Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Book 14

When we last left dog whisperer Suguri, she, her dog Lupin, and three other dog owners and their pets were taking a vacation together. At a country lodge, they encounter another visitor with four huge dogs — Newfoundland, Great Dane, Leonberger, and Great Pyrenees — as well as an unwelcome guest: a bear!

Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Book 14 cover
Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Book 14
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When Suguri returns, she discovers that her boss Teppei has taken his purebred black Labrador Noa (which is how Suguri and Teppei met) to be bred. That leads into the meat of the book, which tackles the question of mating. Suguri sentimentally wanted Noa and Lupin to have puppies together, but Lupin’s a mutt, so the dogs wouldn’t have much value and their size and health can’t be predicted. Plus, customers in Tokyo don’t want big dogs unless they can brag about them, so the puppies would be hard to find homes for.

Suguri, using the lessons she learned at the farm in book 9, helps Noa have her puppies, but she’s torn. She really wants the brave Lupin to reproduce, but that may not be the best decision. Puppies are cute, but they don’t stay puppies for long, and dog ownership is an important responsibility. (That’s the core message of the series.) There are plenty of unwanted animals put to sleep, and owners shouldn’t contribute to that problem by not thinking through their choices.

Then, though, things get a little weird, as Suguri talks about the decision in terms of “Lupin’s first love” and his “girlfriend”, confusing human rituals with animal instincts. Also creepy: mention of a breed where the dog has been shaped in such a way that purebreds can only give birth through C-section with human assistance. The debate between Suguri and Teppei that follows these concepts reads to me as very Japanese, especially once customer Kim gets involved (even though he’s Korean).

I understand your feelings … but … I am not wrong either. Let’s be rational. It’s hard to say who’s wrong and who’s right.

But then each of them thinks to himself that they know they’re right and how they won’t change their beliefs because it’s so important. It was an interesting glance into a different culture, and how they argue even when animal lives are at stake. They’re acting as parents, not pet-owners, and trying to make decisions based on what will bring the best future for everyone.

Getting unwanted dogs adopted is a tough topic, and one that I’m glad to see this series tackle. So much of it so far has been about the pet store and buying purebreds, and that desire to have a “clean” dog, both in history and parentage, is part of the problem. It’s tough to adopt a dog when you don’t know how they may have been abused, but many “mutts” are hardier and happier than breeds with built-in health issues. Having to find a good home for a larger dog gives Suguri the experience both in understanding how large pets function in a crowded city and in saying goodbye to an animal she cares about.

This volume is very dog-heavy, with lots of pet-focused events, images, and different breeds discussed and shown. Since that’s why I read the series — to experience some of the ups and downs of dog ownership — I loved it. The art does a fantastic job of capturing how the different types of dogs look and behave as they interact, and I enjoyed seeing the variety — big dogs, little ones, adults, puppies, working animals, and pets.

Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs Book 14 is due out October 20. A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.

5 Comments

  1. […] MacFarlane on vol. 5 of Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time (Manga Life) Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 14 of Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs (Comics Worth Reading) Tangognat on vol. 1 of Karakuri Odette (Tangognat) Julie on vol. 2 of Kimi […]

  2. Johanna Says:

    “…At a country lodge, they encounter another visitor with four huge dogs — Newfoundland, Great Dane, Leonberger, and Great Pyrenees — as well as an unwelcome guest: a bear!…”

    Oh do I have yet another anecdote for your Inubaka reviews… ;)

    Bernd Heinrich Says in Winter World : The Ingenuity of Animal Survival:

    “…In January, [bear] sows give birth to two to three naked cubs, which don’t hibernate. They snuggle up to their mother and suckle for the three additional months that she hibernates…

    “…Other than biologists, few humans have entered bears’ dens to find out how cozy they might be. But in one case I am intimately acquainted with, a rabbit-hunting beagle wandered under a brush pile in the Maine woods, which happened to be the den of a black bear with her two cubs. The beagle attempted to retreat, but every time the dog tried to crawl out, the bear dragged it back inside. The sow acted as though the beagle was one of her cubs. The owner finally retrieved his dog unharmed, but only after the bear was tranquilized with a dart gun and the dog had then been denned for two days longer than it intended…”

    What time of year was the vacation in the manga? :)

    Johanna Says:

    “…Plus, customers in Tokyo don’t want big dogs unless they can brag about them, so the puppies would be hard to find homes for…”

    That reminds me, what about other regions of Japan?

    Cindy Wolff Says in “Cold-nosed caravan: Rescued Memphis dogs head north to warm families’ hearts,” The Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 27, 2009:

    “…People in the New England states say stricter leash laws, harsher winters and spay/neuter laws make it difficult to find an average mutt to make a good pet. So they scan the Internet looking for rescue groups willing to let their orphans move up north…”

    GrittyKitty clarified in the comments section under that article on January 27, 2009 at 6:14 a.m.:

    “…1. Stricter leash laws decrease the possibility of unwanted litters.

    “2. Harsher winters kill virtually all litters born outside and stray animals that lost or left behind for whatever reason.

    “3. Enforced spay/neuter laws reduced unwanted litters…”

    Likewise, I’ve seen one of the animal shelters here make room for dogs from the South. Its cat facilities still get overwhelmed by local cats and kittens, though (no leash laws and enforced spay/neuter laws for cats in Massachusetts).

    Johanna Says:

    “…Also creepy: mention of a breed where the dog has been shaped in such a way that purebreds can only give birth through C-section with human assistance…”

    I’ve heard of similar damage done by some pigeon fanciers inbreeding the birds. It’s in part of Superdove by Courtney Humphries.

    Johanna Says:

    “…Getting unwanted dogs adopted is a tough topic, and one that I’m glad to see this series tackle. So much of it so far has been about the pet store and buying purebreds, and that desire to have a ‘clean’ dog, both in history and parentage, is part of the problem. It’s tough to adopt a dog when you don’t know how they may have been abused, but many ‘mutts’ are hardier and happier than breeds with built-in health issues…”

    Did Yukiya Sakuragi give the shout-out to hybrid vigor and not inbreeding too, or are you adding that facet to the discussion just now? Either way, it’s a great point!

  3. The author doesn’t specifically mention vigor, but since the reader is reminded frequently of how Lupin the mutt saved Suguri’s life and sees Lupin succeed at various trainings, I think the value of mutts is clear in the book.

  4. […] been almost half a year since we left Suguri at the pet shop, trying to find a suitable home for the abandoned mutt Hinomaru, but it took me no time at all to get right back into the story. […]

  5. Johanna Says:

    “…Getting unwanted dogs adopted is a tough topic, and one that I’m glad to see this series tackle. So much of it so far has been about the pet store and buying purebreds, and that desire to have a ‘clean’ dog, both in history and parentage, is part of the problem. It’s tough to adopt a dog when you don’t know how they may have been abused, but many ‘mutts’ are hardier and happier than breeds with built-in health issues…”

    BTW, this week I noticed in the paper that the American Kennel Club now accepts mutts and I thought you’d be interested too:

    Monica Weymouth, in At AKC, it’s score one for the mutts, Metro Boston, 15:51, March the 21st, 2010, Says:

    “Founded in 1884 as a registry for pure-bred dogs, the American Kennel Club didn’t traditionally offer many perks for your beloved lab-poodle-schnauzer mix. But as of April 1, the AKC Canine Partners Program will offer mutts not only membership benefits, but opportunities to compete at dog sporting events.

    “‘As time went on, the American Kennel Club became an organization that promoted responsible dog ownership and was dedicated to bringing awareness to animal causes,’ says AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson of expanding its services.

    “As an AKC member, mutt pups receive perks such as trial health care plans and enrollment in the AKC’s lost-and-found recovery service. While the ‘conformation events’ based on breeding stock will still only be open to the 164 AKC-recognized breeds, companion events — such as agility and obedience competitions — are now open to all dogs.

    “And including more dogs in obedience and training events means more happy dogs. ‘Most people will take their dog to one round of obedience training, and they don’t go any further with their training,’ says Peterson. ‘But when they start to compete, it’s a great way to keep them trained and engaged. And it leads to more successful adoptions.'”

    Since the AKC still has conformation events it’s not completely stopping its encouragement of inbreeding, but this is still a step forward. :)

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