11/19/16 - Happy Birthday, Taiko! You are so loved and missed! I brought you your favorite = hamburger and french fries, and a cake for you to share. I am sure you are having fun and playing with your duck. I finally got a puppy since I lost you. She is completely different and is a Lab. No matter what, you will always have my heart so never question that. Keep playing and have fun. I have you with me everyday and I will always love you. See you later. |
In January of 1994, two lives were to begin a fifteen year journey together. One filled with unconditional love, extreme joy and a companionship that will never be experienced again.
In fifteen years, I wish I had a penny for each time someone asked me, "What kind of dog is that?". I would be really rich by now. Taiko, a Shiba-Inu, was no breed I ever heard of either, but "breed" information never mattered to me. I just went to a Pet Store (Yep, that is what you did back then) and saw these two beautiful puppies. They look like minature bears, almost..but with curly little tails and pointy ears. One was black and tan and the other a cream. The black and tan was a girl and the cream, a boy. The little girl, as cute as she was, seemed very skittish and whimpered a lot. Shy and not very friendly, she just stayed away and toward the back of the big pen they were in. But, the little boy...oh, he had personality. Grabbing and chewing on my index finger, I told the lady that I would like to play with both of them to see how they would be out on the floor with me. I sat with my legs sprawled out in a "V" shape so I could play with them and they could decide what they wanted to do. The little girl stayed away. Meanwhile, the little boy just ran up on me and grabbed my finger. I scooted him away as if to play and see what he would do. He ran right back to me, barking and spinning around. I scooted him away one more time and low and behold, he came back with eyes wide open and jumped up to my chest. I picked him up in my two hands and turned his face to mine...looking into his eyes, I simply said, "This is my boy!" And, Taiko came home with me.
Finding a name is always tough when you are looking for the perfect one. I knew nothing of the breed other than what the staff told me and scanning the breed specific book. He is a Japanese decent bred down from the Akita's. So, I needed to find a Japanese name. I remembered a specific movie called Rising Sun, which starred Sean Connery (I really like him and the movie) and it had some Japanese content in it. In this one section of the movie, they attended a ceremonial event where the "Taiko" drums were beaten passionately and with great rhythm. In that scene, they explained that the "Taiko" drums were beaten to "ward off evil spirits". And so, my new son was named, Taiko...my protector from evil spirits.
Taiko was so smart from the very beginning. He was potty trained in three days...despite that he had a bladder of steel and could "hold it" for upwards of 16 hours. Yes, all our life together, I ended up working long hours, but that never mattered to him because when I did come home, he was there to jump up on me, get his favorite toy of choice - which would be the tennis ball, the football or his mallard duck - and we would play fetch for hours at a time.
We began in Las Vegas, NV and after three years, we moved to Seattle, WA. Taiko always loved the warmth but had no problems adjusting...and eventually found snow to be something he would come to find interesting. We lived in houses with fences and apartments throughout the Puget Sound area. But the one thing Taiko always wanted to do....was RUN!!! He was fast and at any opportunity to dig his way out of a yard, he would do it. In a matter of minutes, he will have made a four inch deep hole and wiggle his way out...often running down the middle of the road or being captured over a mile away. My friends quickly learned that we were a search and find crew driving around neighborhoods looking for the little devil. Of course, all along....I am worried to death, but Taiko was having the time of his life...running all over and anywhere he could go. Even into peoples yards, through their garages and into their backyard where I would be able to corner him and bring him back home.
I tell ya, I was lucky to have such a smart dog. While he would find a way to get out of the yards, he was always smart about cars...maybe too smart. But, I never lost him to any unfortunate accident. He may have gotten dirty and exhausted himself to have a build up of salt around his nose, but he always returned home safely.
It is true, too, about how your pets know how you feel. Having had 7 knee surgeries, a wrist surgery and a shoulder surgery, Taiko was always right by my side. He would either sleep with me until the point that he couldn't get up on the couch or bed. When he couldn't get up that far, he learned to just stand up enough and poke me with his nose - just to let me know he was there. And, when he didn't poke me, there were many days I would just wake to him sitting and staring at me intently. Those beautiful brown eyes and blonde eyelashes just blinking at me, telling me that he was always there.
Taiko was extremely tough. Stoic about some of the injuries he suffered in his life. Never crying out with pain. And his toughness didn't stop there. One day while at the dog park, he was surrounded by a Great Dane, a German Shephard, a Lab, and a Husky...but he really did believe he was bigger and tougher than them all as he took his stance all nice and stout...and growled with full teeth showing. My little tough man!!
I have had many dogs in my life. Since I was a child, I was raised with dogs. But, one thing will always hold true....Taiko was the VERY best and my life will never be the same without him. I know that all dogs go to heaven, but I am convinced that the real "special" ones...like I consider Taiko to have been...not only go to heaven, but they also get to sit at the right hand of God. My solice this Christmas is that he is in a much better place. My heart aches, my eyes and nose hurt, but my love for Taiko is ever constant and never ending.
I love you, my precious Taiko-son and look forward to the day of being with you. Until then, Taiko....go run and run as much as you want...I will catch up with you again - this time, I will know where in advance...at the Rainbows Bridge.