Meet Sumo & Kiko, our dynamic Shiba Inu duo who keep us on our toes every Tuesday morning! “Sumo has been a patient since his first cruciate surgery nearly 10 years ago and although the surgeon told us rehabilitation therapy was not necessary, our dog trainer recommended exploring options if we really wanted Sumo to get back to his prior athletic level. We were so happy with all the help you gave us, it was only natural to bring our other dog Kiko for sports conditioning and ultimately rehabilitation after she had patella and cruciate surgery.
Despite their surgeries, Sumo and Kiko have had long and healthy agility careers thanks to rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance program which we especially appreciate. It not only allows our dogs to stay in great shape for their athletic endeavors, but also helps them as they age. As an example, Sumo has had chronic kidney disease for the past year and a half. That disease often leads to muscle wasting, particularly in a dog’s hind quarters, as the dog gets less and less active. Our primary vet has expressed pleasant surprise at how little atrophy Sumo has suffered and we attribute much of that to his maintenance program which includes hydrotherapy.
We fell in love with the Shiba Inu breed in 1990 based on a photo in a book of 450 dog breeds which was long before anyone knew what a Shiba was. After our first Shiba died from cancer, we searched for the right breeder with the right puppy. Sumo, who is now 13.5 years old, has been part of our family since he was 4 months old. As everyone on your staff who has worked with Sumo knows, he is classic Shiba: incredibly smart, aloof, stubborn, independent, loathes water, and wants nothing to do with anyone unless he is handsomely rewarded. He is the type of dog who makes you earn his affection, and once you do he will make you feel very special.
Kiko is a rescue Shiba who I met during her intake evaluation at Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue and decided to keep rather than put her into their formal program. She came to us as a wild and out of control jumping bean at the age of 15 months. She’s now 10 and is the Yang to Sumo’s Yin. She loves everyone, gives kisses, wags her tail when she greets you and is anxious to please (although she loves rewards too.) She has the smarts and hatred of water that is classic Shiba, but she gives her affection freely.
Kiko is our agility super star. In 2018, she was ranked the #3 agility Shiba in the country by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and has competed twice in the Agility Invitational in Orlando where only the top 5 dogs of each breed are invited. She has earned four agility championships, which is something that only five Shibas have ever done. She also has top titles in Rally and is close to completing an Obedience title.
Sumo has Obedience titles, two top Rally titles, numerous agility titles. When he had to retire from those athletically demanding sports at the age of 11, he started nosework. He now has the AKCs Advanced titles in exteriors, interiors, containers and buried hides as well as nosework titles from NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work) and UKC (United Kennel Club).
Kiko recently had a TPLO surgery for a torn cruciate, so her days include a morning walk, a little bitey-face time with our 4 year old shiba, breakfast, about 10 minutes of rehab homework and then “free time” until late afternoon when she gets about another 10-15 minutes of rehab time (along with some tricks training), an evening walk, dinner, more bitey-face play, a late night walk and sleep. Tuesdays she goes to IPC for therapy and Thursdays she goes to Rally class where she is learning new skills for a competition in September. Sumo’s schedule is almost identical, but he doesn’t play bitey-face (that’s beneath him). He also goes to IPC for therapy on Tuesday and Nosework class on Thursday where he shows off how smart he is (he no longer competes).
One thing I’d like to mention is how important I think IPC has been in keeping both our very active dogs healthy. When Sumo tore his cruciate at a young age, both his primary care vet and surgeon told us to expect him to tear the other cruciate within two years or less and to expect arthritis in that knee by age 6. Well, thanks to great rehab and continued maintenance, the other leg’s cruciate didn’t tear for more than 5 years. Plus, it kept his arthritis at bay as he was able to compete in agility and rally until he turned 11! We were warned that Kiko’s other knee would require surgery if we didn’t keep her in good shape. Even though it was her other cruciate that tore, her recovery from surgery was easier since she was in great shape going in.” -Amy
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Sumo & Kiko have asked us to tell you about Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue.
Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue (MSIR) was founded in 2002 and is a a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and licensed rescue. We help to save and place Shiba Inus throughout the Midwest, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.