Akita Rescue - My Experience
If you’re considering Akita adoption, read this account first! This is all about my experience with Akita rescue and how I replaced a Golden Retriever with two Akita puppies. First, I’ll provide some background explaining how this came about. Some years ago, I had a wonderful, beautiful golden Retriever named Rascal. He was a truly awesome dog. Rascal was great with our kids, with other people’s kids, with our friends, and with complete strangers. He even loved our cats and would protect them from other dogs when he needed to. He disappeared one weekend, and we never found him. Johnny and I searched for months, riding back roads and visiting all the shelters and pounds in our area. We put up flyers, placed ads in newspapers, and offered a reward, but Rascal had vanished without a trace. I grieved for Rascal for over a year, often dreaming about him. There was a huge void in my heart, but I had no interest in getting another dog. Finally, Johnny begged me to find another canine companion, so I relented and paid a visit to the local animal shelter. Little did I know that I was about to set out on a crazy canine adventure!
Akita Puppies For Adoption
I looked around and soon came upon some adorable Akita puppies for adoption. I thought they were Akitas, but I wasn’t sure, so I asked about them. Sure enough, they were Akitas. All the males had already been adopted, so I chose a black female and named her Nikki. She was a gorgeous black ball of fur with a luxurious coat and dancing brown eyes.
At the time, we lived in the middle of nowhere on our mini-farm. Johnny and I both worked full time in the next town, which was 20 miles away. We felt that it wouldn’t be right to leave Nikki alone for so long each day, so we decided to go back to the shelter and adopt Nikki’s sister. She was a brindle, and I named her Saki.
When we first got the Akita pups, we hadn’t fenced in the back yard yet, so during the day, Nikki and Saki were contained on the screened-in front porch. Every day when I arrived home from work, I would let the girls out to run and play.
One afternoon when the pups were about three months old, I let them out for a romp around the yard while I ran into the house for just a minute. When I returned the dogs were nowhere to be seen. I called them repeatedly, to no avail. I jumped in the jeep and drove down the dirt road, and I saw Nikki and Saki in a barn. I called them, and they shot out of the shelter like a bullet, running home as fast as they could. Nikki had a baby goat in her mouth! I guess she was bringing it home for her dinner.
I got the goat away from her, and it wasn’t injured. I returned it to the pasture down the road, and as soon as I did, it was obvious as to which nanny was the mother. She met me at the fence bleating plaintively. The baby went right to her and began nursing. We checked on the baby goat for the next couple of days, and it was fine.
On the front porch with Nikki and Saki was an old wooden rocking chair that had belonged to my grandmother. When I got home from work one day, I noticed the chair was gone. All I found of it was a small piece of the rocker. The dogs had eaten an entire rocking chair!
Once we got the back yard fenced, the real adventures began! We had an ancient pear tree that was heavily laden with fruit every year. The limbs were so heavy that they bent down, close to the ground.
One afternoon, Johnny called me outside to see something. I watched in awe as Nikki jumped up, grabbed a limb, and held it down long enough for Saki to plup a pear from the branch. Then Saki did the same for Nikki. Wow! Talk about team work!
Our house was cabin-like, with cedar shingle siding. We had lots of rescued cats, and they were constantly tormenting the dogs. They loved to get on the roof, look down at the dogs, and meow at them. Nikki and Saki began eating the siding. I think they figured if the house fell down, they could get to those pesky kitties.
One Sunday afternoon, Johnny was working on the computer, when all of a sudden, he watched as the wire slowly disappeared down the hole and under the house. The girls had decided that we were spending too much time on the computer and not enough time with them, so the remedied the problem by going under the house and pulling out the cable.
Nikki and Saki turned out to be champion diggers. They had holes all over the back yard, and I swear, some of them were deep enough to bury a car. I tried to come up with a way to harness their talent, like maybe hiring them out to dig ponds or swimming pools.
One morning I went outside to find Nikki and Saki soaking wet. I wondered how they had gotten that way, and it didn’t take me long to discover the reason. They had dug up and broken a water line. They had effectively created a small lake in the back yard and were having a high old time sloshing around in the huge puddle.
Another time, Nikki and Saki were in hot pursuit of a skink – a large lizard. The critter had somehow managed to escape them by slithering underneath the wood pile. The dogs were nosing excitedly around the firewood when the skink hopped onto Nikki’s back. I suppose skinks aren’t too bright. Anyway, Saki spied the prey and chomped down on what she had calculated to be the lizard. The skink, however, leapt off at just the right moment, so instead of getting a mouthful of reptile, Saki got a mouthful of her sister’s fur. The look on Nikki’s face was priceless!
Nikki and Saki never barked unless someone or something was in our yard, so when we heard their alarm one night around 2 a.m., we got up to investigate. An armadillo was burrowing itself under the brick foundation of the house, trying to escape the menacing jaws of the dog. Apparently, the girls had already tasted the critter – we could see blood on it. We decided the kindest thing to do would be to shoot the armadillo to put it out of its misery. Johnny fired at the creature, and in the process, he shot through the gas line. I was scared to death the house would blow up!
One day either Johnny or I had not shut the back door completely when we left for work. When we got home, the dogs were lounging nonchalantly on the living room sofa. We looked around inside, and we could see everywhere they’d been. They had visited the pantry and helped themselves to cookies and potato chips. Then they had played for a while in the girls’ room. When they had to poop, they chose a cardboard box for their toilet.
Nikki and Saki were great companions, and they were extremely affectionate. Saki had a strange habit that I’d never seen before or since: when we petted her, she’d fall over on her side. It was like she enjoyed it so much that she lost the ability to stand.
I still miss the Akita girls, but they’ve been replaced by Great Dane boys. And I’ve found that the Danes are even more affectionate, and while they’re amusing, they’re not nearly as destructive as Nikki and Saki were!
Akita Dog Breed
When we had Nikki and Saki, I did a lot of research on the Akita dog breed. Akita dogs are pretty easy to recognize once you know what you’re looking for. They’re large dogs, and an adult male might stand twenty-eight inches tall at the withers and weigh more than 120 pounds. The short, dense coat has two layers and can be any color. The tail curls over the back. The head is usually the most identifiable feature of Akitas. It’s basically a group of triangles. The prick ears are small triangles, the eyes are small triangles, and the head is triangular in shape. The Akita has a powerful body, with a wide, deep chest and muscular back. The legs should be muscular, with good bone, and the feet are feline-like. All in all, the dog should portray grace and balance.
The Akita dog breed originated in Japan, where it was developed from the dogs of the Matagi, people famous for their hunting culture. Akita dogs have been used to hunt bear, wild boar, and deer. They also served as guardians and were used in dog fighting.
Akita Dog Breed:
Akita temperament is often hotly debated and can run from one extreme to the other. People seem to either love or hate the breed, depending on their personal experiences. Some see the breed as undependable and aggressive, while others see Akitas as calm, loyal companions. Which is the correct assessment of Akita temperament? That largely depends on the blood line, the individual dog, and dog training.
Akitas can be willful and stubborn, so they need a strong handler. They also need early training and socialization. In most cases, if your Akita doesn’t see you as a strong pack leader, it will assume and take on the role. On the other hand, if the dog understands that you’re “the boss,” dog training will be much easier, and you’ll have a dog that’s more balanced and dependable. Even if the dog responds to your commands, it might not have much respect for other humans. That’s where proper socialization comes in. Some Akitas can be very standoffish to strangers. If you want a dog that readily accepts all your family members, friends, and others with whom it might come in contact, you need to expose your Akita puppy to a lot of different people and to a lot of different situations.
Because of their long hunting past, most Akitas have a strong predator mentality, and they might see any smaller animals as prey. That can include other dogs, as well as cats, birds, squirrels, and anything else that moves. I think you can probably figure out that our dogs were animal aggressive, based on the above accounts. Neither of our Akita dogs were dog-aggressive, however, and I was surprised to find out just how cat-aggressive they were. Our Akita puppies were raised with cats, and they all got along fine. As adults, however, Nikki and Saki came to hate the cats. The dogs can also be very territorial, defending their turf against anyone and anything they see as a threat.
On the plus side, an Akita can be extremely loyal to its human family, and the dogs have been known to be fiercely protective of their human packs. They’re usually super affectionate with family members, too. as far as courage goes, I don’t think the dogs are scared of anything! Ours were also quiet. They didn’t bark unless there was a reason for doing so.
If you’re considering Akita adoption, think long and hard before making a final decision. These dogs can be absolutely wonderful in the right hands, but in the wrong hands, they can be dangerous. In fact, some areas have placed restrictions on Akita ownership. We just got new homeowner’s liability insurance, and we were asked if we owned certain dog breeds that the company considers risky. The Akita was one of the breeds, along with the pit bull and the Rottweiler. The insurance company was fine with the dogs we have in our home now – two Great Danes and a Basset hound.
If you have experience with dog training and with handling large, dominant dog breeds, an Akita might be a good fit for you, and you might want to adopt an Akita. If you can find Akita puppies for adoption, that’s probably your best bet. At a young age, you can train and socialize the puppy correctly. Check with a local animal shelter to see if they have any Akita puppies. You can also check with an Akita rescue organization in your area. Unfortunately, many Akita dogs wind up in rescues due to the fact that the owners weren’t prepared or knowledgeable enough for handling and raising such powerful, dominant dogs.
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