The story of Sunshine is short! As of this writing (Sep 21, 2016) we have only had her for about 2 weeks!
Sunshine's story began in Japan where she was born to an Akita* mother, father unknown (isn't that just like a male!). No one knows for sure where she stayed in Japan if she was even with a family, but what is known is that she was rescued from a kill-shelter by a couple who brought her to Canada. Unfortunately they were transferred to Toronto, so they had to leave the dog behind in another shelter.
(*verified though DNA test)
This is where we found her, at BideAwhile Animal Shelter in Dartmouth.About a month after our dear Lassie died, we went to BideAwhile NOT to look for a dog, but to attend an Open House. There we met Sunshine but deemed her not suitable because she barked alot, and had a history of biting people. We passed.
Six months later we saw a video of Sunshine on BideAwhile's web page with the director of the shelter. She looked pretty cute.After having spent many months looking at all the shelter websites in the area, we had come up dry for a dog, but were willing now to look at Sunshine again. She did meet some of my criteria: medium size (40 lbs-Lassie was 65 lbs), gold/brown color, female and more than 5 years old. I wanted a "fetcher" and she had to be able to ride in vehicles, because we wanted to always take her with us wherever we went. No more cages for her.
We saw her on a Saturday and fell in love at second sight! We met with her in a large room where she immediately went to a toy box, extracted a toy and dropped it at our feet."Play with me, Play with me". She had so much energy. She didn't bark once and she loved to lick any exposed flesh.
The director wasn't there so we couldn't take her that day. On Monday I had to fly out West for a week, returning Friday, but the director now would not be available until the following Tuesday. My wife Barbara was starting to get nervous that we would not get this dog, that Sunshine would be adopted before we could get back to Bide Awhile. Well, obviously we did get her. In fact. BideAwhile gave her to us as a "no-charge adoption" because Sunshine had been there for 6 months and was considered hard to adopt. (I later gave a large donation to the shelter, as show of thanks.)
The story about her biting was a "one-of" situation and the details indicated that it was not really an attack like it was made out to be. She had also run away once or twice at BideAwhile and we were warned of this.
We got her home. She travelled in the vehicle like she had been doing it all her life, not so much as a whimper from the back seat as she watched all the activity outside the vehicle. On her first walk on our property it was like she had a brain tumour, scanning the ground left and right, oscillating side to side like a snake, smelling everything there was to smell: deer, cats, previous dogs, birds, squirrels. She did this for about a week as we introduced her to our acreage, and then it dawned on me that she was so excited at all the new smells and mother nature that it was overwhelming for her. She settled down after many, many walks on the same path through the forest.
Sunshine's discovery of nature couldn't have been more obvious than when she was pouncing on grasshoppers in the long grass and chasing butterflies. She snapped at the ocean surf because it was moving.; She stared at the wavering spruce tree branches as they moved in the wind. Needless to say, seeing birds, squirrels, and even a mink for almost surely the first time, got her very excited
She loves the water. She just recently started playing with the toys we bought her. She sleeps well at night, and just recently adopted under the kitchen table as her bed.
Update: Dec 2016 It's been about 3 months. She's run away 5 times; 2 times we caught her, 3 times she was gone for an hour and returned on her own. She had been spotted 5 km away! She has about 10 toys and has ripped most of them apart. She likes to find and chew on anything soft like hats or gloves, so we have to be careful where we put these things. Do we still love her? Yes we do.