Look at that chest!

Toshi, a Japanese name for “talented” ( 俊 ) as I had high hopes my first real show dog. She had a very strong show pedigree and both parents had good genes with no defects. Although I was still in the Army, I imagined myself a budding breeder of magnificent Akitas when I was no longer a soldier. So Toshi was as much an investment in my future as she was a wonderful dog. Sadly, the Army had other plans for me and though Toshi did well in her shows with a novice handler (me) it was obvious by the third or fourth “2nd place” finishing that something had to change; either I had to get better at showing, or she needed a better owner.

Despite what I wanted to do, Toshi went to a show home with a stud of great lines. I knew they would throw some good puppies but…Toshi was as much a pet as she was a show dog. She loved going to shows and strutting around the ring but she was just as happy to sit on the sofa. She did eat a weight bench once when I had neglected her too long but in the end, I rationalized her good genetics were wasted sitting around the house waiting for me to come home. I was told she went on to finish in the show ring but that didn’t stop me from missing her.

Toshi and her nemesis. Every time this dog showed up, we came in second. Toshi needed a better handler.