My Dogs: Frankie

My family became a Shiba’s final home… But it took some work.

Frankie, as you might be able to tell, is a little bit of a problem child. We love him to bits, and he’s definitely improved when it comes to possessiveness, but it wasn’t always the easiest. When he first came to my family in 2021, he was dropped off with a bin of his old toys from his past family. We had to get rid of those toys fast- he would guard that bin anxiously, and it was heartbreaking to watch. We gave him a few of his favorite ones, since we knew that any more than a couple would increase his anxiety and ‘need’ to guard. In an unfamiliar house, they were likely all that he knew he had.

Frankie in his new home, two years after arriving to live with us.

He never had a problem with us touching his toys- just, well, Noche. You know, the nosiest, goofiest dog on the planet, who would definitely get too close to Frankie’s stuff. It at first seemed like a terrible match- an oblivious yet gentle giant, and a hyper-aware dog who had many reasons to be possessive. They would get along, bark at each other, avoid each other, and get along again. But over the past two years, my family worked with Frankie. We made sure he felt comfortable and secure, while also letting him know that claiming an entire room is a little unreasonable.

My favorite thing about Frankie is his growth– it astonishes me how much he has been able to change. He has his sassy days every now and again, but I think he’s a different dog from the day we got him. He cooperates, allows Noche and others into his space (he’s still wary of strangers in his home), and is working on his protectiveness around dogs when out on walks with us. Most of this is possible due to a change in environment, activity, and redirection. But a large part of it is also his own strength and ability to become vulnerable and accept us as his family. 

The first time Frankie decided to sit on my lap. I was so excited that I didn’t get up until I absolutely had to.

My second favorite thing about him is his smile, particularly when you rub his back or when someone comes home after a while away. He lights up the moment the door opens- if the door has a glass pane, or there is a nearby window free from curtains, you can walk up to the doorway while watching his expression grow more and more excited.

I’ve been accused of favoritism, and I won’t lie- I genuinely spend more time with Frankie, simply because he loves to lounge where people are, rather than Noche, who’s usually in the sun or against the wall (like I said before). When I was working on assignments over break or finishing finals from home, Frankie was a great study buddy. I mean, he didn’t do anything besides lay beside me and stare, but considering I was on the couch (AKA his “bed”), and he was humoring me late into the night, he was very considerate.

Noche tends to be more of a kitchen buddy- whatever you’re making, he’s there, lying against the wall or in the middle of the kitchen floor. I’m surprised I haven’t tripped over him more- if he wasn’t a Black Lab, I probably would have.

I never thought I would be much of a pet person. In full honesty, I don’t think I am. I think I’m a Frankie and Noche person. 

*DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ADOPT A SHIBA INU UNLESS FULLY PREPARED. A source that has been helpful for me is My First Shiba’s blog. Ask your vet about any rehoming/adoption adjustments!

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