Ichi-ban - 1990-2004

ICHI-BAN VI: He was with us from when he was a small ball of black fluff to the ripe old age of 14. He was the runt of the litter, which did not at all deter him from challenging his siblings, and that set the course of his life. We thought he'd never stop squatting to pee, but then laughed ourselves silly when he started lifting his leg as soon as he saw another dog do it. He trained as well as a typical male Akita (ha-ha). He'd let us be in charge as long as he was satisfied there was no threat, but he never failed to place himself between me and any man unknown to him who entered our house. He trained me well to get him treats by going to the door as if he needed out, and then dashing to the "treats cabinet" as soon as I got up. When visiting children got on his nerves, he herded them into a corner, and then just stood looking at them and wagging his tail until someone noticed what he'd done. When in training class another dog got closer to me than he liked, he grabbed it by the throat to back it off, but then released it unharmed. At another class, my husband walked by a visiting Akita and it growled at him. Ichi-ban took note of this, but knowing he was on lead, bided his time for about 20 minutes until it was his turn to practice recall, at which point, he headed straight for the other Akita. Fortunately, my husband intercepted him. He never learned to catch. We finally discerned that Akitas (well at least none of our Akitas) will not put anything in their mouths without smelling it first, and so we could not tempt him to catch even with filet mignon. He also had no use for fetching. He'd bring back a stick or ball a couple of times just to humor us, and then would run to where the ball landed and patiently wait for us to come pick it up and throw it somewhere else for him. He was scary to other people, and they were right to be cautious of him, but he was the most loving, loyal, funny, intelligent, caring, protective, interesting, unique friend and loved one we've ever had. He kept every secret I ever told him. His coming improved our lives forever, and his going wounded our hearts forever.