when I'm not thinking, that is where I would end up on the web. I am addicted to the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam.

Each puppy is filled with love, happiness, and joy. From the time they're kicking their legs in their sleep, or from the time they're pouncing on the others to wake up, you know these dogs are full of happiness. Now, don't think that the owners just put some food on the ground, leave for 12 hours, and just have a video camera set up. The owners, from what I can see, are very loving and affectionate. A few times a day they come in, put down a bigger-than-average bowl full of food, play with them, and clean up their messes (hey, they're still puppies!). Even occasionally they will clip their nails, comb them, and give them baths.

The only problem with my addiction is there will be heart-ache when they leave. Yes, they've already been sold. In fact, they were sold long before their mother, Kika, even conceived them. They will be together until they are approximately 8 weeks or so (a little over a week away). So, why get attached now? Well, each new owner will be given a web cam and has promised to have their new family member recorded online. So, the real question is why not?

Even when they aren't on air (which is a few times each day) you can go back to old videos of them. You can choose from when they were ity-bitty things, to Halloween, to just a day where they're all running around and throwing their toys in each others faces.

Either way, I'm going to be watching them until they leave. Only then I will have to minimize all six screens and scrunch them together to see their new daily agenda. Either way, it's worth the love, joy, and happiness they bring to me and about 15,000 others.


Author's Note: Sources: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/shiba.htm
And of course, the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam URL (you didn't think I wouldn't give it to you, did you?)


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