My start in Akitas began when I was a middle schooler. We had lost our beloved golden, and could not bear to replace her with another golden. On family outings, we would always check the nearest pet store to look for our next dog. We found the Akita at a mall and fell instantly in love with the breed we had never heard of. My mom would not let us buy her since she was being sold at a pet store, she knew it was not a good idea. This was pre-email and internet, so breeder research was difficult. We found a few here and there using magazines and newspapers, but they were either too far away or didn't have puppies.
Finally 2 years into our search, we purchased Kyoko from a family of the Amish. She was a beautiful Akita, but her temperament was so-so. She was extremely reserved from the beginning and very dog aggressive. She lives to be 8, but had to be put down due to her aggressiveness. This was a heartbreaking decision for my mother, one that I cannot say was right or wrong. She was probably not well-bred, but she was a good dog to us, and we learned a lot about ourselves and the breed from our Kyoko... and for that I am grateful.
I was a senior in college when Kyoko left us. I immediately started a new search for a good breeder. I was determined to do this the right way. I knew I wanted a female puppy from a reputable breeder, but I fell in love with "Tip," a six month old male. I begged my mom and she gave me the money to get Tip. I kept him at school for 2 weeks, took him home at Thanksgiving, and he has stayed there since. He was so different from Kyoko, but still very much Akita. He was afraid of his shadow but is quite intimidating when he wanted to be. At the age of nine he still acts like a puppy despite his near death experience which you can read on his page in our memorial link. After Tip I could not stop searching for more. That brought me in contact with Naomi Browning whom we had dealt with when trying to breed Kyoko. Thank goodness she was never bred, knowing what I know now. Naomi invited me to her new kennel, and from there I was hooked. I couldn't have any more Akitas at that time, but I could have Naomi's to "borrow." She took me to shows and taught me things that I would never have learned on my own. In turn, I washed dogs, scooped poop, and watched her trials and tribulations of being a breeder and handler.
Then came Quincie. Naomi wanted me to pick a dog from a litter to show. I guess it was time for me to have something of my own to show... She was pushing me off the sidelines and into the ring. Quin was originally going to stay at the kennel. I took her home over Christmas vacation (I was teaching then, but still at home) and due to bad weather and a family illness, she worked her way into a permanent residence at my house. She did well in the ring, but has not become a champion although she has her CGC and is active in obedience (I said active, I didn't say obedient!). I have since married and "My" story has become "Our" story, as Garry is head over heels for the crew too. He at least likes to play with the kids and helps out with morning potty duty. I continue to try and further myself in something I love. With marriage came Bert and Cheers, an Aussie mix and another Golden, who are inseperable. We recently moved to 7.5 acres and have added 4 kennels in our heated garage. In the fall we welcomed Tawny back to our home (Kyouji's Sweet and Spicy). Her pups born January 2007 hold great promise.
Quincie has produced 2 extraordinary litters. Of the first born in 2001, Kia (Namika's Kyouji Kia) earned her championship at a young age and Montana (Kyouji's Essence O Montana Sky) was well on her way, but due to complications had to be spayed and is quite happy as a couch potato. Quincie's second litter had 7 pups, several of which went to show homes, with Tomo (Kyouji's You've Got A Friend) earning her Championship. Harley and I continue to jump in the show ring now and then, but I decided to have my own "litter" and we welcomed our twin boys Grant and Garret on December 13, 2005 they keep me very busy and until I can get them in the ring, showing is something I do on a limited basis.
Although "my story" is a long one, I couldn't feel more fortunate for all this has taught me and for all the dogs in my life! I look forward to my journey in this lifelong learning experience.
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