Kobe on Boxing Day

shi inu
Kobe dozing at dawn on my prized German couch

Kobe is leaving us today.

A few hours from now, my wife will be returning this delightful Shiba Inu to its owner.

I am pretty sure Kobe enjoyed his short stay with us.  The way he bonded with me in particular was remarkable, considering how he bit me his first day here.

Now all he does is follow me silently around the house: like a little shadow, always there, seeming to want to keep me in his sights at all times.

I have learned many things about this breed of dog during this past week.

In general, Kobe is a pretty adorable little dog:  pugnacious, fearless, alert, intelligent, and full of energy.

However, if I were to get a new pet, a Shiba Inu would not be my first choice as a breed.

I think the occasional shrill barking — when he is begging for food at the table, or wants to come in a room I’m in when the door is closed — would get to be too much after a while.

Also, Kobe (nice name, but I would have called him Kebo instead) does get a litle carried away sometimes when you play with him:  one worries, at a certain point, if he is going to bite or try to hump. These are things I could probably fix through training, if he were my dog.

For example, he does not respond to the Leave It, Down, and Off commands: just Sit, and then only when coaxed.

Plus, I do appreciate having a seriously big enough dog as a deterrent to anyone thinking of doing anything silly to either of us in any situation that we might find ourselves.  With a jaw bite that can reach 250 PSI, and a disposition to stop at nothing to instantly protect its owner against any potential assault, a sheppie is rather ideal in that regard.

They say that a Shiba is a big dog in a little body.

Very true; Kobe is essentially fearless.  I have yet to see him bark at anyone or anything because he’s scared.

I’m also super impressed with how seems to notice everything and in general is cautious about what he comes across in his travels.  This is an important point in Florida, where there are all kinds of critters — some quite nasty  — lurking in the underbrush.

That said, the main benefit to us — and to me personally — was the opportunity to assess if at my age — I will be 69 next summer — I can still actually handle a German Shepherd puppy who will quickly grow into a strong, athletic, big dog.

We have already raised two over the last twenty years, and have left a substantial deposit on another who was born earlier this month.

In fact, we’re scheduled to go see Geneva — this is our new pup’s name — in mid January.  She is a purebred German German Shep, and will become a member of the family on or about Feb 1st.

I was worried that, due to my advancing years, I might not be able to deal with a young, 60-70 lbs working dog.

After five days with Kobe, I feel that I can.  Not only can, but must.

It’s not just the love and companionship:  well-trained, socialized, calm dogs pay you back a million times over the cost of ownership, thanks to encouraging an active life style that leads to keeping fit — reduced blood pressure, increased strength and stamina, normal weight, and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes or even strokes.

Alas, I am literally 50 lbs heavier than when we had Saba, our previous German shep, who died two years ago.

Time to take that ballast off, and ward off the slow turn into becoming a sedentary old man. Owning a vigorous shep will be part of that.

In the meantime, it will be a tad sad to see Kobe go, but I’m sure my wife will be looking forward to seeing him again from time to time, as his owner is a friend and loyal customer at her retail store.

Last big walkabout at 7:30am, after I shave and shower, and then it’s hasta la vista, babe…

… back from walk.

I’ll wrap it up with Kobe’s Last Walk bonus pics!


leaving america