Diversity Lessons from Kinu
It is said that the only fault of dogs, is that they don’t live very long.
Kinu, our beloved Akita, lived to the prime “old age” of 12 years. If it is to be believed, in human years he was 84.
Kireisa’s Little Big Man “Kinu” pranced across the Rainbow Bridge on Saturday, Dec 12 at high Noon. He was surrounded by his human family to the very end, his head in my lap.
Kinu is Japanese for silk and his soft coat aptly fit the description. He was a gentle giant – once tipping the scale at a robust 120 lbs – with a kind soul and big heart. He loved small yappy dogs and children; being always gentle and patient with them.
He came from good stock: His father was American Champion Big-O Thunderheart “Murphy” of Kokomo; his mother, Kireisa’s Champagne Dream “Moka” was descended from a long line of American and Canadian Champions.
So you see, when he walked proudly with his head held high and his unusual double-curled tail swishing from side to side, he came about it honestly.
But the show ring wasn’t the place for Kinu. On his first appearance he promptly goosed a surprised judge. He didn’t win, but the judge remarked how “well organized” he was. Whatever that means.
Kinu’s place, however, was at home with family and friends; chasing balls and squirrels, sniffing out mice, catching snowflakes or burrowing into snow banks in winter. He was our Snow Dragon.
He loved to “talk” too, giving a hearty “A-r-r-o-i-n-g “every morning before his first walk of the day.
Like a phantom limb,Kinu will be greatly missed.
In a world full of diversity, Kinu taught me and those he met many things. Among them:
Be open to new experiences: He enjoyed long walks to discover new people and places. He especially loved going for drives in the car.
Be welcoming of others: He took it as a personal affront if strangers walked by without saying “hello” to him.
Be curious…about everything: Everyday was an opportunity to discover new things. No matter how large the area, he was able to spot the one new thing present and promptly went to investigate it.
Focus on small things: He was endlessly fascinated with round things – balls, stones, etc .
Listen well: He would tilt his head from side to side when he was talked to, as if not wanting to miss a single word being said to him.
Enjoy the great outdoors: One of his greatest joys was to take off into the nearby conservation area from time to time. Of course this caused tremendous anxiety among the family, but his Guardian Angel always sent him home safely.
Be brave and loyal: Even at a few months old he would “block” the path of strangers, putting himself between them and us.
Protect those who cannot protect themselves: Kinu didn’t bark a lot but when he did, it shook the house. Sometimes he just quietly watched a stranger through a window from inside the house to figure out their “next move.”
Leave your mark: He never met a tree or vertical object that he didn’t like. He always left his “mark.”
We all could learn a lot from dogs if we only we paid attention.
Good boy Kinu…good boy!