The Brindle Signboard Dog “Homare” of Akita Inu no Sato Graduates – Best of Luck!

  • 2023-12-17
  • 2023-12-17
  • NEWS
  • 41view

Homare (four-year-old female), the signboard dog of Akita Inu no Sato, a visitor center in Odate City, Akita Prefecture, graduated in November. She had played an active role in events and exhibitions and contributed to raising awareness of brindle (tiger-haired) Akita dogs. Homare will be leaving Odate with her owner, Kotori Fujikawa, a native of Morioka City, Iwate, who is retiring as a local vitalization cooperator of Odate City. Fans of Homare have expressed their appreciation for all her work.

Homare (left), who graduated from Akita Inu no Sato in November, and her owner, Ms. Fujikawa

On November 5, Akita Inu no Sato held a graduation event for Homare, and visitors who had made reservations in advance enjoyed petting Akita dogs and taking pictures with them.

Parents and children enjoyed interacting with Homare (front) on November 5.

That day’s visitors were Nanae Igarashi, her six-year-old son Yu, and her three-year-old daughter Amane of Shakanai in Odate City. Amane’s birthday is the same as Homare’s, so Mrs. Igarashi felt there was a connection and often came to visit with her children.

The children were surprised to have their faces suddenly licked by Homare, but they naturally began to smile as they petted her and gave her treats. Mrs. Igarashi said, “We are sad to see Homare graduate, but we hope she will continue to be healthy.” Ms. Fujikawa looked at Homare and said, “She has grown into an older lady who can calmly behave being touched.”

Homare was born in June 2019 at a kennel in Odate City. Her name was chosen from a public contest, hoping that Homare (honor) will be a highly respected Akita dog, combining strength and beauty and playing an active role in the community.

Ms. Fujikawa became a local vitalization cooperator in July of the same year. She was assigned to keep an Akita dog and disseminate tourist information about Odate City. Ms. Fujikawa began keeping Homare when she was about four months old.

Ms. Fujikawa smiled and said, “I first met Homare when she was about two weeks old. Her eyes had not yet opened, and she was small enough to fit in both hands. I was sure she would be a quiet girl, but once I started keeping her, her tomboyish personality came out.” Homare grew up healthily and brightly under Ms. Fujikawa’s love and affection.

Of the Akita dogs exhibited at the visitor center, those kept by the cooperators are called signboard dogs. Homare was scheduled to debut as a signboard dog in March 2020, but the spread of the new coronavirus forced the center to close for about three months from March to May. Ms. Fujikawa recalled, “It was a pity that everyone could not see the most adorable period of Homare’s life as a puppy.”

Homare appeared at the exhibit on June 1, 2020, when Akita Inu no Sato reopened. She showed her full energy.

After reopening the visitor center, Homare worked as a signboard dog along with a red-haired male, Shodai, and a white-haired female, Omochi. In June 2021, these two senior dogs graduated, and the attention to Homare quickly increased.

“If the only signboard dog we had was the brindle Homare, Akita dog fans would leave us….” worried Ms. Fujikawa. Despite her feelings, the increased exposure to Homare has made many people aware of the existence of brindle Akita dogs.

Ms. Fujikawa (left) and Homare touching each other. They have spent about four years together and have built a trusting relationship.

In 2022, in honor of the Chinese zodiac Year of the Tiger, an event was held with Homare and brindle Akita dogs on exhibit at Akita Inu no Sato to promote brindle Akita dogs widely. Fans began to visit the center from inside and outside the prefecture to meet Homare,and some sent cardboard boxes full of treats.

In October this year, Akita Inu no Sato announced Homare’s graduation on social media. Fans commented, “I have been enjoying seeing her grow cuter and cuter by the day. So, I will miss her very much,” and “I will always love you, Homare.”

Ms. Fujikawa, who will leave Odate to return to Morioka, where her parents live, said, “Homare did her job very well, and I felt many people loved her. I am filled with gratitude.” She continued, “I hope Odate City will provide an environment where Akita dogs can live comfortably, and owners can raise them easily. As the hometown of Akita dogs, I would be happy if the city would become even more prosperous.”

>Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Where Dogs Connect Akita and the World

Akita Inu (dogs), with their fluffy coat, round eyes, and an adorable tail that curls up, are now famous worldwide. Akita dogs have a strong body and are best known for their loyal personality. The number of Akita dogs raised overseas continues to increase. In Akita Prefecture, the Akita dog's birthplace, there is an active movement to utilize them for tourism promotion. Akita Sakigake Shimpo, entitled "Akitainu News," will circulate various domestic and international information about Akita dogs. The goal is to connect the world and Akita through Akita dogs.