Notes from our life with Jerry
After a lot of thought the family decided to get a pet dog. They wanted a pound dog, and went to the locally famous ARC refuge center. The family picked out a mutt, but later found that it is a now rare Japanese hunting dog, called a Kai, or tiger dog. The dog’s name is equally unlikely - Jerry. Jerry is gentle with children and friends while inside; but turns into a near feral beast when being walked. He is quite intelligent; he’s already stolen and hidden various food items, after getting to them by opening doors and drawers.
2009 - The Beast
“Holmes, the hound!” This quote from the Hound of The Baskervilles is the first thing I think of when imagining a pack of Japanese Yamanashi Kai dogs. By dumb luck we are the proud owners of one of these rare and beguiling beasts.
In March 2008 I buckled to the wishes of wife and daughter, agreeing to get a dog. The agreement was on one one condition; it must come from an animal shelter. The best known was the British-run ARC. Through their excellent homepage we were confident of finding the right candidate for our condo.
Our black "mixed breed" is named Jerry. He seemed smart; by himself he wouldn’t enter the tatami room, and can understand commands in Japanese and English; at home indoors - at night he gets up on a chair to sleep; a basket case of separation anxiety - has to be in the same room we were in, otherwise would pee on the floor; and untrainable - always pulling on the leash despite our best efforts. What we found next was unexpected, full of wonder and astonishment.
From a chance conversation with coworker, we found we had an extremely rare pure bread kai dog, or Tiger dog as they are sometimes called. A hunting dog such beloved that the Japanese government made the breed a national treasure in 1934. It is considered to be the most ancient, and purest dog breed in Japan. A dog of primitive nature and wild origins. With their long legs, they are the only tree-climbing dogs. They are now rare as that kind of deer, bear and wild boar hunting has ceased in Japan.
After reading about kai dogs’ personality we were able to reconcile Jerry’s Jekyll & Hyde personality. Inside the condo Jerry is calm, smart, loving; but outside he’s a force unto himself, always heavily sniffing, viciously pulling on the leash, on the hunt for any small thing that moves. We dare not let it off the leash for it would kill other small dogs. That literature still didn’t prepare us for what happened next.
After making a cake, Sadako went to pick up Asia at school. Upon returning they found both the cake and the heavy Anchor-Hocking cake pan missing. They later found the cake pan 2 rooms away, inside the bathroom with its door closed. The door can only be pulled closed. Jerry had hidden the evidence and somehow closed the door. We got smart and whenever we leave food on the counter we push it as far away from the edge as possible. Jerry was no longer able to get to food on the counter. However, we didn’t expect Jerry to use Asia’s small stool that one day it had been left next to the counter. More food gone. The last episode found a slight sprinkling of shredded garbage on the kitchen floor. Where did it come from. The garbage can was still upright, lid on & in its position. After examining the evidence I realized it was a food wrapper I’d thrown away the night before; but the garbage can was not knocked over. It was still exactly where it usually is, with the lid on. Jerry had depressed the pedal to open the lid, take out only what he wanted, and leave the garbage can standing where it was. We didn’t teach him; he watched us and learned.
This is why Jerry is in the Friends section of our url. He’s not our pet so much as an independent free spirit; a force of nature; or at least a dog with the mind of a laboratory primate.
Jerry had stolen food and hidden the evidence before. The most famous case was the home made bread and heavy bread pan. This month for the second time he stole from the kitchen counter. He took a sandwich, ate it, and buried the sandwich's hot peppers in the couch. Jerry is always looking & begging for food. Besides 2 small bowls of dog food, morning and late afternoon, we only give him 1 dog snack after coming home from leaving him alone for a long period of time.
14 year old Jerry is sick. He was misdiagnosed with hypothyroidism [甲状腺機能低下症]. It seems he's sick from deteriorating teeth & gums. He'll have surgery soon.
Sunday 27 Nov 2016
Our dog, Jerry is gone. He died of a heart attack at 8:10 a.m. on Sunday 27 Nov. We are very happy that we could all be together when his time came. His age was not known, but he was probably between 14½ & 16 years old.
We loved him for 8½ years, and he loved us back. It was a beautiful & loving friendship. He will be missed.