Dogs are awesome! We have heard it countless times; dogs are man’s best friend. Why? Is it because they are so loyal to people? Is it because they protect your home and family from strangers and trespassers? Is it because they are always by your side? The answer is yes to all these questions and there are more evidence to support the claim that “A dog is a man and a woman’s best friend.”
First of all, dogs are loyal. It is their nature. However their loyalty goes beyond their nature. They do it because they are creatures full of love. They protect you from harm or any of their perceived dangers not because they have to but because they want to. They know how to communicate too, not just “dog” language; they learn our language or the way we speak through cognitive learning. Dog lovers, dog owners and dog trainers know this fact. Call your dog’s name out loud and you will see their reaction. They will feel the urgency of the call. They are keen on reading our emotions and our reactions, our facial micro expressions. I have observed this to be true with many of the dogs we have interacted with through the years.
Dogs also have a strong sense of feeling. They know if we are happy, sad, excited, tired, or anything in between. How so? Because dogs are empathic; they read through emotions. Surely you have seen countless videos showing how animals act? They show compassion and mercy, they act in a certain peculiar way, they touch us in certain ways that no other human could. They show bravery, and peculiar behaviors similar to people. The amazing thing about them is that when they love, they love fiercely, wholeheartedly, without question, without conditions. Why? Because when they show their love, they do it unconditionally. They give it without expecting anything in return. They do it through the greatness of their hearts. They love us with everything they’ve got. They wait patiently. They watch closely and silently. They guard us without complaining. They are by our sides whenever we need it, even when we do not know we need them by our sides. They have proven to be more than just companions. They are like angels, our guardian angels, assigned to make a difference in our lives.
Their happiness is bottomless. The happiness that they share with people can be an enriching experience. The way they show their gratitude is boundless. Even if the entire human race is incapable of understanding dogs completely, we dog lovers and dog owners somehow know through experience or at least believe it wholeheartedly, that our dogs are more than just pets. They are our certainly considered as our friends, our companions, our family members, and even our best friends. The special bonds we share with these magnificent creatures go beyond just spending time, closeness and even blood. They touch us silently when we are sad, they comfort us in times of need. They smile with us when we are happy and in many cases they bring us joy. They accompany us when we need something, they just naturally sense it somehow. They feel the need to protect us and anyone they hold dear in their hearts. Certainly, many people can attest to these things and feel the same way.
This is Kichiro, we also call him Chiro. He is a Japanese Spitz, not a pure breed. His owners (brother-in-law and family) call him Seifer (a character in Final Fantasy 8) or Cipher, I am not sure how to spell it. He is our “adopted” dog of sorts, and we certainly love him as our own. He used to be a hard headed puppy; he would not come near whenever we would call him Cipher/Seifer. He was often angry all the time or so I would think at that time. He would bark at all the people he is not familiar with. He would growl at anyone who would pass by our gate, as if saying Hey! this is our property, keep out! Whenever there was a visitor in the house, he would bark fiercely, he would calm down only after much convincing that it is OK. He would sit silently, patiently near the visitor’s feet, as if waiting for that person to make a mistake, ready to pounce or attack at a moment’s notice. Then we would call him, Chiro come here! He would just look us in the eyes and then he would look at the visitor’s feet and face, as if trying to decipher some puzzle or code. (Maybe this is why he was named, Cipher!)
He used to have a blank look on his face, almost saying who is that or who are you? When he was small, he would only respond to the name Kichiro, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s was his name before he got reincarnated? Since he is a Japanese Spitz, maybe a Japanese name was more to his liking. As years went by, we noticed that he had expressive eyes, sometimes he could communicate with just a look. We used to speak Japanese words to him and he would react. He reacted happily to Arigato (Thank you). He is very picky with food. He only eats chicken and some other variety of dog food. Through the years as Chiro spent those times with us, he learned a lot from us and we also learned a lot from him. He even knows how to kiss our knuckles, whenever we would say, Chiro, Bless! (with our hand extended face down) He can jump so high whenever he is excited. He is a very small dog but he has a big heart, the heart of a hero. Great things come in small packages wouldn’t you agree?
Through the years, Chiro developed routines throughout the day. In the morning at around 4 to 5 AM, Chiro would either wake me up or wait for me to wake up. As soon as I am up, he would signal for the door so he could go out and run free. Outside, he would accompany his grandpa or grandma for their morning jogging or brisk walking routine. He would walk beside them like a dutiful son, a close-in security of sorts. He would walk without a leash, and people would say, what a cute puppy. As soon as they come home, he would eat and after a few hours, sometimes, he would disappear. He always finds a way to go out the compound even when the gate is closed. He is resourceful and persistent. Nothing seemed to stop him whenever he wanted to go outside. He comes home immediately whenever he is called, he has a sharp ear too. When his second trip outside is over, he would come inside our home office and he would sleep peacefully. I think it is his favorite place to hang out because it is cold inside.
When I slept, Chiro is usually on the floor always nearby where I sleep. Sometimes he would sleep on top of my legs and whenever I woke up in the middle of the night, I would say with a firm voice: Down Chiro! He obeys but with a sad look on his face.
He would always be with us, whenever we would take a few days off from work. We would stay in a “farm shed” near our small farm far in the mountains where the air is so fresh, the surroundings so peaceful, away from the busy and noisy city. During the day, Chiro would drive away the stray chickens and other dogs away from the farms’ fenced perimeter. I could almost hear him say, stay away from our plants; I am this farm’s guardian. Every night, he would guard the compound. He would always stay in a spot where he could see open doors or gates. When the doors are closed and locked, then he would relax and begin to sleep.
Thank you for loving us Chiro. You have touched our lives profoundly. You are loyal beyond compare. You are protective and brave. You are loving and full of life. You brought us much joy. May your life spent with us, although short (at least 5 years) be full of meaning and love, I certainly hope so. My wife cried a lot since Chiro’s sudden passing (he was hit by a hit and run motorcycle accident), she kept on seeing how Chiro died. I told her; please remember him as he lived.
His passing has left an empty space in my heart, in our hearts.
May you be in heaven now, O sweet, loving, and brave Kichiro. There is a saying that “all dogs go to heaven.” I sincerely hope so, with all my heart. I wish it to be so. Your time spent with us was a blessing.