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Puppy Cam

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By Jenny Hartley

My friend in Texas sent me a link to a puppy cam on Nov. 7.  Click here for the puppy cam.

Most days since then, I've tuned in from time to time throughout the day to watch the little shiba inus playing with their plush jack-o-laterns, carrots and even a stuffed trout.

Ocassionally, a man with tattoos on his arms wearing black pants reaches in to handle the puppies, or clean up their messes.

For most of the day, the puppies, which are about six weeks old now, snooze on their fleece cushion, their little paws and mouths moving in puppy dreams. Sometimes, on a stressful day, it's relaxing just to watch the little guys sleep peacefully.

The Web cam has become an Internet sensation, as reported by msnbc.com. I watch with pride, seeing a rare breed of puppy spotlighted on the Web cam.

The shiba inu is one of the oldest dog breeds, originating in Japan as far back as the 3rd century B.C. It was originally bred to flush small game, such as birds and animals. Today, it is one of the most popular breeds in Japan and is gaining popularity in the United States, where it is recognized by the American Kennel Club.

My parents, who have raised Siberian huskies for the show ring for almost 30 years, got their first shiba inu in the early 1990s. That first shiba, Jessie, recently crossed the rainbow bridge at age 17. Simon, a beloved 15-year-old obedience winner and stud dog, joined her only Monday.

I own Simon's granddaughter, Yoshi. I got her in 1999, after I graduated from college and got my first apartment.

Since then, Yoshi has been faithfully by my side through five moves, a marriage and a divorce. She has been to events I've covered for the newspapers I've worked for over the years, standing her ground at parades when the deafening fire trucks go by with sirens blaring and wagging her tail at every child who passes by. She wasn't quite as brave at a Civil War reenactment, hiding under the hoop skirts of a woman during cannon fire.

The breed is healthy, fastidious, independent and courageous. They are extremely intelligent, some would even say crafty. My parents have a shiba, Avalon, who puts her chew toy in the middle of a room and then hides. When another shiba goes for it, she pounces with evil delight, having caught an unsuspecting dog in her booby trap.

Another shiba, appropriately named Diana, my family knows catches mice in her food bowl. She leaves a few pieces of kibble in her bowl at night and goes into her dog house. When the mice appear to eat the leftovers, Diana, the hunter, catches her prey.

Shibas possess a strong hunting instinct, and will chase cats, birds and any other smaller (or larger) animal that comes their way. They must be on a leash or a fence at all times. I have a friend, he knows who he is, who knows what happens when a shiba gets loose. He knows, having chased Yoshi down a busy highway wearing shorts and a windbreaker on a cold day when she escaped out the front door. He lost his flip flops during the run.

Have you fallen in love with Shiba Cam? If you haven't seen it yet, go to our Web site at HYPERLINK "http://www.thelancasternews.com/"www.thelancasternews.com and check out the link.

If you have already fallen in love, and think the shiba is the breed for you, give me a call or send me an e-mail to learn more first. The shiba isn't for everyone, and needs lots of training and a firm hand at a young age to become a well-adjusted dog.

I feel a lot of shiba pride when I check out the latest Web curiosity. Of course, also being a pug owner, I'm hoping Shiba Cam will start a trend. Anyone who spots a pug puppy cam on the Net, make sure to send me a link.

Contact senior reporter

Jenny Hartley at 283-1151