Umeko is vigilant when facing strangers, but once she gets used to people, she becomes friendly. When she sees regular customers that have a good relationship with her, Umeko becomes so delighted that she can’t help wagging her tail vigorously. We learned that Umeko has several favorite people, including Mrs. Takahashi’s grandchildren Riko (5) and Issa (4), and a man in his 70s who is an electrician. But her most beloved customer is a 75-year-old woman who runs a restaurant in the neighborhood.
The woman is also very fond of Umeko and bought snacks for her and had them kept at the store. She comes to see Umeko at around 3:30 p.m. every day.
When it gets close to the time for the woman to come to the store, Umeko starts to get anxious. She would peek her head through a crack in the fence with a face saying, “Is she on the way?” Umeko would also look outside through the glass to check if the woman was there.
According to Mrs. Takahashi, the woman comes to see Umeko after shopping at a nearby supermarket and taking a break at a coffee shop across from the store.
Perhaps it was due to the extreme heat during the day of the interview, but the woman showed up at the store about half an hour later than usual. Spotting her arrival, Umeko jumped up on the counter in joy and offered her paws to the woman. While the woman was paying for her purchase, Umeko kept wandering around behind Mrs. Takahashi, who was working the cash register. Umeko also made a low whimpering sound, as if she was begging for attention, saying, “Hurry up and play with me.”
The woman then turned to Umeko and started talking to her:
“Oh, you’re not being a good girl, are you? Can you sit?”
“This is not polite. You need to sit down properly. Sit down.”
“Wait! I said, wait!”
The woman looking at Umeko, who was a little too excited, did not indulge her but occasionally corrected her behavior with a stern voice. It was as if she was another owner of Umeko. Even so, Umeko still seemed to like her very much. After receiving a treat from the woman, Umeko licked the woman’s face cheerfully.
The woman had owned various animals over the years, including dogs, cats, and even monkeys. Until two years ago, she kept a 13-year-old mixed-breed dog and two cats, but sadly, the dog passed away.
The woman told the reporter, “I thought about keeping another dog, but I’m afraid the dog will outlive me considering my age now. So, I gave up on that idea. Luckily, being able to play with Umeko helps ease my regret of not getting another dog.”
After hearing that Umeko had a tiny appetite, the woman suggested making chicken stew with cabbage for her. Sometimes she would make it herself and bring it to Umeko, for which Mrs. Takahashi is very grateful. “The advice based on her years of experience has helped me a lot,” Mrs. Takahashi said sincerely.
Recently, the Takahashi family has started training Umeko to “shake hands” with people. At first, Mrs. Takahashi felt reluctant to teach Umeko to do this because she thought, “it would be bad for an Akita dog, who should be proud, to lower itself to obey a command like ‘shake hands.’” But after all, she believes if Umeko could follow commands and “shake hands” properly, customers would feel more comfortable touching her. Mrs. Takahashi commented, “Umeko has very fluffy fur and is comfortable to touch. It would be great if many customers could enjoy feeling her soft fur.”
Cashier Video of Akita Dog Went Viral! Explore the Daily Life of Umeko, the Signboard Dog of a Liquor Store
(1)Umeko’s Morning Walk
(2)Going to Work
(3)Becoming a Cashier Assistant
(4)Interacting with Regular Customers