Shiba Rescue Belgium

by violalecompte

Shiba Rescue Belgium is an organization that helps with the re-homing of Japanese breeds, like Shiba, Akita and Tosa Inu’s. Today we have a talk with the founder of Shiba Rescue, Tamara Mouthaan, and find out what makes these Japanese breeds so special…

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Can you tell us a little bit about Shiba Rescue Belgium? What is it that you do exactly?
We help dogs to find a new home. The main focus is on the Japanese breeds and American Akita’s.
If the dogs are in a shelter, we will share their photos and information on our Shiba Rescue Facebook page. This will help them to find the perfect fit: to find an owner who knows what these Japanese breeds stand for.
We do not shelter dogs ourselves, but try to place them directly from their current homes. The contacts with all interested parties go through Shiba Rescue. When it seems to be a good fit, we arrange a meeting. From this meeting, we decide if it could be a good match. If yes, there will be more meetings with the possible new family. In this way, the dog can get used to them before the big step.
We have a good rapport with different shelters and organizations to help dogs.  If a dog really cannot stay in his home, we will try to find a solution through these connections.
We also help with education and with finding a good breeder if people search for a puppy.

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Why and how did you get started in this line of work?
When I got my own Shiba (after being patient for 14 years), I started as passionate breeder of Shibas in Belgium. In total I have four Shibas and they all are truly amazing.
During my time in the world of Shiba Inu’s I noticed the growth in popularity of the Shiba Inu in Belgium. Here and there you could see a couple of of Shibas popping up in shelters. I started sharing their photos and info amongst my friends, because these poor dogs of course needed to find good new homes .
From one dog it went up to more dogs… So I started my own site, in 2008, which was the start of Shiba Rescue. In the first years there where not that many dogs waiting to be re-homed. But now it’s a sad turning point in time: we see a lot of dogs searching for a new home. Where a year ago, ten dogs was a lot, now there are more then twenty on our rescue site, all of them looking to be re-homed.
Until now, we have helped over 300 dogs to find a new home.

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What is the best part of being involved in animal rescue? And the worst?
The best part: to find the dogs a happy forever home. Receiving updates from the new families. Meeting the dogs and seeing their happy faces and the positive evolution they went through.
The worst part: not being able to help a dog to find a family. A dog that is put to sleep for no good reason. Seeing good dogs coming from bad homes in the worst of conditions.

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Isn’t it very tempting to keep (some of) the rescue dogs yourself?
If I could, I would all give them a home, but the possibility is not available at this time… Maybe in the future. It’s a dream of mine.

Why should people adopt a pet instead of buy one?
People need to make their own choices in this. A puppy is also a fun and precious experience in life. However, if people would choose to go to a pet shop or puppy mill, I certainly would advice against this! Maybe you think you can “save one life”, but five other dogs will replace it, and will suffer, because you supported it with your money. Also important to know is that the parents of your puppy continue to live in the pet shop or puppy mill, under the absolute worst conditions. We are against dog abuse in any form! If people know the circumstances and still buy pets in these places, they are not better than the seller…
If people can’t make up their minds between getting a pup or a rescue dog, I would advice to think about a rescue. The love and thankfulness you get from a rescue dog is beyond words, so beautiful.

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Your rescue organization focuses on Japanese breeds. Why these specific breeds? And why is it important that there are rescue organizations specializing in only one breed?
I’ve been raised between sled dogs and I love their independence, pride and beautiful nature.
The Japanese breeds are even more so and really need owners that understand them. This is why it’s good to have a rescue organization placing the focus on specific breeds. Every dog is different, but all breeds have certain needs.
The Shiba is a cute, cuddly dog to see, but its looks do not define its nature.
I’ve noticed that many shelters and dog trainers in Belgium do not understand what the Japanese dogs need. As a result, the Japanese breeds are labeled as “difficult dogs”. Too bad, because the training can be so fun and easy if you teach them in the right way. We are more than happy to visit trainers and schools to talk about these dogs’ character. Shibas are very smart and can achieve a lot with the correct guiding.
People should ask a lot of questions before taking a Japanese breed into their home: “Do I have the time, patience and humor to educate this special dog? Am I able to give him enough exercise, to give him a warm place to sleep, a loving home?”
There are fans of Japanese dogs in every country. They meet for walks. The clubs organize educational and fun meetings. This is a good way to get information. Go to them, to the people who know the breed, and ask your questions . If you listen to their experiences, good and bad, and still like to have your own Shiba or Akita… Then, you are on the good path to welcome one in your home.
Keep contact with Japanese dog owners after welcoming your friend: they are your best help in education. Training a Shiba is tricky: it should be positive, never forcing the dog, since that would break its trust in you, the owner. So stay positive, work with treats, and ask help in time, before a little problem can become a big one.

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How can people help your organization?
Mainly by sharing photos and info of our rescue dogs on all sorts of media: the more attention they get , the better their chance will be to find the perfect home.
If we shelter a dog ourselves, we will ask for help where needed at that time. Sometimes we try to get some money together for a dog in need, but that happens only on rare occasions. Because we do not shelter all the time, we like to see all the good help go to other great people who work with rescue animals.

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How is adopting different from buying a puppy? (Are adopted dogs “more difficult”?)
It depends. People think that rescued animals all have a bad history, that they need a lot of work to be re-educated. But there are a lot of dogs searching for a home who are real darlings, who just had a little bit of bad luck. For example, they have to be re-homed after a separation or a move, so through no fault of their own. In these cases, you just have to keep the good education alive. The other rescue dogs just need to find that family that understands them: there they will show their best of colors be the best dog they can be.

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Do you do any follow-up after a dog has been re-homed?
Of course, we try to keep contact with the dogs who are re-homed with our help. Because we get really busy with our rescue work, we do not always have time to ask how a dog is doing, but people know they can contact us and send us updates, and they do this from time to time.
People also know they can contact us with any questions they might have, about education or other things. We are more than happy to keep that contact alive.

Are there any dogs that are already waiting to be re-homed for a long time?
Kenzo, Szem and Djeno are already looking for a long time. I do hope they will find their perfect fit in the near future.

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If anybody, after reading this post, wants to contact you, where can they do this?
Through our websites: www.shibarescue.be and www.shibarescue.nl. Also through our Facebook page, or by email (shibarescue@gmail.com).

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All photos in this post are property of Shiba Rescue Belgium, I didn’t take them myself.

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