Sunshine writes her auto-biography...
My name is Sunshine and I’m a dog. I was 8 years old, 56 in human years at the time of this writing in early 2017, and I’m an Akita* cross-breed. I was born in Japan and I’m fluent in Japanese. (私は日本で生まれました。私は日本語に堪能です. See!) I was given the name Sunshien which is Japanese for “Sunshine”,but I am known as Ninja Warrior-sun, in my world. The reason I often look perplexed to my new owners is that I don’t understand English that well. I used Google translate and Word spell-check to help me with this story. I had a hard life up to now, and even now it’s 50-50. I was rescued from a shelter in Japan not too long after I was born where the talk going around was that some dogs were being “killed off” at this place. I thought my days were numbered. Supposedly the humans just didn’t have room for us and were going to proceed with this barbaric act of disposing of “excess inventory”. Why didn’t they just let us run away and fend for ourselves?
(*verified by DNA test)
It was good then that I was saved by a lady who took me to another country, Canada. Oooh, that was so great. Canada is so big, according to maps I’ve seen and they have lots of wildlife to chase and eat. I want to get a beaver, or a porcupine. I ended up far from my original home, half-way across the earth in a place called Hollifax. My owners were good people but were going to be transferred to a big city in Canada, Tonto, or something like that, and didn’t feel they could provide for my needs, so I ended up in another shelter. . (Pardon my spelling or typing, it’s difficult when you have long toe-nails and can’t speak the language that well.)
Shelters are prisons, basically a cage where we are given food and have to crap where we sleep. The place in Hollifax wasn’t too bad but there were lots of cats there that made me crazy! So many cats and I wasn’t allowed to play with them! I was kept downstairs in this place, called Bide-wild (“Bide-Awhile” -ed) animal shelter. I had a big cage in a room all alone, and girls and a guy would come down to feed me and occasionally take me out for exercise. There was also a big room where they would throw balls and toys for me to fetch. That was fun. But then I had to sleep alone in this cage for many hours in a day. The people took me out once and I got loose and ran away. Dog-gone-it, THAT was fun! I was FREE, FREE! I went where I wanted, through bushes, into the trees, chased some squirrels and a cat. Then the Bide-wild guy found me and took me back to the prison.
Getting Adopted..First Time
One family adopted me and took me home. They had a little human male that seemed okay to play with, but there was an old male human who didn’t appear to like me and I certainly didn’t like him. I don’t like people who look at me as if I’m different! I hate racists, or in this case, species-ist, whatever…people who don’t like dogs. Yeah there are those who hate cats too. Cats are neat to chase so I tolerate them as a species. They are fast, can be mean and are very athletic. (I wish my current owners had a cat for my chasing pleasure.)
Anyway, I didn’t like it there at that home and one day it looked like the old male was challenging me, so I bit his face. Not a big bite, like I didn’t tear his face off, just a nip to let him know I didn’t like him. Well, they took me back to Bide-wild.
A little while later, a bunch of humans visited me on this one day at what humans called an “Open House”. One pair of humans, an old male and female, seemed kind of nice but I didn’t know them so I barked to let them know they were not to be trusted and I was watching them closely. Little did I know this couple would come back for me!
Those People Again
I was at Bide-wild for about 6 months before I saw those two humans again. I was brought into the big hall where I saw them and I immediately recognized the man as being friendly, so I jumped up on him with my front feet and he quickly, but gently, rubbed my shoulders. I liked him. This was a test and he passed. I picked out a few toys and the man threw them for me to fetch. I jumped up on the lady too and she didn’t seem afraid or anything, so I consider that a pass as well. They seemed happy and I was happy, but they didn’t take me home! What did I do wrong? It was a long time before I saw them again, 7 dog-weeks.
When they returned they took me for a short walk outside, then back inside where I thought I was going to go back in the cage. The man left for a while, 7 times longer than he thought, then he returned. The couple then took me outside again and let me jump into their car. Hey! This was looking good!
They called me Sunshine which was okay and they often referred to themselves as “mommy and daddy”. Funny, I thought my mommy was furry and had a long nose like me. I like to call them Bob and Barbara, what they call each other. “Bob” has other names for me, sometimes calling me “Puppy” (isn’t that cute), Ninja (what I should be called), or others more deprecating, like Houdini. More on this later.
My New Home
I had a great car ride for a long time. I saw lots of buildings and houses, then lots of trees. We finally stopped at a home, my new home, in the country. There were trees! There was an ocean, a pond, birds, and squirrels. I was in doggy heaven! They took me inside, gave me some food and water, then took me on a walk around the house, then around the yard. There was so much to see and smell. I was very happy.
Alas. My immediate happiness was tempered by my NEED to run and hunt. I had my chance one day and ran so fast away from Bob that I pulled the leash from his hands. I ran into the nearby bush but that stupid leash caught around some trees and I was trapped! Barbara found me and took me back home.
The next day I pulled the leash out of Bob’s hands again and ran like hell, but when I got to the campground, a tourist from Ontario (whever that is) saw the leash, caught me and phoned Bob and Barbara. The tourist took me to the human food place across the road and left me there tied up to a post. This is where Bob found me. He wasn’t mad.
Another time I didn’t have the leash connected because clumsy Bob couldn’t get it connected while holding me by my collar. I saw a squirrel that “required” chasing, so I just ripped myself away. No longer impeded by a leash, I was free to run, and run I did, laughing that I got away again.
It was obvious Bob was becoming familiar with my escape route because he was waiting for me at the top of the hill as I ran down the center of the highway. Cars be damned, they can steer out of the way. Bob yelled my name but I wasn’t stopping and I breezed by him, like he was just a statue. He had no chance to stop me.
I had a great time by myself, running for a while. I could hear Bob calling “Sunshine”. Well he should have been calling me Ninja Warrior-sun, THEN maybe I would have stopped. Sunshine is my captive name! After a while I got really thirsty and couldn’t find any good clean water to drink, but I knew there was some back at Bob and Barbara’s place, my new home, so I went back there. No one was home!!! I waited a few minutes in human time, then Bob drove up in his big blue box with rubber wheels on it.. “Hi guys, how’s it going? Can I have a drink?” I asked. They seemed happy to see me. I was wet and dirty, the way a dog of my nature should be.
I escaped a couple times after that, once when the collar snapped, and another when they left the gate open. Ha ha! What fools! I could not find any good food to eat, no rabbits or squirrels so I came back both times from my adventure because I was hungry and thirsty.
We were in a big parking lot and when Bob opened the door of his blue box and before he had a good handle on my leash, I quickly jumped out, dragging that stupid leash with me, across the parking lot into the trees. I had a fun time again, following the gully behind this big food store, but when I got to the top of this hill, I wrapped the leash around a tree and couldn’t get away. Oh man! Then it started to snow. I barked a few times to get someone’s attention and a man showed up but I think he was afraid of me and didn’t approach. It wasn’t long after that that I saw a familiar face: Bob walking up the hill. He didn’t yell at me, and hugged me instead. I’m felt good, I was loved.
Bob Calls Them Adventures
Bob has been chronicling my adventures, calling this next one “Sunshine's Overnight Adventure”, but it was really my 6th escape. This time I was gone all day AND all night, with that stupid leash holding me back once again. I could have run 20 miles but instead only got about 2 miles from home when the leash got caught around some rocks and I couldn’t get loose. I spent the night on the beach, and kind of glad high tide didn’t come in or I would have drowned or at very least gotten very wet. I should have stayed off the beach. It was mild outside so I had good sleep between three big rocks but I kind of missed my home where I knew it was warm and I had food. I felt a little vulnerable to coyotes who could have taken advantage of my plight, but none showed up. Early next morning when the sun came out, who do I see sitting on a rock about 100 feet away? A human…so I barked to get his attention and when he started to move towards me, I saw that it was Bob!! Yes! He saves me again. I think there were tears in his eyes. Maybe I shouldn’t be causing so much trouble.
My LAST adventure and maybe it will BE my last because Bob and Barbara keep on inventing ways to prevent me from running away, was just last week. To fool these guys I ran South instead of North like I used to. It wasn’t long before I saw Bob, across the highway calling me, holding a piece of beef jerky in his hand. I wanted that jerky, but just at the last moment, decided I COULD NOT BE BOUGHT, and just kept running past him. I did this 3 more times with Bob actually touching my fur as I went by. Ha ha! Try and catch me! Then in a moment of stupidity or weakness, when I was half-buried in a hole under a rock looking for a mouse, I suddenly felt hands on me and a grip on my collar! Arrrrggghhhh! Caught again! Man, I was so sad that day. I was having so much fun and had to return to home.
I’m guessing by now you know why my new pack call me Houdini. I’m working on a plan for next time where I’ll leave but will come back for the food and drink. I can’t tell you about it except to say it might happen under the cover of darkness.
I must say I’ve never eaten so well. All I got at Bide-Wild was kibble, that hard crunchy stuff and occasional treats. But at my new home I get canned dog food, with real meat in it, and many times they give me human food. I get beef heart, cooked just for me, and sometimes chicken breast, salmon, hamburger, pork chops and ham. They give me lots of treats too, Dentastix, beef jerky and those excellent crunchy dried beef lung. Mmm, like crack-cocaine to humans, I heard. Bob keeps some treats in his office that I get whenever I’m peckish (I learned that word from a chicken). He sneaks a little piece of cake or cookie to me too when Barbara isn’t looking. I always keep my eye on him and he often gives me a hand signal to come to him, instead of being called. Then he gives me some good stuff to eat. They even give me ice-cream sometimes. I do love them.
Most of the time Bob and Barbara are separated doing their “own thing”, whatever that is. Nothing useful like hunting that I do, but hey, who understands humans? Bob takes me on most of the walks, not long ones, but sometimes he takes me to special places we drive to in the blue box. We hike in the bush on nice clear trails. I like that. He takes me to Peggy’s Cove a couple times a month. I love walking on all those big rocks and getting all the smells of my species from the area. When I know I’m going there I save my pee for marking, basically my “pee-mail” to others. On Saturday Bob and Barbara watch the pictures on that big box that sometimes has animal sounds coming from it. This is when they have a food called peetsa, (sorry, I’m not an Italian breed so I don’t know spelling) and they give me the crusts. I like that too. We are all together as a pack.
I HATE those guys in the white coats! My adoptive parents took me to one for a checkup, then this guy tries to put a muzzle on me! He did eventually but when he got close to check my teeth I bit him! Drew blood too! That’ll teach him! Leave my lips alone. A week later, I was back at this place and a girl gave me some pills that made me sleepy, then she put a sharp pointy thing into my arm that made me pass out. When I awoke I was all groggy and my front legs were shaved. What the hell did they do to me! This is animal abuse, drugging me like that. Barbarians! I felt around in my mouth and it seems they took out a tooth. I needed that tooth! It took me almost 16 hours before I was me again when I noticed my sore mouth had gone away.
I Can Run!
Bob made a real long lead for me, 100 feet long, I heard him say. (Must be human feet, because my feet are small like cupcakes, and 100 of my feet is not that long.) This lets me run for a long distance for a long time, relatively speaking, compared to the short leash. It isn’t freedom, but it is close. It doesn’t work well in the bush though because I keep running around trees and the lead gets wrapped around them. I can never figure my way back. It’s like being in a Hall of Mirrors.
My humans have these evil machines all over the house. Don’t they know they are bad? That one she pushes along the floor that makes a sucking sound drives me nuts and I try to save everyone by biting it, but my humans just don’t seem to realize the danger. They scold me, then hide this machine but I know where it is and sometimes go to the room to let it know I’m still around and watching it. Bob gave me a “bone”, a black tube, from one of these machines and I chewed it to death, ripping it apart.
Bob bought me a new harness, and made some decals that say “Ninja”. Well, he’s getting better; I wanted Ninja Warrior. The harness is a lot more comfortable than that chintzy one they had on me previously, that was always chafing around my legs.
Just Some Ramblings
I heard the humans talking about putting up an invisible fence, whatever that is and something about me having to wear ANOTHER collar that gives me a shock or something if I get too close to escaping from this place. Shock treatment? Wait until Planet of the Dogs, then we’ll see how humans like shock collars!
Another bone to pick: I’m the security chief around here and it really bugs me when a stranger arrives that my humans know about but I was not told about. Why am I not informed of these occurrences? I have a job to do but I can’t if I’m not kept in the loop!
My day begins when the sun comes up because it wakes me from my bed under the kitchen table. I listen for sounds of movement from my humans and I sometimes hear them going to their pee place, but they usually only get up for good hours after I’m awake. I sometimes have to remind them that it’s wake-up time by bursting into Bob’s room by pushing the door open with my snout. If he pets me or rubs my chest, I know he’s awake and will be up shortly. I then visit Barbara in her room 3 or 4 times to wake her up and I’m always guaranteed a good chest and neck-rubbing from her.
Bob prepares his morning drink, some hot black-looking stuff, then he puts on his coverings because he doesn’t have fur like me, and we walk to get the newspaper at the end of the driveway. I always want to continue on but I recognize this as a habit of his, so I tolerate it. After he reads his paper and does some pressing of keys at the box in his basement office, he comes upstairs, puts my harness on and we go for a longer walk through the trees, past the lobster plant, up the highway and back home down the driveway. I like it when Bob walks me because in reality I walk HIM. He lets me venture to the extent of the leash so I get to explore a reasonable area. Better would be no leash so I could go where I want but Bob doesn’t trust me. I don’t know why.
I get some kibble for breakfast just before our walk, and if I finish that by the time the sun is high in the sky, I’ll get more kibble. I like to bulk up before major walks because you never know when you might need it when you ESCAPE! Be prepared I always say.
I’ll get another walk around this time, sometimes going in the truck (the blue box) to get some papers and things out of a metal box. Bob will park the truck and we go on an adventure into the bush. I like these the most because I smell lots of wild animals like deer, porcupines, squirrels, and other guys I don’t recognize. That’s the adventure of the hunt! In winter we can walk further because boggy areas are frozen, but then too the trails have lots of ice. It’s a problem for me sliding on ice, but a bigger one for the old human. Sometimes he puts grippers on the bottom of his paw coverings and we have a real good walk.
In the middle of the afternoon Barbara will take me for a walk, like the one Bob gives me in the morning after our breakfast. Before the big meal of the day I may get a walk, and I get one or two more before we go to bed, but they are just small walks around the acreage, I think so I can have a chance to do my business. Speaking of “business”, my humans are weird. I’ll crap on the road or in our own bushes and they pick it up!! They put it in a bag and take it back home and put it into a big black container in the box where the mice hide. Are they saving this? When we go out to a strange place for walks, they pick up my stuff as well and take it in the truck with them. Weird. They put their “stuff” in that white chair in the little room. When they take my collar off, I get depressed because that means I’m staying in the house for the rest of the night. It is a sad time. Boring too.
My humans bought me lots of toys that I like ripping apart. It’s the closest I get to my true nature: hunting and attacking. Sometimes my humans will pretend they are the prey and fight me. That’s a lot of fun but no substitute for the real thing. I killed a couple mice outside and loved it but I couldn’t eat tehm because Bob took them away from me. That’s not fair. He probably ate it himself.
My bed has the smell of another dog! My humans didn’t think it was that important I have my own new bed, so they gave me a hand-me-down. I respond by sometimes ripping it apart, or dragging it out from under the table into the hallway. They don’t seem to understand.
I have so much energy! Sometimes I act crazy like a cat and just run back and forth from the kitchen to the living room as fast as I can. Things fall…like chairs and stuff on the table. My bed gets all bunched up so Barbara has to fix it. Well? Take me out then!! I follow Bob around the house a lot because he goes outside and I don’t want to miss an opportunity for a walk-and-hunt somewhere. Or escape...
Could Be Worse
I complain about being captive and not allowed to run free, but my neighbours have it worse. Two dogs there are tied up all the time and never get walked and never go on rides. They whine and complain to me and tell me how lucky I am and how they wish they could have what I’ve got. Hmmm. I’m beginning to understand. My people sometimes tie me up outside but they are always around me and make sure I have water and they give me hugs and stuff. I don’t mind being tied up because I have a little freedom and I don’t have to go somewhere EVERY hour of the day.
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