Kita was our first family dog. Sean and I always wanted a dog, but we could never agree on a breed. I wanted a German Shepherd and Sean wanted a Chihuahua. The compromise to those breeds ended up being a Shiba Inu.
We got Kita when she was 13 weeks old.
She was full of energy and we quickly decided she needed to be taught to use her brain for good and not evil. So we took her to puppy training classes. I was hooked! I loved training Kita. She easily learned behaviors and happily went to new classes with me working her way up to Utility level obedience exercises.
Kita's aptitude for learning obedience coupled with my desire to show off her skills allowed me to pursue working towards her AKC Companion Dog title. We went to run throughs, even entered two shows. Yet, Kita is not one that enjoys performing in front of a large crowd, expecially if that crowd involves multiple unknown dogs.
Kita was also diagnosed with luxating patellas when she was 18 months old. After a year of surgeries and recovery, her vet believed that she would benefit physically and mentally by casually going to agility classes. Kita loved agility classes, but as courses got harder with sharper turns, more repetion, and full sized equipment, her bad knees just could not do the sport any longer. So, we quit agility and searched for a new way to occupy her mind, but not stress her body.
Sean suggested therapy dog work. He found a class to join and I reluctantly went with them. Little did I know that Kita was a wonderful therapy dog! Being a bit noise shy, we worked through some of that and then decided we were ready to try an evaluation through Delta Society. Since Kita and I had covered most of the metro taking classes, there was nowhere to take our test. So, we met the evaluator at a very crowded Pet Expo that we were volunteering at and in front of 3000 people we passed the test. Leave it to Kita to prove that as long as she's doing what she likes to do, it doesn't matter who or what is around.
Kita prefers to visit older men when we are doing therapy work, but she does enjoy visiting just about anyone. She tends to pick a person for the day and hang around them the most. Recently, we were visiting a Memory Care Unit at a nursing home facility and I was having trouble getting Kita to visit the residents, she wanted to only be next to a certain woman. This woman didn't speak, and Kita rarely disobeys me so blatantly on a visit. At the end of the visit, one of the staff memebers told me the woman has just found out her son passed away earlier that day. I guess Kita knew that woman needed her that day.
Kita visits three or four times a month for about an hour each visit. She gets very tired after a visit and prefers to not even take her typical 2 mile walk after we get back. She recovers by the next day and is up to her usual antics and nightly "stare" to make sure I don't forget about the evening W-A-L-K (yes, we must spell it in our house unless we really are going to go).
Kita is a wonderful family dog that prefers taking life easy and enjoying the simple things life has to offer.
Sadly, Kita has passed away. She died on March 7, 2012 from complications due to a brain tumor. She started having seizures at the beginning of the year and we never did get them under control. Eventually the seizures became more severe and their effects on her were also very severe. She is greatly missed by the whole family and words really do not convey the hole that is left in our hearts that will never really heal. Kita taught us so much over the years. What we learned from her will be passed on to all that follow her. She taught me a respect and patience for dealing with animals that no other could teach. It's not that Kita was perfect- she was far from it. What was wonderful about her though was she was herself and never pretended to be anything but herself. When you worked with Kita it was a true partnership and you were forced to cooperate and compromise. You had to think. You knew when what you were trying was working when she would light up and finally do as requested. You knew it was wrong if you saw her dig in her heals and look at you with "that look." The look that meant "no way." I learned long ago not to push her to shut down, but there was a point right before shut down where I could tell we were headed in that direction. She was an easy dog to read, if you were paying attention to what she was saying. Never did get a solid recall on her, but that's ok. She never really needed it. She did not like dog parks and as I have said before, competitive dog sports were not her thing and she showed me that I was ok with that in spite of pushing her in her younger days. Kita was an incredibly tough dog to start with as a first time dog. When dog books recommend Shibas to only experienced owners, there should be a picture of Kita on that page. Yet, the amazing thing about a tough Shiba is they do not give up on you if you do not give up on them. Kita was and will always be family. We miss you young lady. We miss you even more today than yesterday.
I do occationally bring Kita to shows when I'm feeling the need for some adventure and just to spice up Kita's world. So, Kita does have a few titles to her name:
Her list of accomplishments is not as long as Taiko's, but each is very special. Few know the obstacles she has had to overcome just to get a single leg towards a title, much less an actual title. This list may never grow longer, but that's fine. Kita's job and what she does best at is volunteering as a therapy dog. No one gives out awards or titles for that, but we don't care. We know it's important work, and that is all that matters.
CPE CL1-Regular Agility
CPE CL1-Handler Agility
CPE CL1-Strategy Agility
Canine Good Citizen
Delta Society Registered Pet Partner