Today, I’m hijacking Toka’s blog to write about his canine pal Kiyo.
Little Missy moved in on Christmas of 2011. We’d tragically had to euthanized a brilliant, challenging rescue Akita for osteosarcoma just days before. I was shattered – Zuki was just shy of 3 years old.
In what was admittedly a knee-jerk reaction, I called Kiyo’s breeder, and tearfully (and gratefully) took her up on her offer of giving a home to this adorable deaf puppy. We picked her up on Christmas day.
“Kiyomi” means pure beauty in Japanese, and she has lived up to and into her name. Little Missy is lovely, graceful, elegant, and charming.
A couple of people I know have commented that they like Toka’s work ethic better, pointing out that Kiyo was bred for conformation (actually, so was Toka). They’ve wondered if that fact has ‘watered down’ her Akita temperament. I have to admit that Kiyo is quite an extrovert, being exceptionally friendly. Toka is by far, a better example of the typical Akita aloofness.
That said, the breed is also known for being profoundly loyal. I have little doubt that if I keeled over tomorrow, Toka would pragmatically turn his attention and affection over to the next person who fed him regularly.
Kiyo, on the other hand, exemplifies loyalty. While she loves her 2-legged friends, there is no doubt in my mind that if something did happen to me, she would pine. Her focus and devotion to me mirrors that of the famed Hachiko who faithfully waited for his human to return for 9 years.
I’ve also been told that Toka has a better work ethic. I agree. Temperamentally, Toka is a far better example of this working breed. He’s more interested, more motivated, more enthusiastic about the ‘work’ we do (nose work, obedience, agility, hiking & pack hiking) than is Kiyo.
Everything – every last thing – I have asked Kiyo to do she has done for me. And I am aware that it is for me.
Nail trimming. She hates it, but allows me to do it.
Swimming. She hated it. She was lame for a few month several summers ago and was on crate rest. I’d take her down to the lake and cinch her up in her life jacket. She would look at me, sigh, and resignedly wade into the lake (without prodding) and paddle while I held her in place so she could get some exercise.
She’s not a big fan of agility. I asked her to give me one agility title. She did (with first place finishes).
She was ho-hum about barn hunt. I asked her to get her open barn hunt title. She did – two first place finishes, one 2nd place finish. PLUS!! TWO – count them TWO! – High-in-Trials, over 26 other dogs, including border collies and terriers.
In nose work she was the first Akita to earn her NACSW NW3, then her NW3 elite, and now her Level 1 & Level 2 elite titles. Truth be told, she’s Ok with doing nose work but at 6 1/2, I suspect she’d be just as happy to be just a pet. On the other hand, she does like our girls only road trips.
Kiyo has also earned many firsts – first Akita to earn Do More With Your Dog’s Trick Dog Championship, the AKC Performer Dog title, Dog Scouts of America’s 1000 mile, 2000 mile and 3000 mile pack and trail dog titles (actually, she was the first DOG to earn any of those DSA titles).
Superficially, Kiyo is an atypical example of an Akita, because of her sweetness and extroverted personality. In addition to that, though, she exemplifies the loyalty, courage and dedication of this working breed.
I could not ask for a better partner and friend.