Everything is a prize!

Tori braving the Oklahoma wind!

Tori is our “Big Fella” Japanese Chin.  Weighing in at 24 pounds when we first took him in, he was the brute of our Chin family.  After fostering him for nearly a year, it was apparent to us that he might never be placed in an adoptive home.  Tori appeared to be completely petrified of people and new experiences.  Family and friends would stop by for a visit, and Tori would dash into the bedroom to hide in a corner.  The whole time we visited with our guests, Tori stayed crouched in his hiding spot, breathing deeply and shaking.  After our company left, it might be hours before he would venture from the bedroom.  When he did, he was very careful to come out, moving slowly and cautiously before he was convinced danger was no longer present.  Even going outside to do his “business” was a scary experience. I tried leash training, hoping that he might enjoy walking and eventually get used to meeting people and vehicles and seeing a cat or two.  But after three months of trying, I gave that up.  He would get to the front gate and pull back, refusing to proceed.  All the walking we ever managed was on 3 or 4 acres of  fenced pasture and yard.  He just seemed to have too many fears.

Tori carrying a prize stick!

Originally, Tori and Niko had come to us as a pair.  They belonged to an elderly lady who was being moved to an assisted living facility and could not take her pets with her.  She turned them over to JCCARE, Japanese Chin Care and Rescue Effort, and we offered to foster them until homes could be found.  We determined that Niko and Tori did not necessarily have to be adopted as a pair.  Niko was his own man, and he took on the role as alpha male of the 4 Chin in our home.  Tori was submissive to all of the others.  He spent much time by himself off in a corner, always choosing to be alone.

A prize apple Tori refused to give up after several rounds of chasing.

Two things happened last autumn that had bearing on a personality change in Tori.  First, Niko was to adopted by a wonderful couple down in south Texas.  We worried a little that Tori might miss his partner but, at the same time, Tori was scheduled for a dental exam (we knew he definitely needed his teeth cleaned) and could make the ride with Niko to meet the regional JCCARE representative.  His breath had been horrible since we took him in.  Indeed, the vet reported 12 necessary extractions, which left Tori a bit handicapped on one side of his mouth.  Special arrangements were made for Tori to come home immediately after the extractions and cleaning because of his anxiety around strangers.  We felt the sooner he came home, the calmer he would be.  Within a week, it was as if we had a completely different boy.  Tori was clearly happy.  In fact, to see him run to the door and bound out into the yard showed a look of pure joy!  He became more outgoing with our two Chin, Zoe and Bear.  He wanted to play, pouncing at them.  He ran the “Chindy 500” and did “chin spins” out in the yard.  He picked up toys and flipped them around.  He became the house watchdog (FD designated him “Deputy Dorkfish”), barking at vehicles coming up the driveway.  He was still leery of strangers, but instead of hiding in a corner, he peeked around doorways and stayed at a little distance.  The transformation was nothing short of amazing!

Tori guarding his prize hunting duck.

I soon began to notice Tori had a penchant for picking certain items up and carrying them around.  Most of the time it was a prize he picked up while on an outing to “do his duty”.  Often, it was a large stick or the stem of a plant.  One time he chose a large piece of crushed rock from the driveway.  If I didn’t notice him bringing it inside, I surely noticed later when the shredded item lay in pieces all over the carpet (excepting the rock, of course!).  During apple harvest, I would find a couple of rotten apples discarded on the floor and once saw Tori drop an apple in the kitchen, only for Bear to come along to scarf it up.  Bear has a weakness for any kind of apple.  Once, Tori came in the house adorned with a large rooster feather stuck in the ruff of his chest.  It appeared he had joined one of the local Native American tribes!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photograph of the dangling feather before he chewed it up.

Today I noticed something black in Tori’s mouth as the trio of Chin headed up the stairs to the front door.  On closer inspection, I knew what it was.  Looking to the spot where Daisy deer had dropped three clumps of poop pellets near the house, I noticed only two remained.  Tori was hoping to tote yet another prize into the house… but, I can assure you, that did not happen!  I left him outside, ran to get my camera and, on my return, found Tori sitting at the front door with the clump of poop dropped in front of him.  Even then, he still had a dangle of something black hanging from his mouth and hacked a bit, then shook his head.  Evidently, the black ball-like object LOOKED more interesting than it tasted.   Tori’s moral to this story: Some things are most definitely NOT a prize.

The deer poop wasn’t such a tasty prize after all!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

10 thoughts on “Everything is a prize!

  1. It would seem that Tori’s dental problems being taken care of really freed him up to be the wonderfully playful creature he was intended to be. How wonderful to see him enjoying life there with you, and even the deer friends, apparently!


  2. When I was teaching I often had lower SES kids with horrible dental problems. Usually a combination of being left with a bottle all the time (milk sugar rots teeth) and lack of dental care! These children were lethargic and never did well in school. How could they with all that pain? Sometimes we could get them dental care and what an amazing turnaround! Glad your pup is doing so well!

    Also, we used to have a terrier (terrior!!!) who liked to run around with poo… We often saw him sitting at the door waiting to get in with a “stogie” hanging out of the side of his mouth. GACK!


    1. Sadly, I found Zoe eating deer poop this morning too. I guess there must be something tasty about it. That’s hilarious about your terrier!! A stogie, eh? How distinguished!


  3. This was such an awesome story of your adorable and sweet little dog Tori! You are such a kind and loving soul taking in the homeless animals! So happy to hear of his amazing behavioral transformation! Do you think its because the teeth that had to be extracted were hurting him while they were still in there or because once Niko left he felt like the ‘top dog’? Either way, that’s such a lovely tale of positive transformation, thanks for sharing:)


    1. I definitely think his teeth were a big part of the problem. Also, Niko was a strong personality. Zoe is still the “Straw Boss” around here, but she isn’t so aggressive as she was when Niko rivaled for her attention. Tori and Bear seen to tolerate her need to be in charge, but they have both had to straddle her and put her in her place when she gets her beeotch on!! It’s a fairly sedate crew around here lately. I do enjoy their antics! The Japanese Chin is such an awesome breed. They are couch potatoes, but every now and then they tear loose doing all sorts of silly maneuvers.


  4. PS, Those pics are hilarious of Tori with his little tongue always hangin’ out to the side, lol:)
    And what is it about dog’s and their love of “scooby snacks”? Back in college I had a friend who would bring her dog with her when she came over and without fail, she would run straight to my cat’s litter box looking for a snack:/ YUCK! There must be indeed something tasty about poo to dogs…1 of life’s mysteries I guess:)


    1. I know, cat poo seems to be a delicasy of some sort. GACK! I hate to report but yesterday I found Zoe snacking on deer poops. Evidently, they are chewy because she was smacking. And… Tori, was discovered sniffing around Daisy as she pee’d and he promptly ROLLED IN IT after she finished. Never a dull moment around here!


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