Nami was my very first Kishu Ken, and my constant companion, and as of February 23rd, 2019, she is officially retired from my breeding program. Nami is still in good health, and remains as active as ever, but she is advancing in age and she deserves to retire to life as a happy companion, with no other expectations.
So I wanted to talk a little about Nami, and my start in Kishu Ken.
Nami was born in 2011, and imported in late 2011/early 2012 by Brad Anderson of Hakuzan Kennel. She was the very first "yuushoku" Kishu Ken in the USA, but not the first one to be exported to North America (there's a female in Canada who was imported as a pet who has that honor - and the first yuushoku dog exported from Japan). In 2012, she bounced around from her landing-home at Airreyalis Shikoku Ken before she found a more permanent home among family members at Sagami no Roushya.
It was Gen at Sagami no Roushya who I was in contact with when I first started my journey toward Kishu Ken ownership, and it was Gen who surprised me with the offer of giving Nami a retirement home in late fall, 2013. Nami, for what we knew, was 2 years old by then and had never had a visible cycle. It appeared she was unfortunately infertile, and Gen was hoping to start a hunting kennel for the breed, and Nami's lack of a cycle and her difficulty with other household dogs brought him to the decision to home her with me.
Nami is still one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given, and I am honored that Gen and Brad trusted her with me.
She arrived to me early May, 2014, after she'd finally passed her health exam and got cleared to fly (she'd had an allergic reaction and a pyoderma that needed to clear up, as I recall, prior to that.) Those first weeks were utter bliss as we got to know one another; even then, she was everything I hoped for in a Kishu, and everything I was looking for. It wasn't until 2-3 weeks later that Nami started to look visibly bloated in the ribs. I had no experience with pregnant dogs at the time, and as far as I knew, Nami was infertile, so I suspected more serious issues were going on. I scheduled an abdominal ultrasound with my vet the same day I really began to notice.
As it turned out, to everyone's utter shock and surprise, Nami was pregnant - much more pregnant than the vet even thought; she had her puppies just a week or two after the ultrasound, starting my steep and sudden adventure into breeding and puppy rearing.
I never expected to join this world, and Nami was only ever gifted to me because it was thought she was infertile. After her first litter, I felt I owed it to the people who entrusted me with her to continue. I felt that I owed it to her breed, to put out as much factual and unbiased information as I could, and advocate as much as I could for them, to keep them from dwindling quietly into extinction.
Nami has taught me a lot, and she's got me through a lot of difficult points in my life in the 5 short years we've been together. She's given me a purpose I didn't anticipate in my Kishu Ken efforts, and I am looking forward to her retirement years, where we can just enjoy the next 5, and if we're lucky, 5 more after that.
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