Remembering Aki

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 by

Aki was the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen.  But more than his physical beauty, his inner beauty stole my heart.  This page is my memorial to my beloved angel-dog, Aki Shima.

Approximately 10 years ago, I created a flash movie as a method of teaching myself to program using Flash.  Aki was my subject, and below is a link to the finished product.  When I first met Aki, in November 1996, he immediately stole my heart.  Ever since watching the Westminster Dog Championships earlier that year, I had been wanting a dog.  At first, I thought that I wanted a Basenji, but Lance, the man I was dating at the time, told me about another breed that he’d found in an online search: the Shiba Inu.

Here’s Lance’s recollection of acquiring Aki:

“Seems like yesterday, we were set to go to the dog show in Philadelphia, when on that Friday night we opened the mail – and you saw a photo of him – everything changed.   Just a few miles from Canada in Chateaugay, that very cold morning…..he soon warmed things up, entering that room, just weeks old, romping and roaring like a lion, quickly fixed on you – was drawn to you, and he was yours.   Bond formed.  Your guardian in so many ways.   You were his destiny…  As I am fortunate to have witnessed your two first meeting, include and share my sentiments and simple reflection that he was your guardian, truly entered your world like a lion, and not surprisingly has seemingly left like a lamb…”

As a young pup, Aki was small, but his demeanor truly was regal and confident, like I’d image a lion to be.  He was very energetic, as puppies are, and playful.  I worked hard to make sure he was well behaved and for the most part, he obeyed me.  I remember one time, however, he decided that he did not want to listen to me and nipped at me, as if he were warning me about a bite.  I was stunned!  How could this little creature that I loved so much, took care of, walked twice, sometimes three times, per day, turn on me like this?  I was outraged and expressed my anger by briefly yelling at him and then refusing him eye contact for the rest of the day.  He couldn’t take it!  He followed me all over the apartment, staring at me, whining, trying to touch me.  But I was firm: no eye contact, no speaking, no touching.  After 24 hours of the cold shoulder, I finally looked at him.  He never defied me again…not in 15 years.  I think we had an understanding.  It was amazing.

Aki lived with me in New York City for the first few years of his life, and then came with me to California.  He adapted well to being part of a pack, and got along very well with both other animals and people (even children).

My most precious memory of Aki is the way he greeted me when I came home.  As a working musician, my hours are often insane, and despite my late night arrivals, Aki would scream at the top of his lungs, causing me to rush into the house and grab him to quiet him.  I suppose I could have (should have) trained him out of that habit, but my ego loved that kind of bolstering.  My doggy missed his mommy!

In the last 2 years of his life, I had a couple of scares.  The veterinarian believes that he might have had a brain tumor, as he experienced 2 seizures (that I know of) and suffered occasional disorientation.  He was on daily medication for a year, which seemed to control the seizures, and he suffered from severe arthritis.  I last walked him on November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, and he was walking decently well with the rest of the pack.  There were no impending signs of his demise, but I knew it was coming.

Enjoy my decade old flash movie. I hope you get a small sense of how great this little dog was.  He truly blessed my life.  Thank you, Aki.  I love you forever…

Aki’s Memorial

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2011 at 9:00 pm and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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