Mrs. Todo Kaoru, of Izumi, Akita City, lives with her three Akita dogs. Each dog has a different coat color, red, white, or brindle. She said, “I have welcomed them into my family through various connections, and it just so happened that all three colors came together.”
The living room on the first floor of Mrs. Todo’s house has a spacious area where the dogs can move around freely. The earthen floor in one corner is cool even in the summer, and the dogs sometimes take a rest on it. Mrs. Todo rebuilt the house a few years ago for the Akita dogs.
Reo (five-year-old male), a white-furred dog, was the first to notice the reporter when he visited the house earlier this month. Reo was barking at everyone in the back of the living room, probably because of his nervous and fearful nature.
Haruto (three-year-old male) and Raiya (two-year-old female) immediately surrounded the reporter as they entered the room. Within minutes, Akita dogs filled the room.
Raiya, the youngest of the three dogs, was the feistiest, approaching the other two and inviting them to play, with Reo a bit reserved but gradually stepping up his game. Haruto, who is very gentle and openhearted, does not get angry at anything they do to him but accepts them from start to finish.
Although the three dogs have different fur colors and personalities, they are great friends. Whenever they go out together, people they meet are surprised to see and say, “all three colors get together!” or “I never thought that Akita dogs have white or brindle fur.”
Mrs. Todo said, “Akita dogs are indispensable in my life. No Akita Dog, No Life.”
Mrs. Todo had two shelter Akita dogs before having her current three dogs.
Around 2012, she became interested in a red-haired Akita dog while searching online. She already had two miniature schnauzers but decided to foster the dog. That was Raiden, who was one year old at that time.
Raiden was aggressive for the first few weeks. Mrs. Todo patiently cared for him, thinking it was natural for him to be so if his owner abandoned him. Raiden was gradually getting calmer; eventually, he even acted as if he protected Mrs. Todo and her family. She was utterly taken with Raiden, feeling, “Akita dogs are the best!”
A year later, Mrs. Todo welcomed a red-haired female named Haruka (estimated to be one year old at the time) as a friend of Raiden. Haruka was about to be put down at a center in Shizuoka Prefecture before being rescued by Mrs. Todo.
The two dogs quickly became good friends and spent many fulfilling days together. Mrs. Todo took them driving around the prefecture and beyond. In 2017, Mrs. Todo decided to raise an Akita puppy and adopted Reo from a kennel in Aomori Prefecture.
Raiden took care of Reo as gently as a father, and Reo loved Raiden so much that he was always with him.
After a year and a half, Raiden died of an illness. Reo would not leave Raiden’s portrait in the room and became very skinny as he stopped eating properly. A month later, Haruka also died as if following in Raiden’s footsteps.
Mrs. Todo was worried so much about Reo, who seemed devastated, that she welcomed Haruto from a kennel in Fukuoka. Reo was wary of Haruto initially, but he opened up to Haruto after six months, and his appetite and strength returned. Mrs. Todo was relieved to see Reo regain his energy. A year later, Mrs. Todo adopted a female puppy Raiya from the same kennel as Haruto.
Thus, Reo, Haruto, and Raiya came together as a tri-color trio. Mrs. Todo said that she chose each puppy based on her intuition after looking at photos and videos and that she had no intention of getting all three colors. She commented, “They have become my family. I genuinely adore them.”
Mrs. Todo has decided that Raiya would be the last Akita dog she would adopt, considering how long she could take care of her dogs.
Mrs. Todo said, “I want all my dogs to live happily, a life where they can laugh a lot. I want to grow old together and keep caring for them in their old age.”